Love and H-eight - how Mikel left Samir in the shade

By Avenell Dave

Walking back for a celebratory pint after yesterday's game, my learned veteran Addict told me taht however much of a villain Samir Nasri has now become at Arsenal, his departure hurt as much as any of the Bradys, Vieiras, Stapletons or suchlike over the years.

I have to disagree.

With David Silva injured and out of form, Nasri should have steppe dup to the mark but the fact that he ahs not done so says it all about the fleeting nature of his talent.

One minute he is hot, the next he is cold and that is why our end to last season, when he was the main creative hub in Fabregas's absence, slumped to a disappointing conclusion.

While Mikel Arteta is not a clone for Fabregas, nor was he bought to be, there have been so few games when he has failed to shine that his arrival has been a breath of fresh air.

We've been fortunate that he's been fit for so much of the season but the fact that he joined us after taking a wage cut says it all about his determination to play for us and how he hsa shown it.

Yes, there was that abeeration of not picking up his man at QPR but so often this season he has shown calm and maturity which has helped us to control games and win matches. He has been a missing link.

While I don't dispute that Nasri looked dangerous at times on Sunday, the fact that he was taken off underlined how limited an impact he was.

And a player who moves for money, who claims they will win trophies and criticises our fans can expect nothing more than vitriol during a game.

The reason Arteta was so warmly received at Everton a few weeks ago was precisely because he is an honest professional who plays with respect.

Arteta's discipline is one of the main reasons we beat Manchester City. With Alex Song roving forward and often thinking he could beat more men than was actually possible, we needed the Spaniard to swwp up and he was excellent.

City started the game looking like a side beaten and weary, not one still fighting for the Championship.

Arteta's goal was perfection, showing determination to win the ball back in midfield and then firing one of the shots he has been famous for - and the sort of long range goal we have missed so often in recent years. It was a goal worthy of winning such a game.

When Arsenal play like that, it underlines how good a team we have when everyone is fit, and it's just a shame we don't have more quality understaudies to ease the burden when injuries and suspensions kick in.

Per Mertesacker's injury means that we have to rely on Johann Djourou on Wednesday against Wolves - no easy task despite their poor form, following Laurent Koscielny's tenth yellow of the season.

More of that later in the week, but for now it's time to enjoy the feeling of beating a hugely expensive side, who look a long way from being a team.

A shout out to our fans as well - having seemed to have realised that every victory ahs to be earned, not expected, we got behind the team throughout. That's what they need and I am convinced it has helped them during this superb run of form.

Gratuitous publicity warning:

Arsenal have asked us to show you their new Citroen advert - which is great - so click on the link below.