Date:Wednesday April 21 2010
French midfielder Samir Nasri regrets that the failure to claim any silverware this season will deny the team the credit they deserve in maintaining a challenge in the major competitions through to their late stages.
Successive defeats following our exit from the CL including an inglorious late capitulation at Wigan has led to the predictable crowing and demands for 'wholesale` changes to the team from pundits and ex-players. Others have called for complete changes in our playing style and an examination of what they claim as multifarious mistakes in policy and strategies since we last won a trophy 5 seasons ago. Nasri, while welcoming the potential signing of Chamakh, wants no such major surgery saying "I am hoping that our squad will stay unchanged because we are really good and with a year more experience, we can achieve some great things next season."
Perceptions change quickly in football and in little over a week the praise the team has earned for its fighting spirit has dissipated among an understandable sense of disappointment as the hopes developed over the season have faded even though pre-season expectations and predictions have been exceeded for the most part. A couple of results can change the mood very quickly and across town our network neighbours, who had been reaching for a line to the Samaritans after defeats to Sunderland and lowly Portsmouth, the latter of which put them out of the FA Cup, are encouraged enough after just two home wins to be claiming that it is now their destiny to win the Premier League next season. Rationality doesn`t come easily to football supporters it seems.
Samir has no doubt that a plague of serious injuries, Arsenal were missing 8 players who had made up the first choice starting line up in the early part of the season against Wigan, was a primary contributor to our falling short this season.
"Injuries happen and it is part of football, but I think if we had not had those injuries, we would be top of the Premier League and still in the Champions League," said the French midfielder.
"Apart from Arsenal, I do not know a team playing without five of its best players in the quarter-final of the Champions League like we did against Barcelona and to be in such a high position in the league."
It's often hard to see any season as successful without a trophy to show for it but it is possible to finish a season with a sense of hope and expectation based on what has been achieved so far and the conditions under which that achievement has been made. Samir has no doubt that there is merit in what we have done and every reason to look forward.
"It is annoying. The work we do is not getting the credit it deserves because we are not winning silverware," Nasri said adding "This season had proved that we have everything to compete and we have learnt so much."
The club is in good shape on a number of counts and in many ways our domestic peers have more problems than we have. This summer will bring departures and recruits as every summer has always done. Perhaps not on the wholesale scale that some are demanding as that would prove counterproductive. Those that do come in will be joining a core body of significant developing talent whose best times are in front of them. There is every reason, based on what we have seen this season to expect to continue to compete for the major trophies next season and with the little bit of fortune that always goes into winning trophies the more visible rewards will also come.
In any event our unique record in being the only club to win a trophy in 9 successive historical decades has another 10 years in which to be extended - so what`s the hurry?
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Date:Wednesday April 21 2010
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