Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

NASRI'S RETURN MAY PROVIDE CITY SPARK ; Frenchman's Stats Suggest the Blues Have Missed Him Just as Much as Main Man Toure

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

NASRI'S RETURN MAY PROVIDE CITY SPARK ; Frenchman's Stats Suggest the Blues Have Missed Him Just as Much as Main Man Toure

Article excerpt

CITY fans have been casting doleful eyes towards Equatorial Guinea as they contemplate their worst winless run since December 2008.

The run of two defeats and two draws in all competitions, and a goal deficit of minus four, has unhappily coincided with the absence of Yaya Toure at the African Nations Cup.

And it is hard to ignore the fact that the Blues ran into a brick wall from the moment the big Ivory Coast skipper packed his bags, after helping them to a winning streak of 11 wins and a draw.

But the good news for forlorn Blues, apart from that heartening display at Chelsea last week, is that there is a midfielder coming back against Hull tomorrow - and in some ways he has had a BIGGER influence on City this season.

The fact that he is Yaya's closest pal in the squad means he will probably be reminding the big man of these stats on a frequent basis.

But the truth is that French ace Samir Nasri, who has had a full week of training under his belt after nearly making the bench at Stamford Bridge last Saturday, has some pretty impressive statistics for the Blues this season.

His passing accuracy of over 90.3 per cent is better than Yaya's 89.8, and his passing accuracy in the opposition half is 90.3 to Yaya's 88.2.

He also has four assists to Toure's one this season, and has created more than TWICE as many chances, with 43 to his pal's 20.

Of course, Yaya will no doubt point out that he has scored seven goals, and Nasri has not got one in the league this season - although his brilliant strike in Rome goes a long way towards making up for that!

But the stats alone do not tell the story. Those who watch City on a regular basis will know that Nasri is a hugely important figure for City these days, very close to joining the list of essential players - Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Yaya, David Silva and Sergio Aguero.

When he plays well, City tend to sparkle, and when he is off form, or absent - as he has been for three games with a calf problem - the Blues lack a spark of creativity. …

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