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Nasri could make shock return for crucial Chelsea and Barca battles

Press reports claim that Manchester City playmaker Samir Nasri is in line for a surprise return from injury in the upcoming FA Cup fifth round home titans clash with Chelsea.

The Frenchman, who has been out with a knee injury for the past five weeks – sustained in the match against Newcastle United in January – could make an unexpected comeback in the crucial fixture at the Etihad on February 15th. Back City to win the game at 23/20.

With City due to play Barcelona just three days later in the last 16 of the Champions League, they will need all the help they can get. Manuel Pellegrini will be delighted that his world class midfielder Yaya Toure is available after being cleared by the FA for his kick on Ricky van Wolfswinkel, but they are still without leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero.

Originally, it was said that Nasri would be out for around eight weeks, but his possible early return would give the Citizens a real boost as they will be looking to field a slightly different side to that of their match against Barca.

The 26-year-old has contributed with five goals and seven assists in all competitions for the club this season so far, and in his 13 matches prior to his injury that he played in, his side won 12 and drew just once.

However, in the four league games since, they have managed just two wins, including the most recent home defeat against Chelsea and 0-0 draw away to Norwich. It is obvious that City are missing Nasri’s creativity.

Two consecutive games without a goal has clearly coincided with the absences of Nasri and Aguero, but the final three months of the season are crucial if the Sky Blues want to win silverware.

They are still in all four competitions, including the Capital One Cup final against Sunderland on March 2nd where they are priced odds-on to win at 1/6. They also lie third in the league and three points of the top, with a game in hand. Back them at 11/10 favourites to reclaim their Premier League title.

Ahead of the midweek Champions League tie with Barcelona, Nasri said: “I’ve missed a month-and-a-half of competition, but it’s allowed me to recharge my batteries.

“With City, we’re still in four competitions with the aim of winning them and in the Champions League, we are going to have an exciting game against Barca,” he added.

“For me, they are more beatable than in the past and personally, I think we can knock them out. If our injured players are back, with a full team, I think we can beat them.”