Arsenal will face a buoyant Wolverhampton side after their triumph against leaders Manchester United and the Gunners need to acquire all the three points to close the gap in the title race. With the Manchester derby happening before the game at the Emirates, the Gunners will look to secure all the three points as one of the title contenders is bound to drop points in the game at Old Trafford.
The Gunners had a spectacularly poor second half against Newcastle United and for the first time in their history, they squandered a four-goal lead and could not earn the full quota of points from their visit. Though Abou Diaby's red card was the start of the calamitous performance, the Gunners' lack of leadership was also to blame for their performance in the second half.
It is impossible to envisage the same situation had the Gunners had a tough captain like Patrick Vieira or Tony Adams. Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas is an intelligent player who undoubtedly produces his complete effort to help the Gunners win games. Although he is a tough and determined fighter, he seems to be carried too much by the momentum of a game and cannot inspire his teammates to be resilient.
Newcastle United came into the second half with a clear game plan of roughing up the Gunners by robust challenges and it was inevitable that one of the Arsenal players overreacted to the ferocity of the challenges. Arsenal were undoubtedly not helped by the negligence/incompetence of the referee to provide any sort of protection to the Arsenal players and without the presence of hard-tackling midfielders like Patrick Vieira, the Gunners were unable to cope with the physicality of the home side.
Who should be appointed as the next Arsenal captain after Cesc Fabregas?
Though Arsene Wenger has defended his captain Cesc Fabregas, the French tactician must be concerned by the way Arsenal has fallen apart at times and he must consider changing the captain if that could inspire the Gunners to tougher. Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas are the two most experienced players for the Gunners but it is Samir Nasri who must receive the captain's armband and here are five reasons why he must be the next captain.
1. The Tough Street Lad
Nasri has often stated that he grew up to be tough by playing on the streets in France. He is someone who is always ready for a fight and will not tolerate being kicked by the opposition. He is not one to be intimidated by the opposition and though he can get provoked quite easily, he has been quite sensible on the pitch and has not gotten into too much trouble.
If there are tackles like the ones by Joey Barton and Ryan Shawcross, Samir Nasri is sure to get into their faces and force the referee to take action. He is not the strongest lad at Arsenal but is surely a tough fighter.
2. Excellent Relationship with the Fans, Who Have Supported Him Immensely
There are some players who are greeted with a warm welcome when they arrive at a club and Samir Nasri has always enjoyed great support from the club's supporters ever since he made his debut against West Bromwich Albion. He has enjoyed great support from the fans who have kept their faith in the French midfielder.
Though he did not play to his potential in the first two seasons, he has been sensational this season and that has got the Emirates faithful completely supporting him on the pitch. Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie also enjoy good relationships with the supporters but other captains like Manuel Almunia do not have good support.
3. One of the Best Prospects for Arsenal's Future
Nasri has been Arsenal's player of the season and remains integral to the Gunners title hopes this season. He is the top goal scorer for the Gunners with 14 goals for the season so far and has been very influential for the club's fortunes. There is a good possibility that Fabregas might leave Arsenal for Barcelona in the next couple of years, which would mean Nasri will have a more important role in the future.
He is one of Arsenal's brightest young prospects and with only one more year remaining on his contract in the summer, Wenger will look to tie him down to a longer deal, which will be lucrative. Also, he is amongst the fittest players at Arsenal and though he has been injured at times, he has been able to make more than 100 appearances in less than three seasons.
It is no coincidence that Nasri's best performances for Arsenal have come in the absence of the talismanic Cesc Fabregas. Though the two midfielders can work together effectively, Nasri seems to thrive when there is more responsibility thrust on his young shoulders. He has shown the capability to lead the Gunners, which has been noticed by Wenger who has made him the captain on a couple of occasions.
There are many players who shirk away from responsibility and pressure but the talented Frenchman seems to play at his best when he is under pressure to perform. He has shown good leadership skills and has the capability to inspire the team by accepting responsibility on behalf of the team.
5. Determination and Hunger To Win Trophies
Nasri has a single-minded objective of winning trophies with the Gunners and it is expected that he will sign a new contract with the Gunners. The midfielder, who has been compared to the legendary Zinedine Zidane, has the capability to conjure something special which could provide the confidence required for Arsenal to win titles.
He works his socks off in the games and provides adequate support to the fullbacks when the Gunners are on the back foot. He has shown the willingness to develop into a world-class player by working extremely hard and it is clear that he is determined to achieve success with Arsenal.
If Arsenal can win the final against Birmingham at Wembley, then they would have ended their five-year trophy drought and it could be the birth of a new era led by the inspirational Samir Nasri.
This article is also featured on The Invincible Gunners, a blog on Arsenal and other football news.