Manchester City fans will have had their heads in their hands as news of Sergio Aguero’s injury on international duty for Argentina filtered back to the Etihad Stadium, in a nightmare scenario.
The South American hitman has proven himself as one of the most lethal centre forwards in the English game over recent years and is the clinical element of a star-studded City attack. With Aguero now set to be on the sidelines for some time and miss a host of important games, Manuel Pellegrini must bring others into play to deputise for the former Atletico Madrid star.
The man most likely to get the nod for the Premier League title hopefuls this weekend against Bournemouth is Wilfried Bony.
The Ivory Coast international joined the Citizens in January, making a big-money move to the Etihad Stadium after wholeheartedly impressing for Swansea. The African powerhouse’s arrival marked the end of the line for a number of other City forwards, with Stevan Jovetic, Edin Dzeko and John Guidetti deemed surplus to requirements ahead of the new campaign.
However, with only two Premier League goals to his name since moving north to Manchester. and largely having to play second fiddle to Aguero in the Chilean trainer’s 4-2-3-1 formation, Bony will be glad of the chance to play.
The former Vitesse Arnhem hotshot recently admitted that the last nine months have been the worst of his career, with the bustling forward forced to bide his time, be patient and make do with a bit-part role due to Aguero’s presence. However, with no other real alternatives for Pellegrini to select except to play a false nine as the furthest man forward, Bony looks likely to get the string of games that he so craves over the next month.
His presence will certainly change City’s style of play to some degree, with the former Swansea man a completely different centre forward than Aguero in the way he operates in the number nine role.
That said, with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Yaya Toure, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva, if he is fit, to provide chances for the African, it still looks like a mouthwatering proposition for the City fans.
Bony has proven wherever he has played that he can score consistently and has all the weaponry to continue to do so at City. What he will find however is that there is little room for error at the top level of the game and if he does not fully convince over the coming weeks he could well be back in a fringe role for the foreseeable future.
Dzeko showed that he was capable of scoring relatively consistently over his time at City and played a significant role in the club’s first-ever Premier League title success. However, the Bosnia and Herzegovina international was still allowed to head off to Roma this summer, showing that there is no room for nostalgia or complacency in a team with the lofty ambitions City have.
As such, Bony must take this opportunity with two hands. With a sizeable price tag to justify and the expectation of a team that demands nothing other than first place, it is a hefty challenge for the big striker.