Arsenal FC: Arsenal Visit Frulli, Time for the Italian Job

Toni Okike@@enigma106Senior Analyst IIAugust 24, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 16:  Antonio Di Natale of Udinese iis closed down by Alex Song of Arsenal during the UEFA Champions League play-off first leg match between Arsenal and Udinese at the Emirates Stadium on August 16, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 16: Antonio Di Natale of Udinese iis closed down by Alex Song of Arsenal during the UEFA Champions League play-off first leg match between Arsenal and Udinese at the Emirates Stadium on August 16, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

“If you lose Fabregas and Nasri, you cannot convince people that you are ambitious after that.

You cannot pretend that you’re a big club. A big club holds onto its big players and gives a message out to other big clubs that they just cannot come in and take the players away.

We worked very hard with these players for years to develop them and its time for us to keep them together.”

These words were uttered from the same mouth that said yesterday, after he felt that the time was right for Nasri to move on:

“You cannot think about only one game in the season, and there was some logic in the decision and some business interest.”

I don’t know if the board played a major role in this, or if Wenger was actually at fault, but the bottom line remains that Arsenal and Manchester City have agreed terms for the signing of $amir Na$ri.

Wenger was generous enough to give the reasons why Nasri left Arsenal. He summarized it all by saying that it was psychological and financial:

“$amir trained on Tuesday morning but I knew before training. He didn’t know, the decision was made this morning just before training. He came in to practice.”

“I don’t question $amir Na$ri’s commitment or professionalism. If I told him ‘you come with us and play’, he would have played like he did on Saturday but you wonder what kind of a commitment you can have.”

“Football rules are made like that, that the player can be worth a lot of money today and nothing in six months so it doesn’t look completely logical but, at the end of the day, of course, we are forced into a decision like that for psychological and financial reasons.”

“I am a realist so I have no illusions. It’s part of the modern life of a professional football player. It’s not that by coincidence that everybody suddenly lands at Man City.”

“We did not want to lose Fabregas, but we were forced into a situation we didn’t want. Nasri is a situation where the player didn’t want to extend his contract with the proposals he had somewhere else. What kind of commitment can you have when the player is not there long-term? That is the question you have to answer.”

Thanks, Arsene, this explains a lot.

Nasri spent three full seasons at Arsenal, made 125 appearances for the club, scored 27 goals and supplied 16 assists. If you want to know what Nasri is all about, click on this tribute I wrote for him when he turned 24.

Now that Arsenal has lost two of its most creative players at this critical part of the season, Wenger has to go into the transfer market and shop for players the way those celebrities shop on E!

The media Vultures reported that Arsenal is eyeing a £26m bid for Lille’s BioHazard of Eden but the hierarchy in Lille are convinced that their Hazardous player will stay with them for one more season. This means that Wenger has to forget about Hazard and look elsewhere.

The media vultures have also reported that Arsenal’s target Yann M’ Vila wants to wait for the outcome of Arsenal’s match against Udinese before making his decision. The lure of Champions League football will be his primary target, so he’ll definitely turn his back on Arsenal if they lose tonight.

However, there’s a player that has turned his back on a move to Arsenal; Per Mertesacker. The bloke has decided to remain at Werder Bremen just weeks after begging Arsenal to make a move for him.

It’s not surprising to know that everybody is backing away from Arsenal at this point in time, the club is hardly ever serious when it comes to transfers. All we hear is that Arsenal is linked with Professor Xavier, or Arsenal is closing in on Captain America.

Everton’s Sylvain Distin has also come out from his lair to tell the media vultures that Arsenal’s proposed attempt to lure Phil Jagielka away from Everton will fail. I don’t know who everyone’s favorite is between Cahill, Samba and Jagielka, but I know that one from these players will do a very decent job at Arsenal.

It seems as if there might be a bright spark after all for Arsenal in terms of possible arrivals. Just like the way Nasri asked to be omitted from today’s squad, Mauro Zarate of Lazio told his coach to omit him from the club’s Europa League qualifying match because of the speculation surrounding his potential move to Arsenal. Lazio manager, Eduardo Reja confirmed this in the club’s official site. You might want to use Google Translate though.

In other Arsenal news, Fabianski has vowed to fight hard for his place with Szczesny, Miyaichi was on target when Arsenal’s Reserves beat Wigan’s Reserves 3-1, Wenger has promised to strengthen his midfield and Arsenal and Newcastle have been fined £30,000 for failing to control their players.

You have to feel for Fabianski, he was doing a decent job when he replaced Almunia but injury paved the way for Szczesny and the young Pole hasn’t looked back. However its pleasing to know that Arsenal’s goal keeping situation has been resolved finally.

Ryo Miyaichi was on target for the Reserves when they beat Wigan’s reserves but I, and many other Gooners, tend to wonder when Arsene Wenger will give the bloke his debut. With Arshavin and Walcott playing horribly on Saturday at the Emirates, I expected Wenger to bring on the Japanese player. I guess that we'll have to wait for some time before we can witness our very own Ryodinho, who got his work permit through the exceptional talent clause.

Joey 'Hitler' Barton made the most of Gervinho’s antics at St. James Park two weeks ago, now his club as well as Gervinho’s club have been slapped with a £30,000 fine. I hope that he sleeps well at night after hearing this. Who knows if Mike Ashley is going to deduct the £30,000 from his own salary. That will be something.

Arsenal has a certain Italian Job to execute tonight in Stadio Frulli. This game is of utmost importance to Wenger, the player’s confidence, the fans and potential signings.

A draw or a win will be more than enough to send Arsenal to its 14th Champions League group stage in a row, but a 2-0 loss or more will bring Wenger his maiden Europa League experience. An experience that he’s certainly not looking forward to.

To team news, there are a lot of reasons to make the Gooners smile. RVP is back from suspension, Gervinho, Song and Frimpong are available for selection, Djourou and Rosicky have been declared fit, but Jack Wilshere and Laurent Koscielny are out for this encounter.

Koscielny stands a chance of playing Manchester United but Wilshere is out for two to three weeks, not the two months that was rumored on Twitter.

Udinese’s boss, Guidolin, has stated that he’s scared of the threat that Arsenal poses and he has warned his players not to be fooled by Arsenal’s off the pitch shenanigans.

Wojciech Szczesny will definitely be the man between the sticks because Arsenal need a keeper that can save Di Natale’s evil free kicks tonight. Sagna will definitely start but he might be deployed to the left flank again because Gibbs and Traore are not fit enough, which means that Jenkinson will be the right back. Vermaelen and Djourou will play at the heart of Arsenal’s defense.

Song is a sure candidate to start tonight but Wenger might be tempted to play Frimpong ahead of Rosicky to add stability to the midfield, thereby allowing Ramsey to play in the creative role behind the front three.

Van Persie will lead the line and he’ll be assisted by Gervinho and Walcott on the wings. Arshavin will have to settle for a place with the bench.

My expected lineup is


Jenkinson – Djourou – Vermaelen – Sagna

Frimpong – Ramsey – Song

Walcott – RVP – Gervinho

When Mark Wahlberg had an Italian Job to execute he used explosives to blow up the area beneath a safe that had gold in it, and it fell onto him in his speedboat in the city of Venice.

Arsenal’s Italian job is a very critical one.

To qualify for the UEFA Champions League.



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