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Le Petit Prince

Tomorrow when Arsenal London and Manchester City are facing each other in the top match of the Premier League in the Emirates Stadium, all eyes will be focussed on Samir Nasri. The French man had left the Gunners in summer to join the newly wealthy from Manchester. Since then, he is one of the most hated footballers in the club from Northern London.

When he announced his 27.5-million-Euro-move to City, Nasri declared he would prefer to write history with a club rather than being a footballer among others. A pretty contradictory statement in my opinion. Of course he can write history with his new club but he could have done the same under Arsène Wenger. The second part of his statement is the contradictory one though. At Arsenal, who had just sold Cesc Fabregas for 30 million Euro to Barcelona, the French manager was ready and willing to make his fellow countryman to the protagonist of his game. At Manchester City, though, Roberto Mancini has to manage a squad of more than twenty stars what means that the Etihad Stadium is the place where Nasri is one footballer among others…

Besides the well-known fact that the 24-year-old couldn’t resist the mating call of the money (what nobody would ever admit, of course), he believed he could win more trophies with ManCity than with Arsenal. Samir Nasri, who had been Arsenal’s prince for 3 years behind Fabregas, was sure he had signed at a club which ambitions were similar to his. Consequently he became to the Judas of the Emirates.

 “Joining City is risky but you have to take risks in life. I’m surely not afraid, though.”

And he surely took a high risk. After 3 untitled years in London, the 28fold French national player expected to finally have to celebrate something at City. But actually he is experiencing his fourth untitled season in England. Even worse: Arsenal seem to have made better this season than his new club! Arsène Wenger’s men reached the round of 16 in the Champions League whilst Nasri and his team mates were kicked out by Bayern Munich and Napoli in the group stage. Arsenal lost the first leg against Milan in a disgraceful way with 0-4 but defeated the Italian champion 3-0 in the Emirates Stadium. A more or less honorable farewell. ManCity, though, was kicked out (0-1 & 3-2) by a much weaker opponent; Sporting Lisbon who are only 5th in their league…

In the Premier League, the Citizens are second, 5 points behind the local rivals but 13 points in front of tomorrow’s opponent. Manchester City is likely to lose the championship against their nemesis but still, Samir Nasri will surely reach the Champions League. But so will Arsenal. Thanks to Tottenham’s tie against Sunderland, the Gunners have the chance to overpass them with a win. I don’t expect them to lose that position due to the great run they have had. Not to forget that Wenger’s team was 17th on the 5th match day… In the end of the season, Arsenal will be proud of what they have achieved whilst the Qatari owners of Manchester City will blame their manager and players for not having reached their goals. So, after all, Nasri won’t have achieved anything he couldn’t have reached with  Arsenal as well…

Much more disastrous than ManCity’s balance is Samir Nasri’s own balance. You can expect from a 27-million-Euro-signing to be playing regularly, can’t you? Well, while the Frenchman with Algerian ancestors was undisputed starter for Wenger, Mancini doesn’t seem to fully trust in his midfielder. While he had played 2391 minutes in 2010/2011, starting 27 times in the Premier League, Nasri has only played 1614 minutes for his Italian manager yet, starting only 20 times and being replaced 11 times! 8 team mates have played more than him even though they are in a crisis, such as David Silva. The Spanish  seems to be exhausted due to too much playtime but his French pendant couldn’t take advantage of that. Why?

The 24-year-old doesn’t seem to be willing to bear responsibility. Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli don’t want this either but nobody expects anything but goals from them, to be honest. Edin Dzeko has lost confidence in the course of the season due to a barren run of 583 minutes without scoring for 2 months. David Silva – as already said is out of form as well, the perfect opportunity for Samir Nasri to prove his importance to Roberto Mancini but obviously the Italian isn’t convinced by his second most expensive signing of the season.

 “Samir has performed well but he can do better. He can progress. He can become like David Silva or Xavi.”

Roberto Mancini said this after Nasri had scored the winner against Chelsea in the end of march with an amazing strike. However, this quote shows that Mancini still isn’t happy with Samir’s performances. He already told the media in december that Nasri could do better. He is still underperforming in Mancini’s opinion and is also lacking his trust. Manchester City’s number 19 didn’t start in any of the crucial games of the season. He was replaced in Munich, versus Napoli and was only subbed in in the matches against Napoli (in Italy this time), in the 6-1 win over Manchester United, in the 1-2 defeat against Chelsea in December and in the two Europa League matches against Sporting Lisbon.

This lack of confidence in his fosterling can be explained with one turnover. One simple turnover changed everything for Samir Nasri who assisted 3 goals in his first match for the Citizens in the 5-1 victory over the Tottenham Hotspurs. On the 24th of September 2011, a turnover by Samir Nasri (Franck Ribéry had won the ball) lead to the first goal of the evening, the 1-0 by Mario Gomez. In the end Manchester City was defeated  2-0 by the Bavarians even though they were the better team in the first 30 minutes of the game. For most people this mistake by Nasri wasn’t more than a lack of concentration but for Roberto Mancini this turnover was similar to a crime…

But what has changed for Arsenal, Samir Nasri’s former club?

Well, even though the supporters who will boo him tomorrow won’t ever admit it, Samir Nasri’s switch has left a huge gap in Arsenal’s midfield. After all, he had become to a rare and precious type of player: a scoring midfielder. 15 goals last season for Arsenal are a great rate, especially for a midfielder. This season, 4 different midfielders were needed to score the same amount of goals: Mikel Arteta (6), Aaron Ramsey (3), Alex Song (1), Tomas Rosicky (2) and Yossi Benayoun (3). Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby, another two important midfielders for Arsène Wenger, have both been injured since the beginning of the season and only Diaby could make few appearances for the Gunners yet. After Nasri and Fabregas had left and Wilshere got injured, Wenger changed his tactics from a 4-1-4-1 to a 4-3-3 which is sometimes lacking creativity, thus someone like Samir Nasri.

Samir Nasri could have become the king of the Emirates Stadium but chose the money and is likely to stay forever the little prince he was before Cesc Fabregas left. He should have followed his heart, stayed with Arsène Wenger and become the main player in the Frenchman’s system. Samir Nasri would have improved a lot if he had stayed in the north of London because when he joined the Sky Blues, they already had a playmaker: David Silva. It’s just like the French author Antoine de Saint Exupéry wrote in his novel “Le Petit Prince”:

 “But the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart…”

Thank you all a lot for reading this! I hope you enjoyed it and will award it with the stars below this article and share it on all of your social networks! 🙂


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