Has the real Samir arrived this season?

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.


Manchester Arabia v Arsenal: the full story from start to end

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Existential nonsense: Songwriter Paul Simon, and the Professor of Philosophy, University of Frinton on Sea, discuss the game with Her Majesty the Queen

But seriously: Sunday’s preview: the game, the tactics, the team, the result

The result: We predict everything correctly, apart for the bits we got wrong

The ref review: You are just not going to believe the score that Mr Clattenburg got in our regular referee analysis

On the history site: Arsenal did not start where we thought they started

31 Replies to “Has the real Samir arrived this season?”

  1. He has had a steady curve since recovering from his injury last season. Been our best player this season. What I enjoy about him is his ability to hold onto the ball in very tight spaces, just to dribble his way past the opposition. His work rate is unbelievable, he never gives up. Definatly an important player if we are to challenge for titles this season.

  2. yes..a great player….but i think that also chamakh with his run ….makes spaces for nasri…archavin to score more….they are both a good scoring ratio….even archavin is a little lazy boy ))))

  3. man just reading this article almost makes me drool with anticipation. nasri, fab, wilshere, AND ramsey playing top notch football?! we’ll be unstoppable!

  4. The best thing that happened for the gunners was Nasri getting dropped and missing the world cup. He was excellent in pre season and despite the injury setback he has taken his game to a new level this season. He is great on the ball but like the other comment I’ve always been really impressed by his workrate take a note Arshivan a world class player imo not only has great ability with the ball but busts a gut for the team when they don’t have it.

  5. yep Sammi Naseree NASEREE! SAMMI NASEREE! has really come out of his shell this season. He really is becoming the complete player. Tremendous close control in tight spaces even at speed.

  6. If you have taken time to notice the demeanor of Nasri on the pitch, his body language will tell you lots about him. His talent, as a majority of Arsenal players, is unquestionable. What makes the French international unique is that he believes he is the best. Better than them all- cesc, RVP, Arsh etc at least in certain aspects. However, just like the great Zidane with the galacticos, he would rather let his football speak for him.

  7. the goal against Porto sums the brilliance of this wonderful player

    and has anyone else noticed the special relationship with chamkh they got on like a house on fire

    in certain games i would be tempted to play gibbs ahead of arshavin with a clichy gibbs partnership,I think arshavin problem is that he needs to play just off the attacker, I dont think he can play wide left or hasnt learnt the role yet?

  8. Im really optomistic about this season. We have players bursting onto the scene like Nasri, Wilshire, Chamakh and Walcott (before injury). We also have Rosicky back to full fitness. When a team wins major trophies they have a few players that can take the team through the difficult times. I now believe we have them.

  9. chamack
    12 games
    6 goals
    4 assists
    6 penalties won
    4 red cards given for fouls on him
    work rate:his reward is in heaven.
    distance covered:unlimited

  10. Of all the spectacles in football, one sight which makes me marvel in amazement is when a player is surrounded by 3-4 players with seemingly no way out, but maintaining a tight control of the ball, somehow manages to squeeze out of the maze.

    I know Zidane used to do this a lot; and I used to marvel at his skills. When he retired, I felt very sad and wondered if I would ever enjoy football again as much.

    Of the later players, Hleb was one player I liked watching and he could do some amazing things with the ball. But he had no end product. He could not score.

    Arshavin also displays some sublime, breath-taking moments, but those have been far and few lately, in addition to looking clueless for large periods of the game. But he still remains a master whom I’d like in the team.

    But nowadays, Nasri has started to amaze me quite consistently. His wonder goal against Porto made me stand up and notice in admiration. Somehow in his next match (don’t remember against whom), I thought he was bit insipid. But this season, i think he has been phenomenal!

    Hope he continues the upward trajectory, and becomes one of the best goal-scoring midfielder on the earth, along with Wilshere, Ramsey and Diaby. May Cesc continue playing with us for years and years to come. May Arshavin regain his sublime touch.

  11. All our players are ‘special’ talents, after all isnt that a prerequisite to be a Gunner? What has been fantastic this season is that more and more of our players are turning that promise into performances on the field. With Captain Fab missing, Nasri has taken up the mantle of creative genius in the middle of the field. At the same point several of our supposed non regulars such as Chamakh (I doubt he expected to start so many games this early), Jack, Squillaci, Johan and Wookash Fabulousky have been stepping up to be counted. And it shouldnt be a surprise really, after all we do have the best squad in all of Europe.

