Today’s post is by our newest guest writer samflu.
Tomas Rosicky and Samir Nasri – two extremely talented players capable of filling the rather large hole left in Arsenal’s midfield three following Cesc’s injury. Elegant, graceful, and creative, these two players are not only a joy to watch, but they also posses the quality required to get the Gunners’ creative juices flowing.
It is rather strange to think that both have almost the same number of appearances seeing that Rosicky joined Arsenal Football Club two years before Nasri. In 90 appearances since 2006 for The Arsenal, Tomas has scored 16 goals and made 10 assists. Nasri, only joining the club in 2008, has scored 12 goals and made 8 assists in 73 games. This season, both have played 29 games in all competitions, and both have played a part in 8 goals. Rosicky has scored 3 and created 5 while Nasri has scored 5 and created 3.
Not only are these players similar in stats, but also in style of play, height, and weight. Both are blessed with exquisite touch, terrific vision, and wonderful dribbling skills.
With players so similar how could you possible choose one over the other? Or are these similarities merely hiding the defining differences?
Wenger has already stated that he is ready to put his trust in young Samir to fill in for Cesc, but is this the right choice?
We saw how devastatingly good Nasri can be when played centrally against Porto. He put in a top performance which was rounded off by one of the best goals scored in the Champions League this season. He linked up well with the other midfielders and strikers, and he was a constant threat going forward.
But we have also seen how little he can contribute when played centrally. The games away at Hull and Barcelona come to mind. Of course, these were no easy games, but Nasri was almost nonexistent in both. The Hull game presented the French midfielder with an extremely physical game while the Barcelona one presented him with an extremely technical game. Against Hull, Nasri could do very little as he was often out muscled by the Tiger’s more physical players. Arsenal won it thanks to some Russian magic and Danish opportunism, not Nasri’s contribution from midfield. Against Barca, Nasri faced the most technically gifted midfield in the world. Not only was it almost impossible for him to snatch the ball from them, but once he did receive the ball, he had around 0.31 seconds to think about what to do with it before being pressured by two or three Barca players.
Of course, there are many different ways to look at Nasri’s performances, but I don’t believe that the Frenchman is the one who should step in for Cesc.
After the Barca game last week, Rosicky was getting a lot of negative reviews. Yes, he had a bad game, but come on… People were and still are screaming for Arsene to sell him, but that’s just ridiculous. Rosicky is a fantastic player; I’d even say he’s the most technical and creative along with Cesc. Some of his passes are out of this world. In the Czech national team, Rosicky plays centrally, and just as we have seen a couple of times at Arsenal, he plays amazing there. Just ask any American after the 2006 World Cup. He absolutely destroyed them. At Camp Nou, Wenger should have left Nasri on the left and played Rosicky centrally. Nasri played excellent against Barca on the left at the Emirates, and he should have stayed there. As mentioned before, Nasri was often crowded out in the middle and he doesn’t have enough bite in him to fight for the ball unlike his team mate with the number 7. Rosicky could have made a huge difference for us if he would have played centrally. He’s got a crazy edge about him. I could see him in elementary school yelling back at the 2 metre tall bully without an ounce of fear in him. He would have run the midfield like a bulldog, always snatching at Busquets, Xavi, and Keita’s feet. And going forward, he could have worked magic with Diaby. But the past is the past, and now Wenger must look ahead.
Does he stick with his decision to play Nasri centrally rather than on the wings, or does he let Rosicky play the Cesc role?
I would choose Rosicky, no questions asked, especially at this stage of the season considering all the pressure the Arsenal players are facing in these last five games.
Rosicky has immense mental strength. Anyone that comes back from a 20 month layoff to play at the top level again has a purely winning mentality in my book. But this is not all. Rosicky is also a natural leader, not afraid to let his voice be heard. We have seen him get in other players’ faces time and time again, and his leadership status was reaffirmed when he was appointed captain of the Czech national team. Rosicky also brings experience. Turning 30 this year, Rosicky is one of the few experienced players at Arsenal FC, and his experience will be vital in the upcoming weeks.
Mental strength, leadership, and experience. That’s where Rosicky wins, in my opinion. And that is why Wenger should let him play in the midfield three. Let Nasri torment the wings. If you think about it, his superb goal against Porto did not start from a central position, but from the right wing.
If we play like this, I believe the trip to White Hart Lane will be no problem. Of course, the Spuds haven’t really posed any real threat to us in the League since ’99, but this way we could beat them by an even larger margin.
Agree? Disagree? Who do you think should fill in for Cesc?
Stay classy, fellow Gooners.