Why Nasri's brilliance is spoiled by his petulance
What a chance Samir Nasri missed on Saturday. The chance to show that he has character to go with his undoubted ability. The chance to show that he is a big man.
Instead, he looked like a spoiled brat.
Nasri, you see, was offended by what William Gallas wrote about him in a book. To paraphrase, he identified the 23-year-old as a disruptive force during France’s abortive 2008 European Championhsip campaign and believed he showed a lack of respect to the senior players. Gallas then joined Tottenham, which did nothing to ease the tension.
So Nasri opted to decline the customary handshake with the opposition ahead of last Saturday’s North London derby. Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. He had the opportunity to prove he is above the tribal rivalry that is associated with the fixture, that what was said and written in the past should remain there. He spurned it.
That shows a flaw in his make-up. And spare me the “Gallas should never be forgiven for joining Tottenham" line. Several players have done it and for every William Gallas and Sol Campbell there is a Pat Jennings. The Irish goalkeeper is revered at BOTH clubs – so why should Gallas be treated differently ?
Nasri is a huge talent, an immensely gifted midfield player who has now recovered his best form after the dip he suffered for a year when his form was sporadic.
Now he has reached a consistent level of excellence and if Arsenal have suffered the ignominy of three defeats at The Emirates this season, that has not been down to Nasri.
He has a fluency of movement that makes him difficult to pin down, he can ease past opponents as if they didn’t exist, he can score and he can create and he has a spiky edge to his game that helps him to look after himself. He was at his best when the French took England apart at Wembley last week – he ran the show.
And yet... there is clearly a petulant and immature streak that prompted the gesture to Gallas.
He could have shown that Gallas had no impact on his life whatsoever by shaking his former captain’s hand – and firmly as well, just to emphasise his point. Instead, he walked past him like he didn’t exist.
Arsene Wenger had better hope no-one else upsets the temperamental Nasri. He is clearly an individual who, for all his talent, holds a grudge.
Oh yes – Tottenham, inspired by Gallas, came back from two down to win 3-2. What goes around, and all that.