  12. YES! this is a very uplifting and optimistic article, the talent flowing true arsenal is unriveled. GO ON ARSENAL

  13. what’s pretty interesting to see.. is that Nasri has struck a pretty good bit of communication with Chamakh while Wilshere has really connected with Asharvin… and Cesc links up perfectly with RVP…if we ever get all 6 of them playing on the field… wow… is all I can say. For as well as Rosicky is playing right now… its difficult to find a place in the starting lineup for him…

  14. Wenger has a real problem now. Nasri is on fire, but so was Walcott before his ankle injury. Which one does he play, or does he somehow accommodate both?

    Arshavin has not been playing as well as he can, perhaps he could be the one to make way. Nasri on the left and Theo down the right, it could be interesting.

  15. the zizou nasri comparison is way deeper than that,not only they r both playmakers but then they r both from marseille and original from the same city in algeria.so thats a lot in common. and yes he is just amazing.may it continue as long as possible please

  16. I cant see there been a selection headache really Wrenny if we are qualified in europe those who need the experience will play and the main team will focus on the league.
    We also have both the cups FA and league and the fact we are making an effort in all competitions this year means we will need them all fit to rotate.
    It feels a bit like when we used to watch the invincibles play these days…..Good times seem just around the corner again.

  17. Red Gooner,
    Rotation could be a solution, but what you suggest (having one team for the league, and another for the cups and the upcoming Champions League ‘dead rubbers’) doesn’t solve the question of who our first choice wide players are. The duo selected for league matches will be seen as the top of the pecking order. Who will those two be, and who will be in the ‘second string’ cup side? The selection headache hasn’t gone away at all.

  18. Hi Wrenny, I mean they will probably rotate on a basis of who is physicaly fit for each game as each player seems to be able to slot in comfertably within our system.
    Maybe its just me but lately each time Arshavin has been substituted he has looked absoloutely exhausted way beyond the norm. I think he needs a rest.

    I dont think there is a huge difference between them all skillwise either so its a nice problem to have.

  19. Is any one else having problems submitting comments on Gooner News or is it just me. My computer locks up most times

  20. Having a surplus of creative mid fielders is a burden we can live with. Ha ha!!
    In past recent seasons we’ve suffered because we’ve been overly reliant on one player in this department (Cesc). We’ve also not had enough fit players for long periods of time to make (good)substitutions during games or to rest players & have had to rush players back from injury too soon. For once we also have a squad in which players will have to earn the right to play, rather than being selected simply because we’re short on players. Everyone will be effected in a positive way by the emergence & work rate of Nasri, Wilshere & Chamakh.Positivity & success are infectious. I can well imagine players such as Bendtner, Diaby & Denilson who’ve yet to consistantly deliver, maturing & improving as a result. What some people seem to forget is that no player would be considdered for a first team place by Wenger if they did not have exceptional tallent.
    The situation we have now is perfect for that tallent to mature.

  21. jus think, we have fabregas and nasri in brilliant form, wilshere and ramsey too in midfield…song too is scoring, denilson makes good passes, diaby too performs well and gives that extra physical presence….really i’m wondering, who will we pick when we have all of them available….i’m gettin scared!!

  22. I’m going to talk about Arshavin here. The day he came to Arsenal, I had sky high expectations on him. Well, he did everything to match those expectations and infact he even raised the bar. I hoped he would be the Messi/Ronaldo for Arsenal. He had the ability to shine in big games. Its only last season I saw in thing blog when Tony claimed Arshavin needs only 0.05mm of space to make a pass. (Cant forget that comment, Tony ;-))Then, after the disastrous World cup exit for Russia, he somehow was not the same player. He Of!course is a world class player. Its in him and no one can take that away. But somehow a small amount of pace is lost in his game. His fitness level has dropped. All these make me think that his age could be the reason. I seriously hope he again gets back to that level. Sure, he has done very well this season and continues to be a class player. But the kind of expectations I have on him are immense. And I feel he is a bigger threat to opposition in his previous playing style. Let me tell you, I dont like anyone criticizing him. I support him any day. But now, I myself talk about him as I couldn’t lessen my expectations.

