So what did Man U & Arsenal get for their money

Watching the match between the Bankrupts and Arsenal suddenly led me to think of two very contrasting transfers.  On the one hand in the summer of 2007 the arrival of Nani and Anderson to Manchester B for £30 million.  On the other the arrival of Nasri to Arsenal for around £12m last summer.

The Nani and Anderson buys were quite shocking in one way, not just because of the cost, but because they were done virtually on the first day of the transfer window, as if the Bankrupts were saying, “Beat That”.   The Nasri deal however seemed to go on and on and on, and when it was concluded it hardly caused a ripple.

So what did Manchester get for their money?  I am not a detailed follower of the affairs in the north, but I am not 100% sure these two have made £30 million worth of impact since then.  Nor to me is there much sign that this is happening.

Nasri on the other hand does impress.  Starting as a winger he is turning into… well what?   There was a moment just on the hour mark in the Euro Semi at the 99 year old Trafford when he reminded me of Robert Pires.

I know that’s odd, because there’s not too much similarity between the two, except that Nasri did something that Pires used to do – he went for a wander across the pitch from one side to the other, shrugging off attempts to remove the ball, and just waiting for the right pass.

Pires did this at the start of his second year with us, and from that point on there was no stopping him.   The difference with Nasri is that he can tackle as well (Pires only tackled once, when he disposessed Vieira in the Euro Cup game).

Nasri is looking something of a bargain at this moment – remembering it is his first season here, and the players that do very well tend to blossom after the first year.  Nani and Anderson looked like wonder signings at huge expense, but….   would they still command that combined figure of £30 million?  I am not sure.

But a player who plays out wide in midfield, and can then go for a wander, and can on occasion play centre midfield, now that is someone who seems to be worth his weight in the yellow stuff.

Tony Attwood

14 Replies to “So what did Man U & Arsenal get for their money”

  1. We play wonderful defense. With a bit of luck Almunia would have kept a clean sheet.

    I wasn’t convinced of 4-5-1 again. Theo and Ade was too isolated. Bendtner actually looked sharper than Ade when he came on. I want them both on the line up next Tuesday if RvP could not recover in time.

    Arsene’s post-match interview sounded like he would tell the players to prepare to score at least 3 goals in the return leg, no matter what will happen. Both for the win and for the show, I hope that will be realized.

  2. Also Arshavin for 16 mil is absolute robbery. I think Man City paid 15 mil for Bellamy. What a steal.

    We need 3 goals next week. I say 4-4-2 with Eduardo and RVP up front…

  3. Much as I hate to say it, it looks all over for another year, bar the tears and excuses. We should have been dead and buried after a predictably shambolic display at OT (despite all the pathetic pre-match sabre rattling from players who should know better by now). Apart from Almunia, we were sloppy, half-hearted, disjointed and so weak. They won every 50-50 and seemed far hungrier. We were just powder-puff. I can see a similar result at our place, meaning we’ll have to grit our teeth and watch Man U and Chelski (who should beat Barca at the Bridge) contest the final. At this point in my post I’d run through our substandard players’ myriad shortcomings and enter my usual plea for Wenger to take decisive action in the summer, to get a grip and sign at least three top players – if only to maintain our lead over the chasing pack (we’ll need several more experienced players if we’re to truly rival the Big Three – otherwise these sorts of lame results are just gonna keep happening). But I can’t see Wenger abandoning his infuriating, unnecessary stand, despite the growing unrest at being also-rans every year. Making up the numbers is enough for some of the Arsene-lickers on here but even the most desperate of ’em should be able to see what a few better players could bring to our fortunes. Apart from that, the only solution with Wenger in charge appears to be wait until Man U, Chelski and Pool go broke, then watch us dominate. Trouble is, those clubs will be sold to new, well-heeled buyers long before that happens. I say it again – we were told the Emirates (if that’s really creating a financial burden) would allow us to compete for big players on an equal footing with our former rivals. We were also told it wouldn’t impact on the “player side of things”. So someone’s lied. But what’s the solution? This will be another year without ANY silverware. Is that really good enough?

  4. Sorry merry. Wenger just does not throw away money. Just look at Tony’s main point. Would you want Nani and Anderson at Arsenal? I wouldn’t, not Carrick or Fletcher either. It was not a good performance last night but I really do not think that manu had a better team than us on the pitch. It just wasn’t a good night.

    Something went wrong but my brain can’t be sure what it was. I bet Arsene knows though.

    Oh, and if Arsene wants to spend, then he will. He always has. Get your eyes off the media and look at his buying record.The stadim was our best ‘buy’ ever.

  5. If Arsenal is very business like and is run like a business, then I think it’s time for Arsenal fans to think in business terms. What have we won in the last four years???? Is it okay for a business to have a good boss for the first 4 years but then go way off mark in the next four years????? WENGER HAS DONE NOTHING IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS, HE HAS CONTINUED TO SAY WE WILL TROPHIES AND HE HAS FAILED TO DELIVER. Surely in business you would be fired, regardless!!!!!!!

  6. It could have been worse! No doubt about it. My head absolutely dropped when Giggs scored, only for the linesman to raise his flag. 1-0, seeing as we were trailing almost all through the match is not too horrible, but we’ve got to show more ambition than we did. There was nothing going forward for us, and we know we’re much better than that- we’ve got to sort it out sharpish. We’ve got no choice but to make 1-0 a good enough result for us. As Wenger said, we’ve got to make them pay for not scoring more goals, but we’re not going to do so if we play how we played today, guaranteed!
    If only there was a way we could disguise one of the players as Arshavin, maybe the 2nd leg would be much much easier!

  7. As much as I feel it was a fair result, a few points: 1) Diaby is seriously not worth any contribution. Apart from maybe looking like Vieira I don’t know what else Wenger finds in him. (please Abou, prove me wrong!) 2) Adebayor should just shut up and not speak to the press anymore. I appreciate him better when I don’t hear him speak before games. 3) Bendtner will come of form when he leaves Arsenal. Then he’ll join Boro and do an Alialialialiadiere on us. 4) Silvestre still plays for ManU. God I hope he redeems himself in the second leg. 5) Clichy who? I like Gael, but bring on Gibbs. Young, energetic and although prone to a few mistakes, at least he attempts to cross the ball and have a shot at the goal. 6) I read the injury news online and didn’t find anything on Eduardo. Had he been given more time with Adebayor we’d at least look like we’re capable of scoring. 7) Do my Gooners avoid long shots (even rarely) for fear that they’d miss it completely and look stupid or is it because that effort is solely licensed to Arshavin? 8) Lastly, MUCHOS GRACIAS ALMUNIA! You were the man of the match. For all the criticism you receive, I’m grateful that you saved us from embarrassment. Now if only Robin could get that ice pack off his groin and join us.

  8. So I make a heartfelt plea Professor after the game last night. Whatever reasons you may have about changing a formation that has worked well for us for such a long time and instead persisting with this delirious notion of logic in pursuing a 4-2-3-1 simply are not backed by the results on the pitch.

    We destroyed Villarreal with a 4-4-2 to the point of suffocation, Cesc was back to his best and spreading out the quarter-back passes and the whole team had a sense of positioning and purpose to their fluidity, which I believe is the exemplification of the principles you have founded your life’s work on with Project Arsenal. What is clear to all but yourself is that the new formation simply highlights the opposite, which no such sense of purpose, no such sense of fluidity.

    I beg you to change this for not only the sake of the players who’s confusion and unhappiness is all too apparent to read on the pitch and return to what they understand, enjoy and communicate with such breathtaking style when in play. To nullify Cesc in such a way, to isolate the lone striker into passive submition, to have players out of position in the hope a performance will justify the change…It. Does. Not. Work.

    So I make a heartfelt plea Professor, not just for the return leg but for all games and all fixtures. The beautiful football with kids is viable and not so far away from mastering, but you must use your intelligence and compare notes from all games to realise that the only way to see it through to it’s conclusion is to stick with our tried and trusted 4-4-2 and kick the 4-2-3-1 up the arsehole goodbye. Otherwise those like me who have stuck with you choices and haven’t logged onto the vocal distension will soon be asking questions they have been doing ourselves…

    I wonder though if something else isn’t going on there in terms of Cesc. I wonder if there are concerns throughout the club that he is looking to leave, hence the captaincy, hence the new position despite all the years we have taken to turn him into the best quarterback in football. It just all seems a little too, ‘Let’s try keep him happy’ to me…

  9. As happy with the result last night as I am, I am equally disappointed. We absolutely dominated the 1st half and should have been 3 up before Ronaldo hit the crossbar in the 2nd half. It was just very frustrating. We also didn’t get any breaks in the whole game there were a so many occasions where we’d dispossess Arsenal only for it to bounce back to another Arsenal player, it just really was not our night despite the great performance. And what really annoyed me was that yellow card Tevez got, such a joke. Arsenal played well in the 2nd half and kept the ball well, but they never looked like scoring which gives me confidence for the 2nd leg. I was expecting a much more free flowing gunners but every time they lost the ball they had 10 men in there own half, in the 2nd leg they need to attack so they won’t have that and as good as Arsenal are on the break Utd are equally as good. So disappointed we didnot win by more but happy with the result esp cause I can’t see Arsenal stopping us from scoring in the Emerites.

