This season, it could be strongly argued — statistics aside — that Samir Nasri has been the most influential attacking player at Manchester City. While some fans and journalists outside the club seems to have missed many of his contributions, many supporters are nervous about his long-term absence.
Here are the three scenarios of how to temporarily overcome Nasri’s injury, ranked in likelihood that Manuel Pellegrini’s options that he’ll implement.
1) Play Jesus Navas as a winger on the right-side of midfield, pushing David Silva to the left side of midfield to serve as the type of creative playmaker that Nasri was. This formation would be asymmetrical as City’s midfield would lean to the right. This is most likely setup but one that would not be symmetrical.
2) Play James Milner as a direct replacement for Nasri. Milner tends to play wider than Nasri but is not an out-and-out winger. Milner could also be played in a similar role on the right, and Silva would in this scenario also be pushed left. Pellegrini however seems to have fallen in love with the idea of Milner as a second half substitute who can be plugged into various formations regardless of game situation. While Milner has started very few Premier League games this season since missing the opening game against Newcastle, he has been an unused substitute just twice during City’s Premier League campaign.
3) Play Gaël Clichy at left-back pushing Alexsander Kolarov into the midfield where he can play as a hybrid winger. This is the most radical idea of all, but it is the one Pellegrini used to great impact in the second half of Wednesday’s FA Cup 3rd Round replay versus Blackburn. Kolarov lacks the pace to be an out-and-out winger, but can push inside slightly as he did against Blackburn delivering his patented left-footed crosses into the area for City’s strikers.
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