Losing to Olympique Lyonnais in the last 16 of the Europa League is hardly the ideal way to spend your birthday week, and spending the big day watching your triumphant opponents draw Besiktas in the quarter-final can’t have been great either. With Roma now out of European competition, they’ll have to make sure they don’t spend the rest of the season looking over their shoulders as others chase them for Champions League qualification.
Edin Dzeko will be important for that run-in. After a poor season last year, he seems to have found his form again: 20 goals in 28 Serie A appearances so far this season is top form, with 30 goals in all competitions.
In fact, the Bosnian is well on course to make this the most prolific season of his career, even at the age of 31.
In 2009, he was part of the Wolfsburg side that won the Bundesliga in what proved to Dzeko’s breakthrough season. His 36 goals in all competitions that season meant that he scored two more goals in that one title-winning year in Germany than he had in his entire professional career up until that point.
When he’s on form, he’s on form, it seems.
Often seen as a “super sub” during his time in England, Dzeko’s contributions to Manchester City’s title wins whilst he was at the club are difficult to understate. Important goals coming off the bench were enough to clinch the Blues’ narrow title triumphs, but the name he was stuck with always rankled with the Bosnian: “I will never be a super sub. I want to play,” he told The Guardian.
His attitude as well as his importance during a fruitful period for City are what make him a cult hero at the Etihad. Rarely complaining as well as coming off the bench to score vital goals is the stuff that cult heroes are made of, but when it comes to Dzeko, it’s clear that his best form comes when he’s getting games.
Last season, Roma fans were wondering just what their club has wasted their money on, but the Bosnian has bitten back with a hatful of goals. Not a super sub, but a regular starter who can be relied upon to score. Even though they’re out of Europe, eight goals in eight European appearances prove that.
It’s a shame that Dzeko had to play second fiddle to the likes of Sergio Aguero for so long at City. What City lost in his prolific scoring they gained in his willingness to work for the cause, but Roma are starting to see the goals flow in. And when they do for Dzeko, they’re hard to stop. Maybe City missed a trick here.