Nasri calls for more player protection

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

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has long championed the need to stamp out X-rated challenges from the game - with three of his players, Abou Diaby, Eduardo and last season young Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey being left with broken legs and months of rehabilitation.

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 and most likely out for the season.

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 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

"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."

Nearly all of the Arsenal first-team squad are away with their countries or continuing rehabilitation from injury, as captain Cesc Fabregas, goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, defenders Kieran Gibbs and Thomas Vermaelen and forwards Theo Walcott, Robin van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner all target a return to action.

Midfielder Jack Wilshere is set to link up with the senior England squad for next week's Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro at Wembley, but only after involvement with the Under-21s for their crucial European Championship play-off first leg with Romania at Norwich on Friday night.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have confirmed 18-year-old left-back Cedric Evina has joined npower League One side Oldham on a month's loan and that their former winger Robert Pires, who will be 37 at the end of October, has been using the club's Hertfordshire training complex after being released by Villarreal during the summer.

The French World Cup winner made 284 appearances for the Gunners from 2000 to 2006, and was part of the 'Invincibles' squad for the unbeaten Premier League campaign in 2003/04.

However, it remains to be seen whether Wenger would be interested in trying to add Pires' experience to his current group, as the Gunners boss did with veteran defender Sol Campbell when he was a free agent.

Wenger told Le Parisien: "He is sparkling. Robert is happy on the ball and physically he is fine.

"He can be of service in Ligue 1 (the French top division)."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back