Tactic Talk – Nasri emerges alongside Silva in Man City midfield

Manchester City claimed a dramatic 3-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur to put themselves eight points clear of the title-chasing visitors. Although much of the post-match coverage has been centred around the performance of Mario Balotelli, another recently criticised City player seized the opportunity to emerge as a key performer in a crucial result for the league leaders.

Samir Nasri went into the clash still looking to fully establish himself in the City side, having failed to win over areas of the City support after his move from Arsenal in 2011. In a squad containing a wealth of attacking talent, Nasri arrived at the club looking to chase honours in the City side. With David Silva emerging as a talismanic figure in recent months, alongside the similarly impressive Yaya Toure, Nasri has at times struggled to repeat the impact he made during his time at Arsenal. However, the Frenchman was praised following his performance against his former side’s arch-rivals, after one of his most influential City performances to date.

Latching onto Silva’s through ball, Samir Nasri evaded Spurs right-back Kyle Walker, to finish emphatically and put City a goal in front on 56 minutes. Three minutes later, Nasri would turn provider. His corner finding Joleon Lescott to turn the ball home and double the hosts’ advantage. Completing a manic ten minute spell, Spurs would fight back to level the match with 25 minutes remaining, only for Mario Balotelli to seal the victory for City, winning and converting an injury time penalty, in another controversial game for the Italian, perhaps fortunate to escape punishment for an early clash with Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker.

Despite events surrounding Balotelli dominating much of the post-match coverage, City assistant manager David Platt lead the praise for Nasri, declaring his performance as one of his best for the club. Influential alongside Silva in his attacking midfield role, Nasri would contribute with a pass-completion rate of 86%, with 26 passes completed in the attacking third. With the pair vital to the City attack, only Gareth Barry would complete more passes, with Nasri and Silva would also complete a combined 49 passes in attacking positions, each creating three chances as City looked to establish their dominance against their title rivals.

In a game of spectacular finishing, controversial incidents and a thrilling conclusion, typical of a meeting of Premier League heavyweights, Manchester City came out of a crucial weekend in the title race with maximum points against a title rival. As is typical of Roberto Mancini’s men, the creative influences within the City side were again hugely effective. While Silva produced another strong performance to carve the opening to break the deadlock, his combination with Nasri summed up the key elements in City’s performance, as the former Arsenal man proved his worth alongside the continually-impressive Spaniard, as City took a step closer to a first Premier League title.

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