He may have had a difficult season after losing his place in the starting line-up to Alvaro Negredo, but Edin Dzeko could be provided with an opportunity to shine over the coming weeks after Sergio Aguero’s calf injury ruled him out for at least the end of January (via the Telegraph).
Dzeko began the season as Manuel Pellegrini’s preferred option to partner Aguero, but the form of Negredo meant he was dropped, only playing fleetingly since.
He's struggled to prove himself in the games he has played, managing just three league goals in 10 appearances so far.
Some poor performances have seen him slip further away from the first team, most obviously in the recent Champions League match at home to Plzen where he looked disinterested throughout.
He scored a goal late in that match, but it failed to mask a poor performance—one which Negredo eclipsed despite only playing the last 15 minutes. Dzeko’s non-celebration and lacklustre showing suggested a player on his way out the Etihad exit door.
However, two goals and a decent performance in the recent Capital One Cup win over Leicester were timely for Dzeko and he will be hoping it thrusts him to the forefront of Pellegrini’s mind now that Aguero has been ruled out. He is a player who thrives on confidence and he must now use his cup brace to launch him to better form.
Indeed, he took his two goals on Tuesday night expertly—a downward header at the back post for the first, and an excellent first-time strike for his second.
According to a report by James Nursey in the Mirror, Dzeko is hopeful he can score whilst the Argentine is out. He said:
Sergio has had an amazing season, scoring a lot of goals, and he is an important player for us.
That's life, and now we have to try to play games without him, and try to win. This is very bad for the team but there are a lot of players who want to play.
I am happy to score two - that's my job. I hope it means I am back among the goals. When I'm playing, I'm trying always to score goals.
I am a striker that has scored goals all my life, and I love to do it. When I get a chance I try to do my best. We have a superb squad and recently have scored a lot of goals.
If Pellegrini wishes to continue playing with two out-and-out strikers in the absence of Aguero, it is Dzeko who is most likely to start. City have been scoring plenty of goals, and Pellegrini will be reluctant to make drastic changes to the formation.
The other option available to the City boss is to play David Silva just off the main striker, likely to be Negredo, with Jesus Navas and Samir Nasri out wide. That option is appealing because it sees Silva operating centrally—a position many feel best utilises City's most creative player. This option is only a slight alteration to the system Pellegrini prefers.
Dzeko's defenders point to his goalscoring record—49 in 127 games for City since his 2011 move—as reason to put him in the side, but the role of a striker requires much more than just scoring goals. The Bosnian has a tendency to give defenders an easy ride, rarely using his physicality as a way of causing the opposition problems.
Too often Dzeko follows up a good performance with a poor one, a frustrating pattern which has characterised much of his City career.
He cost the club £27 million and has rarely looked capable of justifying the fee. However, Aguero's injury may well offer him one last crack at proving his quality and earning himself a regular place in the side. He simply has to take it.