The 28-year-old midfielder marked his first start in nearly seven months with the winning goal in Saturday's 2-1 victory over the Baggies.
Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri made a timely return to the starting XI on Saturday night, scoring the game-winning goal as his side came from behind to beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
The 28-year-old Frenchman has been sidelined for the majority of the season after undergoing hamstring surgery in November, but after making his comeback as a 66th-minute substitute in last weekend’s 4-0 win at Bournemouth, he was handed his first start in almost seven months for the visit of West Brom and proceeded to reward Manuel Pellgrini’s faith in him with an impactful performance.
The Baggies took the lead after just six minutes of the match when Stephane Sessegnon beat Joe Hart at his near post with a stunning strike, but the Benin international then brought down Aleksandar Kolarov in the area 13 minutes later to allow Sergio Aguero to equalise from the spot.
City went on to find what proved to be the deciding goal midway through the second half, as Nasri pounced on a blocked Aguero shot to tuck home his second strike of the season and secure Pellegrini’s side all three points.
The ex-Arsenal man was infamously omitted from City’s Champions League squad in February at the expense of Kelechi Iheanacho, but his manager was full of praise for him at the final whistle after seeing him give the club’s top four hopes a huge boost.
“It’s very strange to have six months out with a muscle injury but he worked very well to come back,” Pellegrini told City’s official website. “He returned sooner than the doctors expected so I was very impressed that he could play the full 90 minutes with so many months without playing.
“He’s a very important player and I’m very happy for him today.”
City are now just two points behind third-placed Arsenal after Saturday’s victory, but judging by the reaction on Twitter to Nasri’s performance, a significant number of fans believe they would be above the Gunners if the fit-again midfielder had been available for the whole season.
Not pleased with how we played today but I'm so proud of Nasri. I'm glad he's back #MCFC— TheRedCapesAreComing (@HeyMissBarker) April 9, 2016
Only two good things from that game, Nasri and 3pts. #MCFC— Stephen_Doherty (@stephenjd47) April 9, 2016
Nasri should have replaced either Bony or that wasteful Demichelis spot in the CL squad. #MCFC— Dzul Zaba (@Dzulqhayril) April 9, 2016
Nasri what a player. I think Pep see a future for Nasri in the club. #mcfc— HilPark (@Hill_Park) April 9, 2016
A hard fought win. Pleased for Nasri to score. He was class today. #MCFC— matthew shedden (@shedlemon) April 9, 2016
Last summer I was sure Nasri was going to leave. Possibly our most underrated player. Forgot how good he can be. #mcfc— Gamer Borg (@GAMERBORG) April 9, 2016
Nasri superb on first start back, wanted the ball throughout, never stopped. #MCFC— Tone MCFC (@MCFCTone) April 9, 2016
Said a couple of weeks ago how much we were missing Nasri #mcfc— Ashley Goddard (@ashg_mcfc) April 9, 2016