By Chris Harris
Samir Nasri is getting stronger and growing in confidence with every game, according to Arsène Wenger.
The French international was one of the stars of Arsenal's win over Burnley on Saturday, setting up the opening goal for Cesc Fabregas with a deft chipped pass and then taking over the captain's creative mantle after he succumbed to a hamstring injury before half-time.
It's easy to forget that Nasri missed the first two months of the season with a broken leg sustained at last summer's training camp in Austria, but he has found his form in recent weeks and could deputise for Fabregas when Porto visit Emirates Stadium on Tuesday. Wenger is convinced Nasri has the talent and temperament to handle the occasion.
"He is the same as Cesc, 22-years-old so very young," said the manager. "But he has adapted very quickly. He is a very intelligent boy, a quiet boy. He analyses what is happening on the pitch very quickly. He has good technical potential.
"He is very versatile too. He can play defensive midfield, attacking midfield and on the flanks. We have a few players like that and I love that.
"Nasri started with a fibula fracture at the start of the season and after two months it took him a while to get back to his best. But in the last few weeks he has got stronger and more confidence."
The Frenchman's run into form is perfectly timed as they try to maintain their European dream without Fabregas. Nasri revelled in his central role against Burnley and Wenger admits his compatriot would like to play there more.
"If you ask any player where he wants to play, they will say in the middle," said Wenger. "He is happy to play there but I believe with the pace he has he can play on the flanks as well."Copyright 2014 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 8 Mar 2010