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Nasri: ‘Arseneal Are Stronger & More Macho’

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Samir Nasri is full of confidence as his side prepare for an intense, hostile, and in the context of Arsenal’s season, huge game at the Nou Camp next Tuesday. He believes that Arsenal have largely improved since being toppled at the stadium filled with close to 100,000 fiercely competitive Catalans, loyally cheering their stars and being rewarded royally last season with a 4 – 1 win.

The Frenchman was speaking at the Adidas launch of the official match ball for the UEFA Champions League final Wembley 2011 in which Nasri of course hopes to be a part of. He said:

Barcelona seemed much better last year because we’ve become more macho, both physically and psychologically.”

“Some of the players are much better this year than before – Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, myself. We’ve all stepped up and become stronger and more macho.

Players have stepped up and driven the team forward. We can compete with everyone now. We approached the game differently this time because last year we were a little bit scared of Barcelona.”

“It was the first time we had played against a team like that. They were fantastic and played amazing football. We were really surprised at how good they were. This year we’ve said, ‘listen, they are the best team in the world, if we beat them it will be fantastic.

If we lose, it will be normal because they are the best team in the world’. We went in without pressure and played our game. We showed everyone we can beat them.”

Arsenal came back from a goal down in an incredible show of fight as they restored pride in front of their fan at the Emirates. It showed the improvement that Nasri spoke of for all to see. They had recovered from an early blow – not allowing it to knock them out, but helping it to spurn them on to turn the tables on the Spanish Champions. A late comeback showed the persistence and fighting spirit that has been said to have been lacking in recent seasons.

Arsenal need this kind of fight and resilience to survive on the 8th March, especially if they go down to a goal early on. Nasri said:

“We came back in the first leg because physically they dropped. This is because the Spanish league is not the same as the Premier League. In England there is an intensity that isn’t there in Spain.

“It was good for us because in the last couple of years everyone has questioned our mental strength.”

“We showed in the match that we have that mental strength. It was special for us because we proved to ourselves that we can beat big teams. We felt fitter in the first leg and last year as well. We were losing 2-0 but came back 2-2.

“This year for 70 minutes they were great, they had the ball and were playing. But they made some changes, were less dangerous and we put more pressure on them and became more aggressive.

“Barcelona are like Brazil. They don’t like it when you put pressure on them and attack them. They want to play their game. If you put pressure on them, they’re not the same team.”

Arsenal have already lost a cup final already at the hands of Birmingham – an unlucky loss that will have dented their confidence in a game they were expected to win. From what Nasri said here, it seems like he believes Arsenal have everything to play for, and will simply go for it – go for the win, and allow being the underdogs rather than favourites to work in their advantage. One thing is for sure, it will be an excellent game.

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Submitted by DBSFootball

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