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- Football face-offs
Arsenal Rely Too Much on Samir Nasri
Obviously the title is a swipe at those “pundits” whose favorite criticism of Arsenal for the past two or three months was that Arsenal relied too much on Cesc Fabregas. As if it’s a bad thing to have Fabregas playing the best football of his career. I said it a hundred times in the last few months but, in no way, do Arsenal rely on Fabregas in the way that United over-rely on Wayne Rooney, especially considering that the club’s second leading goalscorer behind Rooney is the other team… own goals!! That is pathetic. Even Chelsea look just better than average when Drogba isn’t on top-form, as witnessed over the last 4-6 weeks.
Arsenal showed up to play last night and they hit the bricks running, playing some of the quickest and deftest football of the season in the first half. And all without Fabregas. Samir Nasri gave a glimpse of what Arsenal’s post-Fabregas-era might look like. He took control of the Burnley match after the skipper went off and picked right up where he left off. His hold-up play, distribution, vision, and sheer industry was just magnificent. The goal itself was beyond magnificent. It was absolutely stunning. It really says something about the depth of this side that despite a number of significant injuries they continue to not only win but win in their usual style.
Nicklas Bendtner shrugged off the criticism of a few days ago from nearly all corners to give Arsenal a 2-nil lead within the first half-hour. Like I said after the weekend, Bendtner had just had “one of those days” against Burnley and the most encouraging thing about his performance was how he didn’t let either his performance at the weekend or the criticism of it affect his self-confidence. That is a sign of a growing maturity on Bendtner’s part. He has been criticized for his cockiness, but that is exactly what allowed him to step back on the pitch only 3 days after the events against Burnley and score a hat-trick in the most important European match of the season so far.
This Arsenal side continues to go from strength to strength. The freak events of the first leg were responded to with an emphatic performance to overcome a first-leg deficit in Europe for the first time since 1978. Belief and confidence continues to grow throughout the side and their is a commitment and togetherness that we haven’t seen in a while, certainly not at all last season. We are through to the Quarterfinals of the Champions League and four straight wins find us 2 points off the top of the Premier League. We are still very much alive in both competitions and no one questions whether or not this Arsenal side have the desire and the talent. Now we have the opportunity to finally turn it into silverware.
ARSENE WENGER POST-MATCH INTERVIEW