This Article was originally published on 9th Dec, 2010.
Many Happy Returns of the Day, Samir!
Imagine a Frenchman in a world of angels and glittering confetti, smiling and pirouetting around with a football touching his feet. The one face that would probably come to your mind is Samir Nasri, the glitzy spike-haired footballer donning the Arsenal colors. With his awe-inspiring football for the Gunners, this season, Nasri has finally ‘arrived onto the scene’. In the absence of the injured Cesc Fabregas, the Frenchman has taken up the ‘playmaker’ mantle and delivered the goods whenever it was necessary. With a total of 12 goals in all competitions, Nasri is Arsenal’s leading goal-scorer, and the tally beats his combined goals return for Arsenal in his previous two seasons for the Gunners.
Wearing the Captain’s arm-band and scoring the Pen-Brace
Arsenal took on their ‘mighty’ arch-rivals Tottenham in a Carling Cup fixture in late September. Wenger, contrary to his customary Carling Cup policy, fielded a strong side against the Lilywhites. After 90 minutes of play, the score was tied at one-goal-a-piece and Samir Nasri had taken over the arm-band from the substituted Thomas Rosicky. The mercurial Frenchman would go on to convert two penalties in a space of five minutes, being the paradigm of calmness and composure, a trademark of his, and essentially earn his team a passage to the next round.
Late Brace from Nasri not good enough
Arsenal entertained the Baggies at home four days after the Carling Cup fixture. The only excuse for a ragged display would probably be the 120 mins played at The Lane a few days back. To everybody’s dismay, West Brom were cruising 3-0 with 20 minutes of football left to be played. In stepped the incredibly collected prototype of Samir Nasri, two fantastic goals later Arsenal were almost there to take the points away from West Brom. That was not to be, but Samir gained a lot of confidence which would be seen in the matches thereafter.
Gets the ball rolling at City
With Liverpool nowhere near the top half of the table, Manchester City are the ‘almost’ entrants to the ‘Big Four’ tag. To overturn the humiliating defeat suffered at the hands of Citeh in the previous season, Arsenal needed to start strong and be decisive. The sending off of Dedryk Boyata within the first 10 minutes of the match made life one notch easier for the visiting Gunners. It had to be the charismatic Frenchman, in the middle of a purple patch, who would give Arsenal the lead. A neat exchange with Andrei Arshavin and a cool finish past Joe Hart would give Arsenal the much-needed impetus to go on and secure full points on that day at The City of Manchester stadium.
Adding a new dimension to his game
Arsenal traveled to Villa Park at the end of November, desperately trying to get back into ‘winning ways’ after some disappointing results. The midfield, in the absence of Cesc, was orchestrated by Samir Nasri, who ran half the park, beating defenders on the way, with his sheer pace and technique in one of the moves which almost resulted in a goal. From Arshavin’s ‘training-ground’ corner, Samir would net a superb volley adding another new dimension to his game. Arsenal would go on to win 4-2 that day and Nasri would make a huge leap forward as far as reputation goes.
Samir Nasri – Dance Ballad on a football pitch
Arsenal, with the worst home form in years, played a depleted Fulham side at home and a win guaranteed them the topmost position in the league. Who-else-but Samir Nasri collected a pass from Arshavin, left multiple defenders lying on the floor, ‘begging for mercy’ and scored an absolutely stunning goal to give Arsenal the lead. The goal showed immense composure, calmness and coolness on the Frenchman’s part and a Thierry Henry-like-goal-celebration demonstrated how important he is to the team now. With Fulham having scored an equalizer, Arsenal were back to similar nervy-territory and it needed one moment of individual brilliance to turn things around. A beautifully weighted pass from Van Persie saw Nasri beating an array of defenders with unbelievable ball control before finishing it in exquisite style. The goal symbolized poetry in motion and his technique almost Zidane-like. His twin-strikes gave his team the all-important three points. Arsenal’s Guardian Angel, Samir Nasri, has finally arrived onto the scene.