It’s strange to think that Samir Nasri, artistic playmaker, and James Milner, determined workhorse, cost Manchester City roughly the same amount of money, depending on one’s valuation of Stephen Ireland in the Milner swap deal. But although Nasri is the more talented footballer, Milner was excellent against Arsenal last weekend, and deserves to keep his place for the home match against Fulham.
Milner simply offers balance and variety when City attack; whereas Nasri is broadly a similar player to David Silva, Milner’s more direct and determined with his running. His opener at the Emirates came from the type of run Nasri simply wouldn’t make, in behind the defence, and with Milner and Silva on either side, there’s more variety when City have possession, which makes them trickier to defend against.
Nasri’s role at City has never truly been clear; at Arsenal he briefly thrived as a goalscoring midfielder, while Laurent Blanc encouraged him to dribble with the ball, and beat opponents. At City he simply seems another passer, with no unique role in the side.
Milner’s also better defensively, which could be an important factor against Fulham left-back John Arne Riise. The veteran Norweigan has been linked with a move away from Fulham this week, after reports of a bust-up with manager Martin Jol, but it now appears his future will be at Craven Cottage. The alternative is Kieran Richardson, another player who offers an attacking threat. Either way, it is Milner, rather than Nasri, who is more likely to protect Pablo Zabaleta.
This post courtesy of Pick Our Team is by Michael Cox. PickOurTeam is a new type of football community giving fans an opportunity to have a meaningful say on the formation and selection of their team. PickOurTeam is the voice of the fans – collecting views on who should play where and ratings on how the players, manager, and referee perform each week. Every match the findings are compiled and presented back to the fans. The article was originally posted here.