How Manchester City Will Cope in the Absence of Injured Samir Nasri

Rob PollardFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2014


Manchester City's excellent 2-0 win over Newcastle at St James' Park that temporarily sent them to the top of the Premier League table was marred by a serious injury to midfielder Samir Nasri.

The Frenchman suffered medial knee ligament damage after an awful tackle by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who took three swipes at the City player's legs before eventually causing him to fall awkwardly. Nasri today confirmed through Twitter that will be out for around eight weeks.


Thank you everyone for your kind words and overwhelming support, i suppose its kind of good news that i will be out around 8 weeks

— Samir Nasri Official (@SamNasri19) January 13, 2014


It's a big blow to City who have a packed schedule as they continue to compete in four competitions.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21:  Samir Nasri of Manchester City breaks with the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Manchester City at Craven Cottage on December 21, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Nasri has been in sparkling form under Manuel Pellegrini; a key element of City's superb attack that has managed 94 goals in all competitions already. He's an incredibly intelligent and talented player—his vision and guile so important to City's attractive style of football.

Fortunately for the Blues, they have plenty of squad depth and should be able to cope. Nasri and David Silva have been their first-choice wide players so far this season, but Jesus Navas and James Milner have both played well when called upon, and are now likely to see more action.

Navas had an indifferent first few weeks after his summer move from Sevilla but has grown in confidence as the season has progressed. His influence on the team is clear every time he plays at the moment, with his pace and crossing ability a potent weapon on the right-hand side.

SWANSEA, WALES - JANUARY 01: Jesus Navas (L) of Manchester City runs at Ben Davies (R) of Swansea City during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Manchester City at the Liberty Stadium on January 1, 2014 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo b
Michael Steele/Getty Images

He's managed three goals and six assists in the league already after steadily adjusting to the English game, and provides City with a very different, exciting option. Whereas Silva and Nasri both have a tendency to drift inside and orchestrate play from a central position, Navas plays right out wide and uses his blistering pace to try and beat full-backs.

Milner, who can operate on either flank, rarely lets City down when selected, and has become a firm favourite with the fans during his 3.5 years at the club.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14: James Milner of Manchester City and Thomas Vermaelen of Arsenal compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Etihad Stadium on December 14, 2013 in Manchester, Engl
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

His work rate and tenacity are clear, but his technical ability often goes unnoticed. Again against Newcastle on Sunday, he managed to set up a goal with a wonderfully weighted pass into the path of Alvaro Negredo. He has an excellent range of passing, and, like Navas, can deliver dangerous balls into the box from wide positions.

He's also a player for the big occasion, often excelling in away matches against the better sides where his incessant scurrying and tackling is best utilised.

Losing Nasri is undoubtedly a blow to City's title chances, but with Navas and Milner waiting in the wings, they should have sufficient cover to deal with his absence. Neither can replace the Frenchman in terms of technical ability, but both have exceptional qualities that will ensure City remain strong while he recovers from a nasty injury.


Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity.