Sagna out for three weeks, Nasri the team player

After labeling the current international week as “the least worrisome international break ever” in yesterday’s post it gives me great displeasure to reveal that Bacary Sagna will be out for at least three weeks with a thigh injury.

The right-back injured himself on the first day of training with the French squad, missing the win over Romania, and is currently in rehabilitation in France.

“It’s okay. I’m currently in rehabilitation. It will take three weeks. I’ll take my time to get back.”

I’m sure the Arsenal medical staff – like a pack of rampant zombies – would want to get their hands on him but given their record, maybe it’s not so bad for him to stay in France for a little longer.

I do like the fact that he says he will take his time to get back though. With Emmanuel Eboue a more than capable replacement there is no reason for Sagna to rush back into the side. The best thing is for him to recover fully to minimise the chances of a relapse that would only hurt the team further into the season.

If consistently losing to players to injury is the most annoying thing about international breaks then reading obviously mistranslated player quotes from various national newspapers has to be next on the list.

Yesterday it was Samir Nasri who got the unfortunate treatment, with The Sun declaring that he bellowed: “I’M WASTED ON THE WING!”

“That’s where I play best, that’s how I was formed. In every age group at youth level, I often played through the middle. I’ve been playing out wide for two years with Arsenal but feel more at ease in the centre of the pitch.”

Oh, right. So he didn’t say that he is wasted on the wing? Which means The Sun lied? They’d never lie though, would they? But they’re a reputable source of information!

In all seriousness you can see where Nasri is coming from with these comments. Any good attacking player wants to be involved in the game as much as they can and it is certainly more possible from the middle of the pitch. Nasri is clearly relishing the opportunity to play this position for France, who have been struggling to find a central creative solution since the spectacular retirement of Zinedine Zidane in 2006.

Unfortunately for Nasri we have no such problems at Arsenal. Cesc Fabregas is the kingpin in the middle of the pitch and has earned his right to be there. Players like Andrey Arshavin, Tomas Rosicky and Abou Diaby have all been forced wide to accommodate Fabregas and provide the best option for the team and Nasri is in the same boat. That’s how a team has to work at a big club like Arsenal and to Nasri’s credit – and Arshavin, Rosicky and Diaby’s for that matter – he has never complained about his situation, just dealt with it and tried his best to help the team.

Of course, things may change if Fabregas goes, but at this stage the best thing for Arsenal is to have Nasri playing in a wide position. He showed in pre-season what he can do from a central position but he still has a long way to go to show that he can be relied upon to put in consistent and responsible performances in the most important attacking position on the pitch.

Anyway, some food for thought on a fairly quiet day.


Have your say on Sagna’s injury or Samir Nasri’s position by leaving a comment.



  1. Not great news is it? On the one hand Eboue is hugely in need of game time as the West Brom match demonstrated; it wasn’t until he was replaced by Jack towards the end of that game that we looked capable of mounting any kind of threat. Against Birmingham and Shakhtar he should have an ideal opportunity to get back up to speed, eliminate the misplaced passes and generally regain his usual potency. On the other hand, if he is still not up to scratch by the time of the M City game, we could have problems …

  2. I winced reading the “least worrisome” comments. You’ve gotta know you’re throwing a jinx on us with comments like that. At least it is an area where we have some cover. As a doc with some involvement in sports medicine I do wonder about the continuous injuries at AFC as I think most of us do.

  3. personally, i got no problem with Eboue replacing Sagna…i think both are equally good playing RB although everyone got his own qualities… AW, would you please share a complete update on the injury list? thanks

  4. @ jet – In my defence, when I wrote that article I already knew the news that Sagna was injured. Even with his injury it’s still not much to worry about – Eboue is great cover and we have plenty of players coming back.

  5. Begs the question, if Wenger knew he was a central playmaker, then why buy him to play wide? Same with Arshavin, Rosicky, Diaby?

    Everyone can see that none of our wide players will score the 12 goals in the league to win us anything, and they aren’t decisive enough to win in the champions league (compare our wide player influence to those at Bayern, Inter, Barca, heck even Utd, not the same output).

    Surely Wenger can find a solution to accomodate all the CM’s together, afterall Ancelotti did it to fit Seedorf-Kaka-Pirlo in the same team with none having to play wide and still be good enough to win trophies? A 4-3-1-2 could do the trick, Song-Fabregas-Nasri as the 3, Arshavin the 1, and 2 strikers.

    Nasri also gave his team mates some really nasty gazes in the match against Romania on Saturday, even the French media picked up on it, bringing ego to the side, better stamp that crap out, he isn’t so good as to disrespect his team mates.

  6. @ knightman – I tried to share a good update on the injury list yesterday but the truth is it’s very hard to tell specifically when people will be back.

    Both Vermaelen and Cesc should be fine for Birmingham, as should Diaby. Gibbs, van Persie, Walcott and Bendtner are all in the running for Manchester City while Aaron Ramsey is back to training shortly. Sagna is now out for three weeks but I think that’s about it.

  7. Thanks AW. Glad to know Diaby is back though he should start on bench if not rested completely for the Birmingham game coz he is an asset for the Man U game (assuming he won’t head in past Fabianski/Almunia this time)…

  8. l am very worried dat majority of our players are injured.arsene wenger should do something about it during the trasfer window

  9. I ve said it. International break is a problem 4 arsenal.AW should play song,nasril and fabregas in the midfield. Jack on the wing

  10. too bad about sagna’s injury bt hen eboue’s more than capable to stand in, lets hope eboue or another attacking player doesnt get injured soon, wenger’s got to find a solution to our injury woes, i tend to feel its because of our style of play, we need to put our best eleven on the pitch more often. i wonder who our besr right attaker is, nasri or walcott, especially now that its obvious central midfield is where nasri loves playing?

  11. Shush andrew, u know if u keep being all positive about our injury situation, the injury demon haunting the squad will make sure u swallow ur words. As for nasri wanting to play in the middle, so does every attacking player and thats how wenger matures his players, playing on the wing is tougher cause ur hugging the line and don’t get as much space to dribble and less opportunities to shoot. its more of a selfless position, thats why its tough for arsh to perform there consistently. I’m sure they’ll both get more opportunities to play there when cesc eventually leaves. Here’s an idea, while sagna’s injured, we should try a 3-5-2, its defensively sound with 3 cb’s and 2 dm’s, there’s a central attacking mid position for nas (while cesc is injured), 2 forward positions for chamak and another striker, arsh can play there as a deeper CF, the remaining 2 spots are out wider and have more defensive responsibility then the wingers in our current formation, let me know what u think about this guys, i’ve been dominating people with it on Fifa 11 multiplayer. Here’s what it would look like with the current squad health-
    Chamakh – Arsh/Vela/Jet
    Diaby/Wilshere Rosicky/Eboue
    Song – Wilshere/Diaby/Denilson
    Koscielny – Squill – Djorou

  12. 1.) “….since the spectacular retirement of Zinedine Zidane in 2010.” Andy, Andy. You ment 2006 I guess.
    2.) Let me repeat myself. It should be analyzed why we have so many injuries and nobody should be rushed back, if not fully fit. I’m sure Diaby could do better, if he were fitter when he comes back. He wasn’t a couple of times. Tom Watt from Arsenal tv made a good point defending/talking about him. Though as you could see from my previous comments I’m not his biggest fan, but I agree with Tom. I prefer Sagna to Eboue, but if there’s no other chance….
    3.) I agree with Ilya on trying new tactical variations and regarding Arshavin. I always supported that, as we were more difficult to play against that way. We could try a couple of things, especially now. We will have a stronger team against weaker oppositions in the next couple of games.

  13. Playing Arshavin on the wing is always a waste. He doesn’t have the mobility (or desire?) to back track & provide cover for the full back behind him.
    The fact that Cesc is a top player means all the others (Arshavin, Nasri, Rosicky) have to be used outside their natural position.

  14. “Playing Arshavin on the wing is always a waste. He doesn’t have the mobility (or desire?) to back track & provide cover for the full back behind him.” Professional analysts talked about it as well. It makes sense indeed. Clichy is exposed a lot more, than necessary and he’s making some errors bringing more pressure on the rooky full backs, who bring more pressure on the GK. It’s like a domino effect. The right side has much more stability. Mobility or desire? I think it’s the second. I don’t think he’s lazy, but simply he’s not a defending type. In worse matches it’s much more seen. Tha’s why people call him “lazy”. Against Chelsea he gave away a ball, smiled and raised his hands, but did’t move backwards. Ilya don’t get upset. In my opinion he’s a good player in the wrong position.

  15. good old nasri he is doing very good in faberagas absents from the squad i hope he comes back soon thou need his passing in the midfield and eboue will do fine he had a good start to the season even if he has been over shadowed by other e.g. wilshere

  16. @ Carlos – agreed. The ‘deadly’ combination of Arshavin & Clichy is already proving to be costly when the team is on the back foot. I think playing RvP on the left & allowing Chamakh (or B52) to do the central striker role may solve the problem.

  17. I don’t get why we would ever let Fabregas go. He is the best player on the team, and, as evidenced by these unfortunate 3 weeks of his absence, the team does not function nearly as well without his world-class talent. If Wenger lets him go, he better buy someone darn good with the buckets of money he would get, or else the team will lack all of its creative flair. I simply don’t get why he would be let go, especially because he has 3 years left on his contract. It’s not even like we’re United and lost more than 80 million pounds last year. If anyone can explain why in the world you would just LET a top world player depart to Spain, please explain. And for the love of god, don’t say because of Jack Wilshere or Nasri.

  18. Any injury to a player is not an ideal situation the same goes for Sagna. With eboue in the squad his absence will hardly be felt as I consider him to better than sagna. it was wrong of arsene wenger to demote eboue and prefer sagna. eboue before sagana’s arrival was rated by many pundits as one of the best rightbacks in epl two seasons back. eboue may be at times easily get ruffled but he is far far better player than sagna who cannot defend, out dribble an opponent let alone sent a decent cross, an essential part of today’s fullbacks. On the contrary eboue is good at beating his marker, defend and better crosser.

  19. ” If anyone can explain why in the world you would just LET a top world player depart to Spain, please explain.” In general if a player really wants to go you have two options: 1.) let him go, as he will pull down the team on the long run (Fab has not been this type so far and I think he will never be and I WANT HIM TO STAY AND WIN FOR US) 2.) convince him to stay. How? Show him that you’re hungry for success and do everything to achieve that. I think the second part is limping a bit (eg: the GK situation is still making me uneasy, one experienced full back, one creative midfielder is missing, let’s leave the strikers now as Vela and company could score when they gave them the ball in good position). If the majority of our key players is not injured we are generally flying, if yes mostly struggling. That’s a fact that nobody can deny. I know it’s a difficult choice/business as you cannot let all your players go, if they are out of form, because it’s a stupid way of wasting a huge amount of money. Notwithstanding that you have to find a healthy balance. I think Arsene will have to deal with that and if nothing changes (I’m sure) in January he will.

    The problem is if we don’t get at least a mini Cesc or a damn good striker we will struggle if our key players are injured. I higly doubt that it’s convincing for Cesc (unless some of our current players will step up and show more potential; sometimes it happens, but not always). We must understand, that he wants to win titles (we want that too of course, but for a player it’s even more important = it’s a fact that most players dump their clubs, if they never win anything; we the supporters never).

    Let’s hope he stays, as he’s already a legend for us. God bless him.

  20. By the way. Let’s not forget we have some fantastic young boys. In the Carling Cup match against Tottenham we could see some fiery, physical young guys, who went after the ball and got it from the opponents. We could add this to our style as well.

  21. I sincerely hope i am wrong, but i dont see cesc at arsenal next season and with xavi not getting any younger he has a good chance of playing albeit irregular and who can blame him, he wants trophies and certain key position in the team dont inspire confidence, for the zillion time our goal post and with song thinking he is the next maradona rather than defend, lets win a trophy and we will see

  22. “I sincerely hope i am wrong, but i dont see cesc at arsenal next season and with xavi not getting any younger he has a good chance of playing albeit irregular and who can blame him, he wants trophies and certain key position in the team dont inspire confidence, for the zillion time our goal post and with song thinking he is the next maradona rather than defend, lets win a trophy and we will see” 1.) Trish It’s a more dificult matter, as Barcelona have to pay a lot of money (and not peanuts, as they wanted), if they want to buy him. They don’t have the financial potential at the moment. They are in huge debt. It can change within a year though. 2.) Agree. He could fit in Barca and there’s a space for him. If he goes we can blame the board and Arsene, as they did not do everything with the signings to show that they wanted an foolproof team. In that case they have to buy a superstar an not a young boy. That would costs a lot and believe me a superstar would only come to us, if he sees we buy those 2-3 other key players I mentioned. It’s cheaper and better to keep Cesc, so dear board and Arsene please buy those 3-4 key players to prove Cesc and us that you really mean that title race. 3.) As for the key positions I completely agree (see what I wrote above).

    “In a completely unrelated matter, with Pires training with Arsenal, how useful it will be for our youngsters to train aside an Arsenal legend. Secondly, would it be worth signing him on a pay-as-you-play contract just in case?” 1.) Training with Pires is an excellent idea. First it’s inspiring to work with a legend. Second he can teach them a lot. 2.) Pay-as-you-play contract? I think a short term contract would be fairer to our legend, but they have to assess him first. Campbell was very useful for a few moths, but Davids should not have come to Crystal Palace. It’s very disillusioning to see him as a poor player, as I loved his game before.

