Liverpool preview: Arsenal more important than Nasri

Morning, this is a lot earlier than I would hope to start a normal Saturday morning but London’s calling.

It’s those dastardly Mugsmashers on the agenda, a club Arsene describes as ‘hyperactive’ in the transfer market this summer. There was no good news whatsoever regarding injuries. Djourou and Gibbs are out, Traore is out, Rosicky has a small niggle and is ‘rested’, and when you add in the injuries and the departures it leaves us light. Very light. Karen Carpenter light.

Which probably explains why Samir Nasri is line to take part tomorrow – and probably goes some way to explaining why the move to Man City hasn’t happened yet. Off the top of my head I can think of a number of good reasons why playing Nasri is a bad idea. A potential injury before a move meaning the loss of £20m+ and retaining the services of a crotchety player; whether or not Nasri will be fully commited knowing he’s on the way out; the fact that a section of the fanbase was gleefully singing a song about him being a cunt last week; the fact that many of those who weren’t there to sing the song agreed with the sentiment and, lest we forget, Nasri’s reaction to it in midweek (Tweets I’m sure he wouldn’t have made if he thought there was any chance of him playing).

There’s only one good reason to play him though – and it’s that we need him. Frimpong and Ramsey is all we’ve got in midfield. We’re missing a body, and if Lansbury isn’t going to get a chance in pre-season then it probably suggests the manager isn’t going to be too confident about throwing him in against Liverpool. That our options are so limited is down to the manager, of course, but the game is today, we can only make the best of what we have. And that includes Nasri.

At first I thought he wouldn’t play him, now though, having watched his press conference, I think he will. And with the relationship between player and fans as stricken as any in recent years it’s a risk, especially when fans need little kindling to make big fires at the moment. Arsene was quite pointed talking about it, saying:

The fans will want Arsenal to play a good football game and to win the game. I don’t think they make an individual case of each player who plays in a position. They want good players and to win the game.

Which is fair enough. The game tomorrow is far more important than Samir Nasri or how the fans feel about Samir Nasri. Yet you can’t help but roll your eyes when he says:

One thing I don’t question is the commitment of Samir Nasri to this Club.

I suppose it’s hard to question the commitment of somebody who clearly doesn’t have any to Arsenal any more, let’s not kid ourselves about that. All the same, the fact is that if Nasri plays and gives 100% we’ve got a better chance of getting a good result from this game. It’s a matter of expediency. We shouldn’t be in this position, it’s a consequence of our poorly managed summer and it should all have been sorted out long before now, but we are.

If Nasri is out there to help Arsenal win the game today then I hope that personal differences between him and the 60,000 are put aside for the 90 minutes. There’s plenty of time afterwards if that’s your thing. Ideally it won’t be an issue because a good result and three points for the Arsenal will see most people leave the stadium too happy to care about hurling invective at a player.

I don’t like it much, I don’t particularly care for Nasri any more and I understand why people might want to sing about him being a cunt, but as I said, if he plays then getting on his back is going to do sweet fuck all for his performance and motivation, and utimately that’s the detriment of the team. It’s a noxious situation but one we’ve got to make the best of.

Anyway, I see a team something like this: SZCZ – Sagna – Koscielny – Vermaelen – Jenkinson – Frimpong – Ramsey – Nasri – Arshavin – van Persie – Walcott

It might be light in midfield and Jenkinson is certainly in for a Premier League baptism of fire but there’s there’s definitely enough up front to trouble the ‘smashers. Efficiency the key, we’re unlikely to create as many chances as we might normally so when they come they’ve got to be taken. They’re going to be dangerous with Suarez and Carroll so the defensive solidity we’ve shown in the first two games (mostly) needs to be a feature tomorrow too.

Too hard to call this one. A victory would obviously be welcome and a great confidence boost to a team which definitely needs it. Defeat, however, is going to open some very ugly wounds, especially with regard to the transfer market activity. Arsene was adamant the likes of Jenkinson, Gervinho, Miyaichi and Chamberlain would prove themselves ‘top quality’ players (the club also finalised the signing of Joel Campbell too), but one of those players is suspended, the rest have a grand total of no Premier League games between them.

Top quality they might be in time but it’s expecting too much for them to start their Arsenal careers and slot in seamlessly to a level of football they’ve never experienced. Asked why he hadn’t yet added experienced Premier Leauge players to his squad, Arsene said:

The main reason is that we have not found them. It has nothing to do with the money, it’s just the quality and availability.

I have shown in my 15 years here that I am capable of making the right decisions for the right players. And in the last 15 years you have seen more world class players here, or as many as anywhere else in the world. So you have to trust my judgement.

There’s not much I can say about that, to be honest. The ‘what I think about our transfer business’ horse has been well and truly flogged this week so there’s no point going at it again. What’s clear though, is that any points dropped tomorrow will immediately be blamed on the manager’s inability/refusal to strengthen his squad before a game against a team that is going to be a top four rival. And it’s hard to argue with that. Fingers crossed that’s not the case (that we drop points, I mean, not that if we do it won’t be blamed on that).

Anyway, that’s plenty of this hour of the morning. There will be live blog coverage of the game, check back later on for a new post. Tom will be taking you through proceedings and I’m pretty sure he’s been working on some new names to call Dirk Kuyt.

See some of you in the usual places for a beer, let’s remember that the enemy today will be managed by the gruff Scotsman who probably spends his week smashing the mugs of Arsenal supporting orphans, and let’s get behind the lads in red and white.

Come on you Gunners!


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