  10. If you believe what the papers say, our defense, apart from Almunia, is a 5/10 rating. This is BS. The reason why we were dominated in the first 35 mins was because our midfield was pretty much bulldozed. Cross after cross flied in the box. The saves that Almunia are great but should not hide the fact that there are about a dozen more dangerous passes into the box whacked away by Kolo and Silvestre. The latter completely justifies Arsene’s decision to play him against his old team.

    As to why we were so thoroughly dominated for the first 35 mins, I don’t have a good reason besides the obvious that midfield could not hold on to the ball. “Not good enough” is one for you only if you have an extremely short memory that you can’t remember how we’ve been playing against utd in the last 3 years (or buy into what the Telegraph says).

  11. “It was not a good performance last night but I really do not think that manu had a better team than us on the pitch. It just wasn’t a good night.”

    Unbelievable. You obviously don’t understand football. Any objective, non-tribal viewing of that game will tell you that only one team played like they wanted it, like they were hungry for it. They are a world class team who thoroughly outplayed us for over 90 mins, far far better than us. Their forwards worked hard to defend as well as attack. Every Arsenal player was harried by 2 Utd players. They had 11 warriors on the pitch for more than 90 minutes (tho diving and cheating wasn’t beyond them, as usual).

    The Arsenal players who came away with any credit were the back 5, Gibbs, Bendtner and Song.

    I frankly couldn’t care less about how much Nasri, Nani and Anderson cost. The point is that in two semifinals now Wenger has screwed up with team selection and formation. We have one of the world’s finest attacking CMs and in a CL semifinal against the league, European and world champions, AW totally cancels out his talents by putting him out of position.

    “It was just a bad night” is a lame excuse of someone who has no understanding of the game. Just as against Chelsea in the semifinal it was boys v. men. One team fought hard all over the pitch for 90+ minutes while only a few Arsenal players did the same. And I’d take Park and Fletcher any day against a Diaby who always plays like he’s at a Sunday outing exhibiting his skills to schoolkids and refuses to learn to do the simple things, or Ade who’s always smiling and laughing and talking about “enjoying myself” while refusing to fight for his team and learn the offside rule.

  12. Nhan Lee, you’re right about Silvestre. The earlier poster who criticized him is completely wrong. I expected Silvestre to be a disaster but he was mostly solid. He made some errors, as did Kolo, but we really cannot fault our back 5 for last night. I’m also very happy to see Gibbs show he can do it in the big games against such world class talents like Rooney and Cronaldo. And all gooners should rejoice in seeing the much-maligned Almunia develop into a very fine, assured keeper. The man is constantly underestimated but he’s made very few errors this or last season.

  13. Everytime I see us witha 4 5 1 formation I genuinely feel like switching off the TV. Watching those games is an exercise in frustration. The lone striker drifts wide or deep. The wide players break only to find nobody to pass the ball to. Everybody starts passing the ball to sombody 10 feet away who is instantly under pressure and inevitably possession is given away cheaply.

    We won all our trophies playing 4 4 2 and we have an array of fine strikers available. Please God let Arsene Wenger put out an attacking line up instaed of saying he will at the Emirates.

    I mean if he really wants an exotic formation he should try this out sometime

    Arshavin Eduardo Van Persie

    Nasri Fabregas

    Clichy Sagna

    Gallas Djourou Toure


    No team on earth would beat that formation. Too much speed and close control up front to resist being conducted from the centre, fed by the wingbacks with a granite central trio.

    Then again what do I know.

  14. Objective no 1 was not to lose big (MU had just put 5 past Tott in 20 mins and it was obvious that they wanted to blitz Arsenal in the first 30 mins – in doing this they failed although they did score 1 early goal). Arsenal acheived this goal.

    Objective no 2 was to keep it tight throughout the game. They were playing away from home in a 2 legged game and to be only 1 down after half time (90 mins) is not a bad result. Arsenal acheived this goal.

    Objective 3 was to score an away goal if possible. Not acheived, but Bendtner was very close in the final minutes.

    Obj 1 and 2 are more important than 3 (1-0 is much better than 4-1 or 3-1). They are playing Man Utd the top ranked team in the world away in the biggest game of the year. Due to the nature of the 2 legged system Man Utd needed a good lead from the first leg, and ideally a clean sheet. Arsenal are the 5th ranked team in the world and there is a small but distinct difference from 1 to 5 in the rankings. So AW’s tactics were perfectly understandable. To expect a gung-ho approach, and all out attacking formations to get an away goal is being overly optimistic. MU have the best defensive record in the PL for a reason. Better to go aggressively at the Emirates having kept it tight in the first leg (same approach as Chelsea – but at least Arsenal played a bit).

    Being only 1 down at half time bearing in mind all circumstances is a good result. Seems like some have too high an expectation level.

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