Why Stevan Jovetic Is Under Most Pressure for Man City After Win at Newcastle

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Why Stevan Jovetic Is Under Most Pressure for Man City After Win at Newcastle
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
It can be a lonely feeling to feature and not produce at Manchester City.

Stevan Jovetic is under the most pressure of any Sky Blue who played in Manchester City's nervy 2-0 win at St James' Park because he did not score or factor into either City goal.

Yes, that sounds completely ridiculous. We can agree on that. The idea that an industrious striker like Jovetic, who took five shots without putting one on goal, could already be under pressure after a win seems implausible.

But this is the reality of playing for a club like Manchester City. Opportunities for players who are not demonstrably among the best 14 or 15 men on the roster come infrequently and must be converted when they arrive.

Jovetic entered this season as the presumptive third striker behind Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko while Alvaro Negredo nurses both an injury and a months-long goalless streak. City boss Manuel Pellegrini gave Jovetic a rare Premier League start against Newcastle alongside Dzeko with Aguero not fully fit.

It was clear from Jovetic's play that he knew all of this. The Montenegrin striker played with energy and desire and seemed on the verge all afternoon of creating a chance or finding the net himself.

As the match wore on, though, Jovetic began to press the action. On more than one occasion Jovetic had the ball in the attacking third with teammates in support only to desperately wheel toward Newcastle's goal and fire wildly. After one such misplay, Jovetic turned to the City touchline to acknowledge his error.

You really cannot fault Jovetic for such selfishness, though. Dzeko's place is secure, so when he corralled Yaya Toure's long ball and beautifully back-heeled it to David Silva for City's first goal (eschewing a scoring chance for himself) it was altruism born of no pressure to score to justify his place in the XI.

Stu Forster/Getty Images
Jovetic occasionally took on more than he could carry in trying to make his mark against Newcastle.

Jovetic has no such assurances, and seeing Sergio Aguero score during an 11-minute cameo at the end of the match surely did Jovetic's spirit little good. Aguero's goal, which really came from nothing, smacked of the Argentine tacitly instructing Jovetic that "this is how it's done."

City's next match is a Monday night spectacle with Liverpool at the Etihad. If Aguero is fit, he will almost surely start instead of Jovetic. Certainly Dzeko did nothing against Newcastle to lose his starting spot.

And so it goes for Jovetic, who through little fault of his own saw his prolific summer of scoring dissipate like smoke in a stiff breeze in 73 minutes.

None of this is intended as an indictment of Jovetic or an obituary for his chances to contribute at City this season. Neither Aguero nor Negredo is the healthiest footballer you have ever seen. Jovetic will have more chances in 2014-15.

Still, it has to be sort of a miserable feeling for Jovetic to know that if he plays and does not score, City's constellation of stars is such that he could find himself buried on the depth chart and largely forgotten as he was last season.

City have played one match and won one match. But Jovetic could be excused for coming away from that match feeling as though he lost something he may not soon have a chance to regain.

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