Pitchside

Red-hot Nasri providing Silva lining for Man City

Pitchside

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City may have laboured towards their 4-2 win over Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday, but their constant ability to score freely at home ultimately proved the undoing of the Czech side. There have been suggestions that the creative spark of David Silva would be missed, but Samir Nasri’s recent performances have shown he is ready to fill that void.

Against Plzen the France international was in inspired form, popping up all across the midfield and generally looking like the hosts' most dangerous attacking threat.

After almost getting on the scoresheet early on with a thunderous long-range strike which hammered the crossbar, Nasri finally got the goal his performance deserved in the second half. But it wasn’t just his shooting that impressed; he completed 38 out of 41 passes, six of which were key, and looked every inch the player City bought from Arsenal in 2011.

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David Silva picked up a calf injury earlier this month in the 5-2 win over CSKA Moscow, and has missed three games in all competitions since, while there’s no certainty he’ll make an immediate return to action for the next couple of games either.

There were worries that Silva’s vision and constant assists would be missed, but City have been hammering in the goals with 10 in four days, and Nasri has played a huge part in his side’s success.

A different player to Silva, he has a more powerful, direct approach to his game. With a 100 per cent take-on success rate in the Champions League this season and 15 out of 20 completed in the Premier League, you can bet on him to beat a defender and either get a cross or a shot away.

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Pellegrini’s men have a tricky month ahead in December, with trips to Southampton and Bayern Munich while they also host current top two Arsenal and Liverpool.

Nasri had a tendency to drift in and out of form; several questioned his temperament and whether he really wanted to play for City, but this season there is a new-found hunger in the 26-year-old, who will be key in helping the 2011-12 champions back to form away from home.

He was the stand-out performer in their 1-0 defeat at Sunderland, completing 93 per cent of passes, but couldn't help City break through a resolute Black Cats defence. However, he showed how effective he can be, never sticking to a defined position and making life difficult in the gap between the opposing defence and midfield.

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With Nasri lighting up both the Premier League and Champions League at the moment, these are exciting times for City. And if Silva makes a welcome return before the busy Christmas period, their superb home form could just continue outside the Etihad Stadium and make them the side to beat in both the league and in Europe.

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