Samir Nasri is a piece of work.
Merely 24 hours after Roberto Mancini’s comments that he would like “to give [Samir Nasri] a punch” tore through the footballing world, the French winger took to Al-Jazeera’s beIN Sport network to respond. After expressing his discontent over Mancini’s comments and claiming that he plays with more than the 50% effort that Mancini claims he does, Nasri pulled one of the more fantastic verbal 360’s in recent memory by expressing his undying love for Arsene Wenger.
“Arsene Wenger is the greatest coach I’ve worked with,” said Nasri. “If I’d worked with Wenger at Manchester City, maybe I would have avoided some problems.”
“Arsene Wenger is the one who understood me most, with whom I had the greatest affinity. I’m very grateful to him as he signed me after perhaps my worst season at Marseille when I had a bout of meningitis. He played a huge role in my career.”
The comments may come as a shock to Wenger and Arsenal fans, who Nasri left beaten and bleeding in 2011 when he skipped his way out of the Emirates and into the Etihad. The comments will likely make Gunners supporters wonder – If Nasri felt close to Wenger, then why leave? Or perhaps – If Wenger truly was the man ‘who understood [you] the most’ why would you stab him directly in the back?
But do yourselves a favor, Arsenal fans. Don’t waste precious brain power on such thoughts. Because Nasri’s words and this entire situation have nothing to do with Wenger or Arsenal. This situation is about Samir looking out for Samir – as has always been the case when it comes to the Frenchman. So despite how adamant he is that his move to City was “purely for sporting reasons,” there’s no denying that the four-year, $263,000-a-week contract that he signed with City more than doubled what he was earning at Arsenal.
Does Nasri miss Wenger? Possibly. But the only reason why Nasri is crying out for his old teddy bear is because he’s been wounded by Mancini’s comments. It’s a defense mechanism of the weakest form. And it’s truly pathetic.
Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.
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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”
Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:
“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.
“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.
Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.
[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]
Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.
Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)
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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.
That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.
One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.
[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]
Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.
Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.