It would be hard to argue that Sergio Aguero isn’t enjoying one of his best seasons ever.
In Manchester City’s first 15 matches of the Premier League, the 25-year-old Argentine scored 13 goals – a pace that, if extended over the entire season, would result in a 33 goal haul.
So when Aguero limped off the pitch with a calf injury in last Saturday’s 6-3 win over Arsenal, City supporters were justifiably worried.
The medical scans didn’t help to raise their spirits. Four to eight weeks is the expected timeline for the striker’s return. Just long enough to raise the chance that Aguero may not be fit to play against Barcelona in City’s Champions League last-16 tie on February 18th.
So where will City turn to replace Aguero?
When discussing the situation with the Mirror, Edin Dzeko initially played it political: “Sergio has had an amazing season, scoring a lot of goals, and he is an important player for us.”
Then, the Bosnian stud got real.
“That’s life,” he said referring to Aguero’s injury. “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.”
And by ‘a lot of players’ Dzeko means him, of course.
Yes, in case you were wondering, the 6′ 4″ striker does still play for City although he has only started a single Premier League match since September (the 3-2 win over West Brom on December 4th).
With Aguero out Dzeko was inserted back into the starting XI for Tuesday’s Capital One Cup tie with Leicester City. The Bosnian immediately proved his quality, dropping a brace in a 3-1 win over the Foxes.
Now Dzeko will be looking to make the same impact in the Premier League, and, if needed, the Champions League.
It’s an opportunity the 27-year-old has been (justifiably) fiending for.
Having played a super-sub role under Roberto Mancini’s tenure at City, Dzeko was not a happy man. When called upon, he delivered. But he made it widely known that he didn’t want people to consider him a super-sub. In his eyes, he should be a starter. And for anyone who’s watched Dzeko closely over the last few years, that’s a title he absolutely deserves.
Dzeko would be a starter at a number of Champions League clubs, problem is City have rolled deep in that position for some time now. Which is why many pundits felt Dzeko could leave the club this past summer.
But with the sacking of Mancini and the hiring of Manuel Pellegrini, Dzeko decided to stick around the Etihad and prove himself. Early on it seemed to be working as the Chilean boss started Dzeko throughout the pre-season and for the first three matches of the year.
In the third match (a 2-0 win over Hull), however, Pellegrini yanked Dzeko at halftime in favor of new-boy Alvaro Negredo. The rest is history. The Spaniard immediately fell into synch with Aguero, which pulled the curtains down on Dzeko.
But with Aguero’s injury Dzeko once again has a golden opportunity to prove himself. Will he make the most of it?
“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.”