Nasri Agrees Terms, Spare A Thought For Rambo & Wembley Beckons
In the midst of the bad news about Cesc and Theo missing tomorrow’s Carling Cup Final, outstanding news about Samir Nasri with his contract terms apparently agreed and ready to be signed. It is just the tonic, vindication for the club’s attitude of taking these matters out of the spotlight and dealing with them quietly as opposed to the issue continually be raked through the back pages.
Frequently Arsenal’s transfer and contract policy – generally secretive – is criticised, targets tumbling through the back pages as if Autumnal leaves fallen to the ground, swept along in the clearing breeze. The policy though pays off when senior players are able to deal with these matters away from the media gaze and concentrate on football, on the pitch where it really counts.
Twelve Months On
On the periphary is Aaron Ramsey, someone for whom we should spare a thought this weekend. Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the assault which set back his career. Perhaps he is wondering what might have been, surely a natural reaction given that a cup final appearance has gone begging for the young Welshman.
Whilst there is always hope that his career will be bedecked with rewards, seeing him in the first team shirt against Orient this week will be suitably fitting. Arsene observed immediately after the Stoke match last February that Ramsey could be their ‘inspiration’. It’ is a little later than anticipated but nonetheless, the players could do worse than think of those who absence is enforced as motivation.
So to Wembley. Birmingham City will not be kicking Arsenal out of Wembley Stadium tomorrow according to Sebastian Larsson, who believes that the favourites are an altogether tougher prospect physically, than they have been in the past. Larsson might like to mention that to his boss and colleagues to ensure that no-one believes a ‘getting to know you’ challenge is a good way to start a final.
Personally, I am hoping that we do not get a replay of the encounter between the two sides that took place at Highbury on 30th November 1985. It wins, hands down, the somewhat dubious accolade of ‘The Worst Football Match I Ever Saw‘.
And that says something as I can remember an almost equally dismal goalless draw against Coventry some years later that we trawled to Highbury for, instead of staying at home and watching it on ITV. It was before pubs showed football, kids.
That match in 1985 was notable for a young David Seaman keeping goal for the visitors that day and generally having very little to do after an early chance went begging. In fact, there were not any chances after that, a rare game where no shots on target were recorded.
Tomorrow’s focus is being diverted to Cesc Fàbregas, or rather his absence. The Spainard’s hamstring has tweaked, Arsène preferring that it would not be twanged by playing his mercurial capitán. The manager’s decision is no doubt influenced by last season,
Would I play him if it was the last game of the season? I don’t think so, I don’t think so. You’re asking me whether he could play with the injury? Certainly not at 100 per cent. And he could make the damage much worse.
If this was the only chance of silverware this season, I wonder if Wenger would be so reticent to include Cesc. Certainly those other targets are not forgotten and the manager stopped short of telling Cesc to get over it but not by much.
His team-mates still want him to collect the trophy though – perhaps Arsène does as well – and that is a good sign of the togetherness that five wilderness (© overusedtermsinthemedia plc) years have brought about. A slew of ‘We’ll win it for Cesc‘ stories were cut off at the knees as the captain insisted that the trophy be won for the fans. He did not use the word ‘long suffering‘ but was not far off it.
That’s it for today, God Bless The Good Ship Wigan Athletic and all who sail upon her, hopefully you will be given the strength to overcome Manchester United this afternoon. Failing that, just get a huge dollop of luck so that the first part of this weekend’s double-header can go to plan.