Benayoun: Great run has helped fans forget Nasri and Fabregas

 

Yossi Benayoun last night insisted Arsenal's recovery from their dismal start to the season has enabled the club's supporters to forget the loss of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri in the summer. The Israeli midfielder's claim may have come at an inopportune time in the wake of the Gunners' 3-1 defeat to Olympiakos on Tuesday but they had already won Champions League Group F.

Arsenal's journey to the last 16 was relatively tranquil compared to other English clubs and has been allied to improved domestic form. The Gunners are fifth in the Premier League after a run of six wins from their last seven matches as they repair the damage caused by a woeful start.

Fabregas, Nasri and Gaël Clichy were the highest profile departures, with Benayoun among five arrivals in the final throes of the summer window who initially struggled to adapt as Arsenal lost four of their opening seven League games. But he believes the healing process is sufficiently advanced for the club's supporters to now consign that dark period to history.

"You lose two of your biggest stars – Fabregas and Nasri are both great players – and maybe, I don't know, the fans expected bigger names [to replace them]," Benayoun said. "But all the names we bought on the last day have proved themselves and we are playing much better, winning games and I think the supporters now understand we have a good team and they have forgotten the other players.

"We are only two points behind Chelsea now, a few points from Tottenham and Man U are not far so I think we have proved ourselves."

Benayoun scored Arsenal's solitary goal in Greece on only his fifth start for the club following a season-long loan from Chelsea. The 31-year-old is yet to start a League match for his temporary employers.

"The Arsenal fans are definitely yet to see my best," said Benayoun. "I was lucky to be in midfield for the biggest teams in England – I played for a big club like Liverpool so I think I can play for any club.

"But they say you don't change a winning team and we are on a good run so it is very difficult to get into the team. The only thing I can do is to wait for any chance I get."

Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski and left-back Andre Santos will be unavailable for Saturday's League match at home to Everton after sustaining knee and ankle injuries respectively against the Greek champions.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot