After an impressive season opening performance at Anfield that suggested much for the new season Nasri will now not be available for a month. Nasri has suffered a knee injury and is set to have an operation in the next few days. His recovery from the operation is expected to take at least a month.
His performance against Liverpool was generally applauded and I believe rightly so. He frequently occupied two players, Lucas Leiva and Javier Mascherano, meaning other space was vacated in the Liverpool back line for us to exploit. Unfortunately, poor performances from Abou Diaby and Jack Wilshere meant we didn’t make the most of those opportunities.
Passes out wide to the full backs, Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna, were never made quickly enough to allow us to penetrate the flanks before Liverpool reorganised. When Diaby and Wilshere did find themselves within 30 yards of the Liverpool goal they were typically reluctant to pull the trigger and shoot. Only our Catalunyan maestro is ever willing to do that. Thankfully that same Catalunyan maestro, Cesc Fabregas, is close to a return, allegedly, and will be able to slip into central midfield without too much swapping and changing.
Negatively, though, Nasri’s absence for a month means we won’t be fielding our first choice starting midfield, if we actually have one surely Nasri is part of it, until around the end of September or the beginning of October.
Furthermore, and somewhat more positively, if there is one particular area of the field that we can afford an injury or two it is in central midfield. Not that we welcome the news that Nasri is out, it’s just that we can accept it a little more easily than if we heard that another defender or striker is out. With Nasri out and even Aaron Ramsey recuperating from his broken leg we have an abundance of numbers, some might even say an abundance of talent – although I am not so convinced of that – in central midfield. Put simply, it’s not good news but it could be worse.
Strangely, there is no official mention, on the record, that says Nasri aggravated anything during the match at Anfield. This suggests it might be a lingering injury which the club were hoping would have just healed by itself, only it didn’t and now an operation is required. On a personal level Nasri will be a little disappointed by the injury for other reasons. After not being called up by previous France coach Raymond Domenech for the 2010 World Cup Nasri would have been hoping to make an impression on new France manager Laurent Blanc. Such ambitions will now have to be delayed.