He started the season in the best fashion possible: he scored a goal in his very first game. It wasn’t a spectacular goal, not the kind he scored against Man U, but it was a goal and a goal in his debut. And given the fact that he was brought in to replace the Catalonian Dreaming Hleb who, in fact, never even took a shot at goal in the three years that he was at Arsenal (all 10 of Hleb’s goals were actually missed passes or deflections*) a goal in his debut was about as good a haul as any could hope for.
He followed that debut goal with a goal in the Champions League against minnows FC Twente, then one against Everton, and just as Arsenal supporters were starting to wonder if he could keep up the goal scoring pace, he scored a brace against Man U. It was a moment of majesty and led many to early speculation that Nasri would be player of the year, that he was the next Pires, and so on.
The first goal was a speculative shot, for sure, but the second was a goal of pure beauty. Watch it again here, it could be Arsenal goal of the season.
Unfortunately, that brace would be the moment of the season for Samir as after that his form slipped a bit. It could have been the demands of the Premier League, the fact that he was required to play more defense than at Marseilles, defenders figuring out his moves, or some left over effects of his battle with meningitis, it was clear that his form had dropped off a bit at the end of the season.
Still, he managed 43 appearances in all competitions all the while putting in wherever the boss asked — defensive midfield, attacking midfield, off the striker, on the left, on the right, floating… hell, let’s try him at right back! And jaded or not, 43 appearances will just make him stronger next year, and bodes well for his strength and stamina.
Personally, my second favorite moment of the season was when Arsenal hosted Coca Cola side Newcastle. The game was over with Arsenal sitting at 3-0 when Newcastle brought in recently paroled Joey Barton, who’s very first action was a two footed tackle on Samir Nasri. This attempt to end the Frenchman’s career was greeted with jeers by the crowd but Nasri just shook off the challenge, got up, waited until Barton was running away from him, and kicked him in the Achilles. Cheap shot, sure, but a cheap shot well deserved.
Nasri bedded in well in his first season and is certainly one for the future.
Anfield ’89, Anfield ’09
You can tell by the blitz of articles coming out of the dot com that the end of this season was always going to have a huge media campaign reminiscing over that magic moment back in the eighties. There are all kinds of videos and interviews and remembrances from all kinds of participants (fans to refs) and if you haven’t gotten your fill of Anfield ’89 then by all means, go and indulge in the past.
However, if you’re looking forward to the future, you might want to skip that and go on over to Setanta (or your favorite ‘feed’) and watch the second leg of the FA Youth Cup. Gunnerblog has a companion piece about the night, you should read it.
Diego off Arsenal’s list
At £22m I doubt Diego was ever going to be an Arsenal player, but that didn’t stop the press speculation last season. Anyway, he’s now a Juve player and goes the way of Ricardo Quaresma as yet another player that Arsenal supporters begged Wenger to buy who went somewhere else to fail miserably.
For me, the important thing about this story is that Diego represents the first big signing of silly season. It’s on now.
Oh, and you can start speculating about which Newcastle player Arsenal will not sign, they are having a fire sale. I think Obafemi Martins will be linked non-stop until he signs for Manchester City, and I think Arsenal supporters will be begging for Bassong non-stop until he signs for some place in France.
See you all tomorrow!