The closest Arsenal have come this year to a full strength side was probably GW5 against Sunderland. That day, Wenger lined up with Song and Wilshere as the holding pair, Arshavin and Nari as the wider forwards, Fabregas in an advanced role and Chamakh up front. Sounds okay so far, however, now bring in Van Persie, one of Arsenal's best players and an every week starter and I have an issue:
"We can play Chamakh and Van Persie together. We can play Chamakh up front and van Persie behind . . . What is interesting is we can play all kinds of formations with the two." (Wenger)
So if Van Persie will play; who won't? Let's start with the central pairing. This season Wenger has gone with following pairs:
- Wilshere / Song x 9
- Song / Denilson x 3
- Wilshere / Eboue x 1
- Song / Diaby x 1
- Eboue / Song x 1
If you accept this then you will see why I fear for Nasri. We have four spots left and we need to fit in Fabregas (Arsenal's best player and captain), Van Persie (their best all round forward), Chamakh (their top scorer this season and newest arrival), Arshavin (their record signing) and then Nasri, Walcott and Rosicky. As noted above, Wenger has stated that he wants to play Van Persie behind Chamakh so Nasri's only real shot is to take over from Arshavin. Even if this happened it is a stretch to think his minutes would be more than 60% of those on offer given the wealth of alternatives available for selection.
I really like Nasri as a player and I've been a big fan of his work this year but as many of us have learned (again) with the likes of O'Shea, Bosingwa and Milner, talent alone cannot overcome a lack of playing time and so guaranteed (or at least predictable) minutes are still an important factor when selecting a fantasy team.
Now, in the short term Nasri should be okay as Fabregas is injured and won't be rushed back. However, they're talking about him possibly playing in GW17 against United so the crunch could happen as soon as two weeks away which makes Nasri a huge risk to buy right now. If my analysis is correct then 23% of people are going to get spooked very quickly and his price could fall fairly quickly.