Samir Nasri clashes with Frimpong on Arsenal return
Oxlade-Chamberlain is the star on the pitch, despite 1-0 defeat and 'handbags' in the tunnel
SAMIR NASRI and Emmanuel Frimpong squared up to each other at the end of Arsenal's 1-0 Carling Cup quarter-final defeat to Manchester City. The former Gunner was involved in what an Arsenal official later described as "handbags" as the two teams returned to their dressing rooms.
"Words were exchanged, and that was that. No punches were thrown but there was a lot of noise," the official told The Sun. "Samir was speaking in French but they did not touch."
Nasri and Frimpong have history, ever since the 19-year-old Ghanaian reacted to Nasri's £23m summer move to Manchester City by tweeting: "Money is the root of all evil."
Nasri retaliated by criticising Arsenal and their fans, so there was never any chance he was going to be welcomed back to the Emirates with open arms. Instead the 24-year-old was booed every time he touched the ball, and the negative energy clearly affected his performance. "I think Nasri can play better than he did tonight," admitted City boss Roberto Mancini later. "But this was the first time he came back to Arsenal and maybe he was nervous. It was not easy for him coming back here."
Asked why he played Nasri when it was obvious he was going to be barracked from start to finish, Mancini replied: "I played him to spare him a hostile reception when we play here in the Premier League."
Nasri wasn't the only City player to struggle against a second-string Arsenal side composed of youngsters and back-ups worth a combined total of £27m. City on the other hand fielded more than £120m worth of talent but none of them was able to match Arsenal's 18-year-old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for quality. The teenage winger forced City's reserve keeper Costel Pantilimon into two fine saves and was a constant threat down the right flank. Yet for all their endeavour the Gunners were dumped out of the Cup by Sergio Aguero's 83rd-minute strike, their first defeat in 11 matches and the first time City have won away at Arsenal since 1975.
Despite the defeat Wenger struck an upbeat note at the end, saying: "I want to take the positives out of tonight's game and of our run. We have a fantastic attitude and spirit and we have quality." And asked what he thought of the reception afforded Samir Nasri, Wenger replied: "I disagree with the Arsenal fans' reaction to Nasri. I want the players who play with us respected." ·