Samir Nasri: A new messiah?

AFCB writer Darragh Murray celebrates the impact of Samir Nasri so far this season…

I have, for a long time, sang the praises of Samir Nasri and with his exceptional performance at the City of Manchester Stadium on Sunday, providing a hefty contribution to Arsenal’s three-nil victory over the cashed up City. Many have been skeptical of the Frenchman over the past three seasons, but perhaps his vital goal against the Blues, as well as his consistently good form shown this season, heralds the emergence of an attacking midfielder as capable and threatening as the likes of Ljungberg or Pires.

A former housemate of mine used to quip that Nasri could be perhaps the world’s most talented lesbian footballer. Putting aesthetics to one side, there is no doubt that Nasri has cemented his spot in the squad this season. Wenger originally signed Nasri as the replacement for Hleb (who was in turn a replacement for Ljungberg), and now more than ever, the Frenchman is beginning to show the positive characteristics that Hleb had, i.e. technically adept at holding on to the ball and finding neat little passes to open up defenses.  However, Nasri is also showing us the things that Hleb seemingly was unable to do, and finish his build-up work by either putting the ball on target, or putting it in the back of the net. His work with Arshavin to create the opening goal in the Man City match attests to that.

Nasri has been superb so far this season

When we signed the 21-year-old Nasri back in 2008, the press had anointed him the new Zidane. There were similarities, a French player of Algerian heritage who could play pretty much anyway in the midfield. But such lofty praise for someone so young often inevitably is burdensome when your form doesn’t match expectations, something Nasri has had to deal with in his first two years at Arsenal. These seasons were marked by occasional sparks of brilliance, such as the amazing solo goal against Porto in last season’s Champions League, but also by injury. Breaking his leg at the start of last season definitely kept him quiet for the remainder of the campaign.

However, Nasri is now performing in a big way. Not only does he look a lot fitter, but also playing with supreme confidence. To bury two superb penalties into the back of the old enemy’s goal netting in the Carling Cup is no mean feat, and this performance has been rounded out by some superb goals from open play. He is now our top scorer in all competitions so far this season and has scored two more goals this season than the entire of the previous campaign (he is also, I should add, making me a bucket load of points in my fantasy football league). No wonder his supreme form has not gone unnoticed by the so-called experts.

However, the most encouraging thing Nasri’s stronger physical constitution. The same housemate always used to talk about his ‘Marseilles grit’. He may be a diminutive person, but his temperament is suitable to football at the highest level, something the likes of Hleb never seemed to have – a determination not to let the opposition bully him.

Nasri playing well is also great for the likes of Fabregas. Two creative midfield players who can pass well, create chances, but also convert these chances means that oppositions have to spread their resources in order to strangle service to the likes of Chamakh, Van Persie and Arshavin. Inevitably, this will allow a lot more scoring opportunities (not that Arsenal never have enough) and penetration for our other attackers.

Wenger has always said that his young guns would come through for the fans in the end and it’s obvious trophies mean something to the players. Seeing the likes of Nasri, Wilshere, Gibbs and Walcott coming on in leaps and bounds this season shakes the cynicism that has been growing within me with each trophy-less season. However, such a great victory over a club who are trying to buy a premiership means Wenger’s vision is becoming more and more a reality.


Have your say on Samir Nasri by leaving a comment.


A writer and retro video-game lover, Darragh Murray writes on music, politics and football – the three passions that consume his life. He writes extensively on the Brisbane music scene and – when he grows up – wants to give Denis Bergkamp a hug.



  1. Terrific post.
    With the addition of Chamakh, Squillaci, and Koscielny and the maturing of many of our youngsters, all the pieces seem to be falling together for Arsenal.

  2. Well great post, i have always felt samir nasri is a great player especially when it comes to CL, he seems awesome… however we need to win our few next games which seem easily winnable, shld still put in the same effort and performance in each and every game.

