In an enthralling second-half Champions League tie, Manchester City winger Samir Nasri was the difference, with the Frenchman showcasing his true ability to score one goal and create another as the Sky Blues qualified for the last-16 of the competition at the expense of Serie A giants AS Roma.
But such moments in a Manchester City shirt have been rare, to say the least. Nasri’s goal against Roma, a fiercely struck effort from outside the area that went in via the post, was amazingly only his first goal of the season. The 27-year-old had played 14 games in all competitions without scoring prior to Wednesday night, and it’s not good enough for a man of his calibre.
The French international has scored just four goals in his last 31 Premier League games, and considering the sensational efforts he’s been seen scoring in the past, many question why Nasri can’t fire in a City shirt.
His volley against Sunderland in last season’s Capital One Cup final is one of his finest moments for the Sky Blues, and he’s playing in a side with a manager who only wants his team to attack, so he should have the freedom to express himself.
Solely based on personal performance, last season was an average campaign for the former Marseilles playmaker, scoring seven goals in 34 games. Considering the defending champions paid more than £24M to procure his signature back in 2011, supporters won’t be feeling they’ve got their money’s worth from Nasri, and it doesn’t appear likely of changing any time soon.
It could be argued that he’s struggled to express himself in a side full of world-class individuals (Yaya Toure, David Silva, Sergio Aguero), while at former sides Arsenal and Marseilles he was seen as the most important player on the pitch, which allowed him to truly excel as the focal point.
Nasri is still creating opportunities for his teammates, however, but rarely is he taking the game by the scruff of its neck and showing his individual brilliance like he did against Roma, Sunderland etc. City hardly struggle when the Frenchman isn’t in the side, but their form has dipped in the past with David Silva and Sergio Aguero available. The Frenchman just doesn’t have that influence on the team, and many would argue that he’s expendable.
With 23 goals scored in 145 games in all competitions for Manchester City, Nasri just isn’t contributing enough to the side on a regular basis, which is a shame given how much ability he does have. In a City shirt, it will always be “what if?” with Nasri.