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Liverpool Preview: If Nasri plays, don’t boo. 20 August, 2011

Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.

Today’s game is pretty huge. It’s weird but we’re only into the second weekend of the Premiership and this already seems like a pivotal match. In fact this is a huge 8 days what with Champions League qualification to sort out on Wednesday then a trip to Old Trafford next Sunday. It’s vital that we start this run of fixtures with a confidence boosting result today.

All the talk recently has been about signings, and rightly so. However no one was brought in this week (unless you count Joel Campbell’s announcement) so we’re just going to have to make do with what we’ve got. And what we’ve got isn’t a lot.

In defence Gibbs, Djourou and Traore are all injured which gives us a couple of options for the back four: Sagna, Koscielny, Vermalen and Jenkinson, or Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci, Vermaelen. The latter option scares me beyond belief but by the sounds of the way Arsene was talking up Carl yesterday I think he’ll go for the first option.

Up front Gervinho is suspended as we all know. RVP will make his first official appearance as captain down the middle but we’ve got a few options for the flanks. Walcott and Arshavin are the likely choices but Ryo Miyaichi is in the squad and everyone’s been raving about him this week. Still, I’d be shocked to see him today. Also we’ve got Oxlade-Chamberlain in contention but like Ryo I don’t see him being involved.

Anyway enough of that because the main problem is midfield. Song is suspended plus Diaby, Rosicky and Wilshere are all out. It means we have just Ramsey, Frimpong, Lansbury and the man of the moment Samir Nasri. Despite all that’s been said about him leaving this week he’s still just about with us and Arsene has been backing him saying he’s had a ‘fantastic spirit’ in training and if he plays today he can ‘prove how committed he is to this club’ whatever that’s supposed to mean. Whatever all that bollocks is about, it does seem that Wenger is setting us up for Nasri to play.

To be fair, it’d make sense for Wenger to play him. He’s sold most of our players, the others have got injured or suspended and Nasri is the best midfielder left at the club; We’d be bonkers not to play him, right? I ran a poll yesterday asking whether you would pick Nasri to play today and a shocking 70% of you said you would. Either he’s not as hated as people would like to make out or you know that we kind of need him.

I voted yes too – we do need him. We need to put our differences aside for 90 minutes and allow him to do his best for Arsenal. That means no booing, no name calling, no teasing, no money-waving, none of that. Do what you like after the whistle, but whilst the game is on we have to get behind the team. I can’t stop people voicing their opinion and I’d never want to but hopefully people agree that if he plays then booing him is not going to help any of us. It’ll be pretty awkward but if Nasri can play like he’s shown in the past it could be the difference between us winning and losing.

So, here’s how I think we might line up.

Sagna – Koscielny – Vermaelen – Jenkinson
Frimpong – Ramsey
Walcott – van Persie (c) – Arshavin

If Nasri is left out, then I don’t see us going with a Frimpong/Ramsey/Lansbury midfield in a game of such importance and difficulty. I’d be tempted to move Arshavin into that attacking midfield spot and see how he does. Even that sounds crazy when I say it so the decision to play Nasri becomes more and more justified.

I do fancy Arshavin today though; he has his history with Liverpool and they still fear him. Last season wasn’t a great one for the Russian but he looks to be in good shape this year, and by that yes I do mean his belly. I’m hoping he’ll be keen to return to the glory of his first season at Arsenal and tear defences apart again.

Going forward I’m not too worried about us. We lacked creation on Tuesday night but with Nasri in the side that should be helped. The defence itself I’m quite confident about, Carl being the weak link obviously but lets hope he has a debut first Premier League start to remember. The defence side of midfield is my main concern; we’ll miss Alex Song and as exciting a prospect as I think Frimpong is, he is a bit temperamental. Hopefully he’ll have his head firmly screwed on today and realise the massive importance of his chance today. This is his breakthrough season and this afternoon would be a good place to start finding form.

As for Liverpool, well they’ve bought players and stuff which is basically cheating really so I refuse to comment on such behaviour.

Whatever today is going to be, it’s going to be interesting. Enjoy the match and please get behind the team, the whole team. Thanks for reading.

Come on you Gunners!


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