By Chris Harris
Samir Nasri's early-season form has been a big bonus for Arsène Wenger.
The French midfielder has netted three times in six starts since his summer move from Marseilles and has developed a happy knack of scoring important goals. Nasri grabbed the winner against West Brom on the opening day of the season, broke the deadlock in the Champions League qualifier against FC Twente and, on Saturday, kick-started a second-half comeback against Everton with a rasping drive from the edge of the box.
Wenger has been pleasantly surprised by his compatriot's contribution. After all, even the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry needed time before asserting themselves in English football.
"I didn’t count Nasri in here for the first six months of the season, like I do for everybody we buy at such a young age," admitted Wenger.
"When you look at the impact he had already here you can say he’s ahead of what I planned for him.
"He’s 21, goes from France to England, and I must say I’m quite pleased with his attitude and his performances. He’s doing extremely well and he is already becoming an important player for us and that is why you do not want him to get injured."
Wenger's last remark was in response to a question over Nasri's fitness record. The 21-year-old missed a significant chunk of last season at Marseilles and sat out most of September after picking up a knee problem while on international duty. Nasri finished Saturday's win over Everton with a minor knock but Wenger is not concerned over his new signing's injury history.
"He missed games for different reasons last year," explained Wenger. "He had viral meningitis last year, you cannot say that you are afraid [for him] because of that."Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 20 Oct 2008