  3. Thanks for the praise guys. I have a confession – Nasri is probably my favourite player at Arsenal at the moment, always rated him – though thought he has taken a while to ‘get used’ to life on the wing. He has clearly figured out how he contribute best in these positions.

  4. There is a toughness about Nasri’s play that I like, and that I think other players around him feed off of. Not that he’s dirty, but he seems like someone who stands up to bigger, physical players. Remember the way he clipped Joey Barton to send a message a while back? It will be interesting to see how he handles any extra pressure and attention his recent good play has brought him. Well, I hope.

  5. @ Cosmo – Yep, I call it (as Darragh alluded to in the piece in a very vague way) his “Marseille grit”. He’s one of those guys who can get under other players’ skin without losing his cool himself, always pushing the limit without going overboard. Pires had that ability too.

  6. I’ve had nasri on back of my shirt for a year and a half now. I have said it for all that time that there is no-one at arsenal with skill and control like him. he effortlessly moves it from one foot to the other, equally comfortable on both. not afraid to shoot. very hard to disposess. beautiful to watch. now he’s producing goals and assists. a fantastic player. and yet there’s been a number of fans on the blogs putting his name alongside song and denilson and diaby as the usual scapegoats when we lose. really annoys me

  7. “A former housemate of mine used to quip that Nasri could be perhaps the world’s most talented lesbian footballer.”
    I’ve heard he’s dating that Man Utd striker who scored twice yesterday….

  8. It was clear from his pre-season form that Nasri was far more serious about his game this time than the last 2 campaigns.
    He’s quickly becoming an integral part of this exciting Arsenal side. I hope they will land some kind of trophy this season. If at least they can get either of the domestic cups, it’ll be the perfect platform to go for the more prestigious titles (PL & CL) in the next couple of seasons.
    Though the emergence of Nasri & a few others like Jack & Fabianski is commendable, there is still a lot of work to do.
    Lets hope the team will continue to fight in the coming matches & thus avoid disappointments like that of the WBA game.

  9. I think Arsene must consider Nasri seriously if or when Cesc leaves ,he hass all the qualities of a great skipper !!!.

  10. Hi there . am sure nasir is becoming a dangerous weapon every day. let us pray that, him and fab they dont get injuries this season.

  11. love nasri ! arshavin is a bit lazy at times , chamakh presence felt, song is on form , denilson unsung hero, and still missing robin van persie. I CANT LIST OUT OUR FIRST ELEVEN !! so many great players !!

  12. he’s not afraid to finish and take a shot, that’s what Arsenal needs bitterly at the moment I guess, and recently he’s very clinical, love it ………. 😎

  13. NASRI is a great player, I use to love watching him at Marseilles but I don’t think he is there yet, CESC is miles ahead of him and I thought our MOTM yesterday was either Fabinski or SONG. Lets not get carried away, this was a 11 v 10 match.

  14. it’s really amazing performance that nasri show to the whole world. if he never suffer injury,he can enable the gunners the champions of the league in this year besides his another homemate players.

  15. Our Attacking option cant be better than this

    Song Denilson

    Rosichky Ramsey Cesc Diaby

    Walcott Wilshere Nasri Arshavin

    Bendtner VanPersie Chamakh Vela

    Ramsey get well soon.You are our future.

  16. “Arsenal physical” let me say this again “Arsenal physical” i have to pinch myself i can’t believe it.
    Is this true.

    On a serious note

    well! well! well! finally finally!! Arsenal seem to have got the point no more are they going to be bullied by no one, when you come to play Arsenal you would be best advised to try to play football or risk being kicked this is a fact and one that i love.
    I didn’t see all the burmingham game but i think the steally play started there and continued this week.
    I hope we keep this up and don’t go back, and i will even go this far if we play with this steal combined with our technical ability by boxing day we will be top of the league am sure
    Well done guys i will sleep better this week for sure……………..

  17. I have been critical of Nasri in recent seasons, and while I still dont think I was wrong with the things I said at the time I think its only right to say he really has stepped it up this season, I dont know if its down to development, being injury free or the world cup snub but definitely hes has started to fulfill some of his potential and promise. I still find his set piece delivery infuriating and at times he isnt doing enough defensively but compared to Arshavin at the moment he looks like Vieira in that department so maybe its something Wenger has settled with in favour of their attacking ability.
    Like I said hes really starting to look like a player who wants to make something happen and be a leader and long may it continue…..I just wanna know where this Nasri was at spurs last year or when Nani destroyed us at the emirates?

  18. i love nasri but, i think he still has to work on these two things bfore i could qualify him as a very gud player: 1st: his left leg is weak, he is really dead on his left side.
    2nd: he shud practice more of a long distance shot which i dont see so often in our game generally.
    I still prefer Theo W though!, I dont know why? Theo,s style has been always my favrite.
    However, If ever we miss cesc on a game, this is my fvrite line up:

    Eboue- Verma-Kosclieni- Clichy
    Nasri——-Rvp (Chamakh)—Theo

    I desperately want to see Theo play on the right wing, Id say he ll be much threat than arsha for defenders.Ill put Diaby in place of Arsha.

  19. Top post – especially when many are focusing, understandably, on the contribution of Fabregas. To echo your points, I really think Song, Fab, Wilshire, Walcott, Nasri are all capable as a unit of asking serious questions of any rival; the grit of Chamakh up front and Kos, Squillaci and Vermaelen at the back combined with our new-found refusal to be bullied by other supposedly ‘bigger’ or ‘tougher’ sides gives cause for genuine optimism that an unquestionably skilful group has finally come of age. And for me the most pleasing aspect of the Citeh result was the degree to which our guys dominated a side with a subs bench worth close to £100 million; I was frankly amazed by how much these over-paid journeymen allowed their heads to drop after the second goal. And this regardless of our numerical advantage; after all, it was only a defender that was sent off not a striker or playmaker …

  20. A good win, I just hope they stay focus and not turn complacent. Is Wilshere allowed to play in the Carling Cup since its not part of the league.

    But I give the man of the match to Fabianski, credit where its due I guess…

  21. Nice article, Darragh.
    I’d like to stick my two’pennath in about the match itself since it was such a pleasing result. Man city boss, Mancini, was asked on Sky before the match: ‘How do you stop Arsenal?’ His reply? ‘I don’t know.’ (true). And so it proved. city, shuffling their team around like mad actually had no idea how to curb the constant wave of Arsenal attacks – other than the Arsenal way – attack themselves. But you don’t out-Arsenal Arsenal (unless you’re Barelona). Ultimately they only really threatened on a couple of occasions. This is why Cesc’s assertion that we’d have beaten city if they’d had 15 was kind of correct. A 10 man Arsenal would still be still be creating more goal chances than City did, especially at home. According to the stats they had only 6 attempts on target and I don’t even recall that many. They must be counting some real weak efforts. It was an excellent performance against a team of guns for hire and if you’ve seen the movie ‘Shane’ you know how that ends. Basically these guys will play for anyone who waves the biggest wad of bills at them. Frankly I don’t know why the Sheiks charge an admission fee at Eastlands anymore. They don’t need the money – let ’em in free. At least they might fill the stadium.

    Song had a fantastic hustling bustling game. Back to his last season form. I wish he’d get his f*cking hair cut though.
    So glad Denilson played instead of Dopey. Big difference.

    And did anyone notice Joe Hart come out to catch a cross and drop it right in a melee of players? Under almost no pressure. It could easily have fallen to one of ours and been lashed into the net – but he got lucky and a shitty player booted it out to safety. If Flappy had done that we’d a been screaming and shouting. I feel a bit sorry for the poor lad now because he’s been so good these past few games but he knows the slightest mistake he makes is going to be pounced on. How would you feel?

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