By Walter Broeckx
Are we witnessing another young player getting matured? This is the question I ask myself when I see Samir Nasri doing his job since he came back after his knee injury and at the start of the season.
Well he was already doing a great job before his little injury in replacing Cesc who still was recovering from the World Cup. But then he was out for about a month and as we have seen before: it’s not always that easy to find your best form back after an injury.
The way Cesc has been performing last season it is sometimes difficult to forget that Cesc hasn’t been that cool in front of goal. No it was only until last season that he was strong enough to score goals. Creating goals and giving assists never has been the problem with Cesc. But when it came to goal scoring it was sometimes hard to believe that it was Cesc who missed too many chances. But last season he was just banging them in from all angles and looked at times as confident as only the best strikers are in front of goal. But I remember that when I first came to the Emirates and when Cesc scored our winning goal it actually was his first goal in the EPL that season. And it was in April! I remember people criticising Cesc for not scoring enough.
But I do believe this is all part of a learning process that a player and certainly a midfield player has to go through. I think no one will doubt the fact that Cesc is an exceptional player but even he had to learn the job. Even he had to learn to score goals. It has a lot to do with confidence. And it also has a lot to do with staying calm when you get a chance. And about taking the right decisions when you get a chance. Do you go for force? Do you just pass it over the line? Is there a better placed player? Something that you have to learn, not only on the practice field but most importantly in the games you play.
Last year Cesc finally got this right and it took him rather a few season to get that far and remember that Cesc is a world class player and that even for such players it takes time to develop in to the player he is now. And now when I look at Samir Nasri I get a feeling that he might be doing the same thing this season like Cesc has done in the last season.
I have seen Nasri play in France before he came to Arsenal and I had seen some great potential. He was named the new Zidane, but that is a nick name all good young French midfielders get. You could see that he had the potential to carry a team and to be the central player in a team. But for reasons we all know (Cesc) he doesn’t get this role at Arsenal when Cesc is fit. Understandable I would say.
So since his arrival from France Nasri is playing in a different position then he was used to. He had to learn it all in this position and it could well have been that this affected his overall play and most importantly his goal scoring ability. We had seen early on that he could score goals (winning goal in his first EPL match, his goals against United), so yes we knew he could score but he didn’t score much.
But now this season he has started scoring and he has made the final step in his learning process. A process which has been hampered last year badly with a broken leg in pre-season. I think it held him back for one season. But now since the start he has been on the score sheet in many games. In fact he started 9 games so far this season and he has scored 7 goals. And even a cartilage operation couldn’t stop him as he just went on after that as if nothing had happened. Those are great numbers if you ask me. So far this season he has scored as much goals as in his first and best season so far. And we are not even November.
And his goals show he is class all around the field. His goal against Shakhtar with a confident and hard shot with his left foot. Yesterday his close control and coolness to lift the ball over the keeper who anticipated a low shot. It all is looking a lot like the way Cesc was scoring goals for us last season. And doesn’t this look great for Arsenal to know that yet another player has taken that step from being a player who can create in to a player that can finish as well?
And just imagine the opposition manager who is trying to warn his players for our goal scoring players. Well I think that he has to warn his players for all our players except our keeper, Clichy and Sagna. But the rest all can score a goal and some of them score very easy.
And a final thought is that if all goes well we will see this development also with Jack and Aaron and doesn’t this sound great? The best is yet to come and the present is already looking great.
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