Having started supporting the Arsenal shortly after Arsène Wenger's arrival at Highbury, this writer has known no other brand of football. While the focus as always has been on pretty football triangles on the pitch, the barren run of trophyless seasons have slightly dampened the enthusiasm of the average Arsenal fan.
Wengerball attempts to chart yet another season in the Arsenal red and white, one that hopefully culminates in much anticipated glory in England's highest footballing echelon.
This week, Samir Nasri finally gets his wish with a money-grabbing move to the Eastlands, while Arsenal down Udinese in the Champions League qualifiers to avert potential disaster.
So one of the more protracted transfer sagas this pre-season is over with Samir Nasri moving to Etihad Stadium. There is no doubt a torrid reception will await his return to the Emirates come April.
In a summer filled with countless alleged statements and furious retractions, fans have been left both amused and confused. While former captain Cesc Fabregas's desire to move back to his Catalan roots was hardly a surprise, Nasri's motives seemed ambiguous at best.
Having spent the second half of the season promising he would sit down to discuss a contract extension once the football was done, fans were astonished to discover that talks had broken down. Then came talk of wanting more money than Arsenal were willing to offer, and the incredulous news that Nasri was making eyes at bitter rivals Manchester United.
Arsenal fans were up in arms. Here was a player they had been really patient with since his £12m move from Marseille, a player who had only recently started repaying that faith with some stellar performances. And here he was balking at a contract extension, at a time when we were losing our primary playmaker in Fabregas.
The situation got even murkier as Nasri took to Twitter to tell fans not to believe the rumours in the papers and that he was definitely going to hold more contract talks with Arsenal. For a fleeting moment, we dared to believe that perhaps the media was up to its usual tricks again, making a mountain out of a molehill. Surely the 24-year-old Frenchman wasn't as mercenary as that?
It proved to be no more than false hope though as reports emerged of a potential move to cash-rich Manchester City. Fan patience was tested once again with another alleged blast by Nasri on social media claiming that Arsenal fans were directing disrespectful chants at him. Cue more denials by the player and his representatives, claiming the quotes had come from a fake Facebook profile.
And so the news filtered in today that Nasri had turned down a £90,000-a-week deal with Arsenal and signed on the dotted line with City. Interviewed following his move, Nasri spoke of the fans at Eastlands, claiming they were much more passionate than those at Arsenal and that he had been angling for a move to the club since the start of pre-season.
After all that has been said and done, can you really blame us for being bitter?
Arsène Wenger has never really been known for his ability to turn a game with astute decisions from the bench. Against Liverpool, opposition manager Kenny Dalglish was able to watch on as Luis Suarez and Raul Meireles combined to finish off Arsenal with a well-taken second goal to end the contest. Both had come on just 18 minutes earlier in an inspiring change by their gaffer. The same couldn't be said about Wenger.
Granted, Wenger's hands were tied with an early injury to Laurent Koscielny and Emmanuel Frimpong's dismissal for a second yellow card, but throwing on Nicklas Bendtner and Henri Lansbury was as ineffective as it was clueless.
Livewire Japanese speedster Ryo Miyaichi and £15m signing Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain were left sitting on the bench as a rampant Liverpool side closed out the match.
While one could have argued that Wenger might have been reluctant to throw his young charges onto the pitch while the team was only a goal and a man down, the same could not be said against Udinese.
With Udinese needing an unlikely three goals to mount a comeback and a matchup with Manchester United looming this weekend, one might have thought the time was ripe to give Oxlaide-Chamberlain a run out. After all, Jack Wilshere will definitely miss through injury while Alex Song and Frimpong are both ruled out through suspension. Time for our biggest signing this season to get some game time and perhaps stake a claim with the clock winding down?
What could Arshavin show in three minutes that he'd not already done in the previous few matches? Our record signing looks a shadow of himself, at times appearing to be lacking in basic ball control.
The knives were being sharpened as we geared up for the return leg in Udine, against the mighty Udinese Calcio. Arsenal had never failed to qualify for the Champions League group stages before, and with the tie hanging in the balance, much was made of the implications of missing out this season.
Was it too far to describe it as a season defining match barely four games into the season? The media apparently didn't think so.
Despite the sale of key players like Alexis Sanchez, Cristian Zapata and Gokhan Inler, Udinese were touted as a chance to topple a depleted Arsenal, and indeed looked more than a match in the first leg.
However, a spirited fightback from the Gunners after going a goal down in the first half saw potential catastrophe averted. Wojciech Szczesny was tremendous in goal, his outstanding diving save to deny Antonio Di Natale from the penalty spot proving a defining moment in the match.
A fired-up Tomas Rosicky too looked a player reborn, scrapping deep in midfield with nary a complaint. His tigerish display bodes well for the visit to Old Trafford, though Aaron Ramsey will do well to improve following a lacklustre showing. Gervinho too repaid a bit of his transfer fee with some fine footwork, squaring the ball to Robin van Persie for the opening goal.
Now all someone has to do is teach Theo Walcott to run the lines properly. Oh and try not to shoot straight at the goalkeeper when on goal.
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