Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri has further stoked the tensions ahead of Wednesday’s North London derby clash with Tottenham Hotspur by insisting he will not shake hands with Spurs defender William Gallas.
The bad blood between the two originated from a row on the French team coach when the pair were on international duty in 2008, and Nasri was further incensed by disparaging comments Gallas made about him in the centre-back’s autobiography.
The two Frenchmen, then team-mates at Arsenal, did not speak for the entirety of Gallas’ last year with the Gunners. The only time the pair have met since was last November at Emirates Stadium when Gallas, now a Tottenham player, captained his new side to a 3-2 victory.
Nasri refused to shake the 33-year-old defender’s hand on that occasion, and has now made it clear he has no desire to end the feud.
The 23-year-old midfielder said: "Against Tottenham I refused to shake Gallas's hand. He said to the press 'it's a pity for him'," he said in The Sun.
"Next time I will not shake his hand either. I'm generous with my family and friends but I am spiteful as well. Defenders who give me kicks know that very well."
Arsenal currently lie second in the Premier League table, seven points behind leaders Manchester United with a game in hand, making Wednesday’s clash at White Hart Lane a must-win game if the Gunners are to keep their fading title challenge alive.
Manager Arsene Wenger believes the only way his team can overcome their bitter rivals is to concentrate on playing their own game without fear of the opposition.
"There is a lot at stake. We have not to go with any fear and wait for Spurs to play. We will try to play our game," he said.
By Liam Twomeycomments