The hype is justified; Samir Nasri will take some stopping
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.
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%