Yaya Toure's Unusual Scoring Knack Key to Manchester City's Premier League Hopes

Phil KeidelContributor IIMarch 27, 2014

Yaya Toure has celebrated many goals this season, to City's relief and joy.
Yaya Toure has celebrated many goals this season, to City's relief and joy.Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Last July, Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail wrote at length about Manchester City's acquisitions of Alvaro Negredo, Stevan Jovetic and Jesus Navas.

Negredo and Jovetic are strikers. Navas is a speedy winger renowned for creating chances for strikers with his pace and passing.

Wheeler's report on these signings noted that they "will beef up an attack that already includes Silva—who is reporting back for pre-season after Confederations Cup duty with Spain—Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, Samir Nasri, James Milner and Scott Sinclair."

You can now count the remaining Premier League matches on City's slate with both hands (less one thumb). City's leading scorer in league action has yet to be mentioned in the body of this piece.

Midfield powerhouse Yaya Toure leads City in Premier League goals this season with 17. Not Aguero (15), not Dzeko (10), not Negredo (nine).

Despite a proliferation of elite striking talent and so many other big names, it is the veteran Toure who has carried the greatest goalscoring burden for the Sky Blues this season.

Would Aguero have more league goals had he not missed nearly half the starts? Probably. Would Dzeko have more league goals if he were not manager Manuel Pellegrini's third choice? Almost certainly.

But those caveats sort of miss the point. Toure is able to lead a potent City side in scoring because Toure is seemingly always there.

Toure has been more reliable than death or taxes for City this season.
Toure has been more reliable than death or taxes for City this season.Alex Livesey/Getty Images

City have played 29 league matches. Toure has started 28 of them.

Unlike headline grabbing diva strikers who like to pad their statistics against garbage opposition, Toure has scored crucial goals throughout City's season-long effort to reclaim their league title—which Manchester United has all but conceded.

Toure's scoring run began early in the season with goals in two of City's first three league matches, both of which City won. He scored in the first derby at the Etihad, a convincing City win. His brace at West Bromwich Albion largely secured that victory.

More recently, Toure scored the only goal in City's win over Stoke at the Etihad, posted a natural hat-trick against Fulham (who, yes, are sort of garbage-y themselves) and put the finishing touch on City's recent thrashing of Manchester United. Again, when Toure scores, City are just about unbeatable.

While the emphasis here is on the league goals Toure has scored, it would be a disservice to omit the goal he scored in the League Cup final at Wembley Stadium, a goal that eased City's jitters and start City's famous comeback win over Sunderland.

City are going to need more scoring from their strikers to track down Chelsea and hold off hard-charging Liverpool and lingering Arsenal to win the Premier League this season. Dzeko's brace at Old Trafford was a great start in that direction.

It has become apparent through this season, though, that City are at their most terrifying and treacherous when Toure is belting free-kicks into small spaces past opposing keepers and lunging into creases the defense leaves to convert sitters in free play.

With City's strikers alternately slowed by injury and spells of bad form, Toure has upped his goalscoring when his side needed it most.

If City somehow claim the league title this season, some of the biggest thanks will be owed to the big Ivorian.