  23. Also as for Cesc: Not mentioning if another strong teams come up to buy him. We are lucky this has not happened yet. Can you imagine if a Mourinho, Ancelotti kind of guy comes with an offer. That’s a realistic chance. We have to avert this possibility.

  24. I think sces’s sale is now water under the bridge. I realy applaude Wenger and company for not selling him. Fabregas is a fantastic player and he deserves the captaincy. One lucky thing is that he has about three years at Arsenal and hopfully he will honour his contract. I’m also of the view that the team should buy a goal keeper if we want to win a silverware this season.

  25. @ Shrav.

    Theo if (and hopefully when) he plays a full season could easily score twelve goals IMO. Arshavin is quite capable too, so long as he isn’t shifted to a central lone striker-esque role.

    I like the idea of the 4-3-1-2 as well. To get the most out of Arshavin he needs to be played in a more central AM role. Ideally, how he operates for Russia and how he was used by Zenit.

    RVP/Chamakh or Walcott.

    The only downside is that it means one of either Nasri, Arshavin, Walcott or even Chamakh would be benched. But, if Arsenal’s physio room continues its current form, we’ll never have a full strength team and thus be void of any such selection dilemma.

  26. @ Gruggy I basically agree with you, but if Almunia and Clichy don’t show their best forms, they could be replaced by Fabianski and Gibbs. Also I’m not sure we should remove Fabianski now. At the moment he’s in much better form. If there are no injuries selection problems can be solved with some rotation and other players could be involved as well, making sure that a key player is in the pitch at all times.

  27. @ Carlos, I agree with the notion we need to spring for a few top caliber players, and that is what I was saying when I meant why just let him leave to Barca? He won’t bring down a team, and we have enough money with our profits to buy him support, though it is not imperative as long as we (mainly RVP) stay healthy. Also, they could buy a superstar with the money they would recieve for Cesc, although it would not be nearly as satisfying to replace a home-grown young guy like Cesc with a Wesley Sneijder or Arjen Robben, just to throw out two ball distributors with an eye for goal. But we have our cornerstone, and the money is there – we just need to convert that to players and wins. Also, Steckelenburg would be a key guy to tell Cesc that the commitment is there. Agree?

  28. @ Charlie, I will be very angry, if Cesc goes as I agree with u. He’s 1.) a home-grown star and every Arsenal fan has a strong emotional tie to him 2.) he’s fully capable to play Arsene’s game/style. 3.) we have to buy him support (another distributor and preferably a younger player, who could easily accept his leadership and learn from him; Robben might not would be good for that) is better/more helpful for the team, than buying one more striker = we have enough of them and they can score if u give them the ball in good position 4.) ih he still leaves we really need a superstar, as he’s been the brain and the heart of our team; that might be a tough job even for a superstar 5.) as for RVP I also agree, he’s got a big impact on the game, but we will not have him all the time, even if he gets more stable and doesn’t get injured for such long periods.

    Last time I wrote a long list about keepers and though I forgot to mention Steckelenburg. I also agree there as I like him as well. There’s not much missing from our team and not necessarily all of the newcomers should be superstars. I basically support Wenger’s more modest policy. We have very few full backs (3), so we need one more (and then a consistent and experienced one not necessarily superstar, but not a rooky either). A solid GK not necessarily superstar. A younger and very talented Cesc aid. That’s the minimum and it’s not much (3 players). Create competition, check what we need and sell 3 players, who are not good enough or not willing to work hard and buy 3 better ones. Investigates the injuries + some more confidence. That’s all we need to be solid and have a chance to win not only the PL, but the ChLeague as well.

  29. What I meant above (in response to “I don’t get why we would ever let Fabregas go.”) is that you cannot force anybody, if he wants to go and if u don’t offer him a fair chance to win titles. In the end he will play worse football and they will let him go for cheap(er). Even Henry was a relatively bad in his last season, when they held him back. Instead of force they have to show enough him committment, if they want him to keep him (we of course want that as well, but we have no words in it). That would be a big gain and would help deter other big teams to want to buy him. I guess now I was clear. I don’t want Robben or anybody instead of him, but if he goes we need a superstar in his position and none of them (superstars) will come, if there’s any other option, as they want to win. So in any way we have to bring those minimum 3 players to show we really want those titles.

  30. Sorry. One of above sentences was wrong. I meant: Instead of force they have to show him enough commitment, if they want to keep him.

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