The Arsenal Gunners of the English Premier Football League have a couple of Muslims contributing greatly this year, and chief amongst them is French-Algerian forward Samir Nasri. Nasri generally plays as a winger for Arsenal, but has been playing in the central midfield in recent weeks in the absence of injured Spanish captain Cesc FÃ bregas. The 23-year-old has scored 11 goals in all competitions this year, including 8 goals in Premiership contests. Most recently he contributed both goals in a 2-1 victory over Fulham that sent Arsenal to the top of the Premiership standings.
Nasri credits a calmer approach in the field of play, and an overall increase in maturity with his new-found scoring prowess. He told The Telegraph, â€œWhen Iâ€™m in front of a goalkeeper I am more relaxed now. Before I felt too much pressure to score, I wanted it too much maybe. Now I donâ€™t worry as much. Iâ€™m more at ease in the game and Iâ€™m not just looking for goals, Iâ€™m looking to work for the team. I think Iâ€™m more mature in my football game. I think more with my head.â€
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has seen Nasriâ€™s talent all along. â€œMany people questioned me when I took him here but he is showing that he is an exceptional talent and I think there is more to come from him,â€ he told The Telegraph. And now the club is rewarding their new star with a new 5 year contract that will make him a true member of the teamâ€™s inner circle.
During Nasriâ€™s younger years playing for the French club Marseille, his playmaking abilities earned him comparisons to French football legend Zinedine Zidane, a fellow French-Algerian. And Nasri even was dubbed the â€œFrench Pele.â€ But his development seemed to stall in recent years after moving to Arsenal. And his low point came when he was left off of the 2010 French World Cup Team. So perhaps Samir has turned the corner in his football growth, and mental growth, and if so, Arsenal, French football, and the sporting Ummah, will all be the beneficiaries.