Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Nasri: More protection is needed

Samir Nasri

Arsenal winger Samir Nasri maintains players in the Barclays Premier League are not "evil", but feels referees should do more to protect players.

Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong has been dropped from the Holland squad for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Moldova and Sweden after his tackle left Newcastle's Hatem Ben Arfa with a double fracture of his leg. Ben Arfa's fellow France international Nasri believes malice is often difficult to prove, but maintains referees could do more to clamp down on over-zealous challenges.

"What strikes me is the refereeing. The referee saw Hatem exit on a stretcher with an oxygen mask, yet he didn't punish de Jong. It's that which has to change in England," Nasri said on Eurosport.

"Nigel de Jong has pedigree, a bit like [Mark] van Bommel. Referees should know that these players make foul tackles. The tackle wasn't exactly like the one that Eduardo suffered against Birmingham, but it was a hard tackle, from the side."

Nasri continued: "With the exception of one time, when [Joey] Barton tried to hack me down, players are not 'evil'.

"There are sometimes accidents and there always have been, considering the commitment levels - but are we protected enough in England? I don't think so."

The Gunners, meanwhile, head into the international break having suffered successive Barclays Premier League defeats following the 2-0 reverse at leaders Chelsea. Arsenal had their chances against the Blues but failed to make them count, and now are some seven points off the pace in fourth.

Full-back Bacary Sagna insists Arsene Wenger's men - who had been in free-scoring form earlier in the campaign - must be more ruthless when the action resumes again with the visit of Birmingham on October 16.

"I feel sad and I am disappointed as well because we played quite well," the France international told www.arsenal.com.

"We lost the game, but we have to try and do better next time. We have to learn from this game and we have to score goals because we had the opportunities to do it. We are disappointed."

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