The hype is justified; Samir Nasri will take some stopping

Samir Nasri, Arsenal

Smug; but has a reason to be

“Nasri is the most important player in the Arsenal team.” Those were the words of Luis Nani, and indeed, he couldn’t be more correct at this moment in time. Even if Cesc Fabregas was to roll the most dramatic of dices and somehow make the squad against Manchester United on Monday night, it is all about one man. And he, Samir Nasri, will be the one feared most.

United will no doubt have a specific gameplan in order to nullify him. It’s key that they do, as others haven’t quite succeeded in doing so. Pace, he has plenty of it. Creativity, trickery, he has that in abundance. He is what wingers ought to be. His quick acceleration helps him to become the more effective dribbler, and his trickery ties in with this.

He’s always had the talent, but this season he has really allowed himself to apply it to his game on a regular basis. Why? Confidence and the right temperament to do it consistently. Now, there is much more responsibility shifted onto him in, what is, still a relatively young side. As one of Arsenal’s better players, he is therefore regarded as a senior players, regardless of age and time spent at the club.

Samir Nasri celebrates

Rewind a few years back, to November 2008, and Manchester United fans know all too well of what he can do if given time and space. He obliterated United’s back four in an explosive performance (superlatives a-plenty) which he scored twice in a 2-1 win. This was at the very start of his Arsenal career; the difference between now and then is that he is far more mature, disciplined and brimming with confidence. That’s definitely showing on the pitch this season.

And there’s more. Samir Nasri is pushed higher nowadays, Arsene Wenger being conscious that there is a need to play in between-the-lines and in bands so the Frenchman plays just a little off the forward, in most cases this campaign being Marouane Chamakh. There’s evidence of its success – Nasri has eight league goals already and will surely double that tally come May next year.

So how do you stop him? Put simply, stop him receiving the ball and prevent giving him a lot of room to work with. It is absolutely key that he is suffocated for space. His pace will also cause problems – United must keep on their toes. Believe all the hype. Nasri really will be the main threat on Monday night. I’ve seen my fair share of the Frenchman, thanks not only to a dodgy stream on the web, but the workings of the modern-day fixture list where the top three usually play at different times, and so, from a neutral point of view (using the term ‘neutral’ loosely here) the praise is all justified.

Head to Head: Samir Nasri v Cesc Fabregas – this season

  • Fabregas: 2 goals, 10% shot conversion, 67% shot accuracy, 4 assists, 27 chances created, passes opposition half 77%, final third 70%, Dribble% 65%
  • Nasri: 8 goals, 32% shot conversion, 56% shot accuracy, 1 assist, 26 chances created, passes opposition half 85%, final third 81%, Dribble 54%

OPTA stats, with thanks to both @Orbinho and @OptaJoe

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23 responses to “The hype is justified; Samir Nasri will take some stopping”

  1. Clive says :

    But can he do it with Rio’s boot up his arse?

  2. TopGunPires says :

    As you say, his talent was never in doubt but missing the World Cup this Summer has turned out to be a huge bonus. He’s come back fresh and motivated to prove he’s one of the best.

    Should be a cracking game although neither side is full of confidence.

  3. pete says :

    I’m a QPR fan, and i think it will be a tale of 2 players on Monday night, Nasri and Nani, UTD are right to be wary of Nasri, but I’m sure Nani will keep arsenals shaky defense busy all night too, should be a cracking game, wont be a title decider by any measure, but will be a confidence booster to whomever wins.

  4. Mean Lean says :

    As an Arsenal fan, it is nice to read one of our players seen in a positive light rather than the usual slagging off. Good stuff.

    Samir Nasri is indeed the man of the moment and will be looking to get at Evra. We will have a large chunk of the ball as we often do, especially if you flood your midfield with Park, Anderson, Fletcher and co to stop us playing.

    I agree with Mr QPR above, I see Nani as the danger and he could hurt us when we play such a high line.

    Question… Do you think Berbatov and Rooney will play? It is going to be hard to drop Berbatov in his goalscoring form but that will stop you playing 5 across the middle unless he pushes Rooney out wide.

    Any thoughts?

  5. Mean Lean says :

    Oh and Clive, Rio can keep his foot up Nasri’s arse if he is going to sit on the right flank with Nasri leaving a massive gap in your central defence so Arshavin, Chamakh and Rosicky can exploit.

    I’d be happy with that.

  6. EMERY EMEKA says :

    The defence is a major concern. AW should do something about it ASAP.

  7. Big Red 'M' says :

    Wow, Nasri has only got one assist?! Didn’t know that, thought he had more. I’m sure Fletcherinho will have something to say about his influence on the game though, he’s marked better players out of games in the past. (That’s no disrespect to Nasri, he’s a wonderful player and the lone Arsenal player I’m worried about.)

  8. The Gaffer says :

    Cheers for the comments, guys. All good points – especially Clive’s 😉

    Mean Lean: I think Berbatov will play. United will play a 4-3-3 at the start; but will have the option to revert back to a more traditional 4-4-2. So, we might see Rooney on the left for a while, with Fletcher, Carrick and Anderson/Giggs/Park in the centre. Rooney can then move into the centre, with either of Park, Ando or Giggsy moved to the left flank.

    Agree 100% with TopGunPires and pete; and Nasri and Nani will definitely be the danger men. As always with this fixture (and now that we’re post-Viera/Keane) the midfielders always seem to have the final say.

    Anyway, best of luck to Arsenal. They’re going to need to it 😉

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