  23. I don’t see why there is so much criticism of Ashavin. Yes he looks a bit out of sorts some sloppy passes and needs to help out his wing back more but man has he delivered in terms of goals and assists.
    Anybody that has him in their fantasy football team will be delighted with his contribution. I am fairly sure that he has 7 assists in the league now to go with his goals. It is no wonder vela can’t get a look in.

    I think it was a few matches ago when both he and Walcott came on as subs at the same time. Talk about disheartening for the opposition. Time to bring on the pain .

  24. Arsh is great when he is not tired, but he has looked exhausted as some point out in the middle of the second halfs. he does track back too, in the City game he tackled big richards properly. It made me grin to se the smurf arsharvin tackle the giant Richards out of the field. These small moments says alot about the Russian.

    Maybe when he regains fitness max he will be able to last the entire match and not just the first half. Cos as AW says, look at the mans stats! they are incredible….

  25. I love the cheeky little Russian, but by his (admittedly high) standard he is not playing well. He is still contributing with goals and assists which is great, but Arshavin doesn’t look the same player he was back at St. Petersburg, with Russia in the Euros, and then with Arsenal in those magnificent first months.

    He has a boyish face but is in fact 30 years old, and perhaps has lost some of his pace and acceleration. But in my opinion, Arshavin is simply unfit. He has admitted as much, saying he is slightly overweight, and I think you can see by his body language that in recent games he has looked slumped and tired, and sometimes damn near exhausted.

    It’s just a terrible shame he couldn’t maintain fitness, in those early months with us he was as good as Messi or Ronaldo. The question is, with young’uns Nasri(23) and Walcott(21) beginning to come good, can Arshavin(30) keep his place in the team, and for how long? And if he longer commands a starting berth, do we keep him or let him go? Financially I believe we could now afford to keep him, and who knows, maybe the feeling of being phased out will push him to regain fitness and once again become an unstoppable player.

  26. Based on what I saw in pre season I thought this would be the year he got his ‘world class’ recognition tag. Marseille will seriously regret the way they handled Nasri by the end of this season. I remember reading a stupid article in 2008 that said Arsene had made a big mistake spending £12m (which I think was in installments) on a player that prior to his move was hospitalised with meningitis and took around 6 months for him to recover and hardly played in 2007 – 8 before we bought him. It also basically mocked Arsene, saying that he had bought a french ‘Francis Jeffers’ and that Nasri must have problems because his boyhood club was desparate to offload him.
    After reading that I really wanted Nasri to succeed and was gutted when he suffered a broken leg last year which hindered his progress.

    Mids @ 3.00am is right about the reasons for the Zizou/Nasri comparasions and Zidane knows and rates Nasri highly and said that he is still following his career (i.e watches Arsenal matches). Zidane influenced Benzema’s decision to go to Real Madrid instead of Manchester United and did the same with Nasri, but fortunately for us though, Nasri listened to the counsel of Henry and Vieira instead.

    Nasri is apparently a free kick specialist too, so I am looking forward to seeing him ‘bend it like Beckham’ in future as well as more ‘Porto’ wonder goals. What I love the most about Nasri is that he really looks like he is enjoying his football and being a Gunner. In him we potentially have an exciting hybrid of Maradonna and Pires, as well as a Arsenal legend in the making.

  27. It is interesting to see that we are starting to have a few world class players in our team a bit like the old AW days, I am starting to develop a serious man crush on a few of our players.

    God I wish theo could be henry 2.0 I really do

  28. Terence McGovern, I think it was the champions league match, the commentators at the time was saying, that he was sorry for the opposition, at the time we were already leading 4 or 5 nil and said “substituting in Arshavin and Walcott, what a way to rip up your defence when their already tired”

    Well something along that line, cant really remember exactly, but that really struck well into my memory.. hahah

  29. Arshavin is a maverick a lone wolf, he is unpredictable, when i think of arshavin the first thing i think of was him ripping up liverpool who were a very strong team at the time and insihed second.

    however he has been prone to ball greediness, losing possession especially when over stretched, bad passing, IMO I think he is mentally restricted and playing within himself, and he does look exhausted lately.

    Arshavin plays best with a smile on his face

    check this out of you tube about arshavin against liverpool it is funny


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