Negredo Injury Leaves Pressure on Dzeko and Jovetic to Deliver for Man City

Rob Pollard@@RobPollard_Featured ColumnistJuly 21, 2014

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JULY 18: Alvaro Negredo of Manchester City before the pre-season friendly at Tynecastle Stadium on July 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Richard Sellers/Getty Images)
Richard Sellers/Getty Images

Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo has fractured his metatarsal and faces “a few months” on the sidelines, according to the player’s Instagram (via BBC Sport).

Negredo, who sustained the injury in Friday’s friendly match with Hearts at Tynecastle, won’t be joining his teammates on their US tour as he looks to recover as quickly as possible from the setback.

Negredo wrote:

I want to let you know that its going to be hard for the next few months. I fractured my 5th metatarsal and will be out a few months.

I will be back stronger than ever. I will return with a vengeance.


Quiero deciros que van a ser unos meses muy duros para mi, ya que sufro una rotura del 5º metatarsiano…

— Álvaro Negredo 9 (@_AlvaroNegredo_) July 21, 2014


It leaves City looking slightly thin in terms of their goalscoring options, with the main burden of finding the net falling on Sergio Aguero, a player who has struggled for fitness since the turn of the year.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 15: Sergio Aguero of Argentina controls the ball against Sead Kolasinac of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group F match between Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina at Maracana on June 15, 2014 in Ri
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

He was playing superbly at the start of last season and only missed one of the first 16 league games, but two long periods out saw his form understandably suffer.

He missed five league games after suffering an injury against Arsenal in City’s 6-3 home win, but he returned and instantly hit the goalscoring trail again. However, a hamstring injury in the 5-1 win away at Tottenham at the end of January, after a first half in which the Argentine was outstanding, saw him missing again until mid-April.

His form never really recovered to the level he had shown pre-Spurs, but he still managed 28 goals from 34 games in all competitions, demonstrating what a fine player he is.

He made five appearances at this summer’s World Cup but appeared to still be suffering from his injury-ravaged campaign in the Premier League at City, and in an ideal world, the goalscoring burden wouldn’t be laid so squarely at his feet going into this campaign.

That leaves pressure on Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic to deliver.

Dzeko cut a frustrated figure for the first half of last season, yet he emerged as the club’s main striker after the turn of the year, contributing some vitally important goals that were significant in City reclaiming the Premier League title.

He scored 26 in all competitions—including 16 in the league alone—and led the line well for much of the final few months. When others were wilting because of issues with form and fitness, Dzeko proved he could handle the pressure and continue scoring goals when the stakes were high. His goals at Crystal Palace and Everton, as well as at home to Villa, were hugely important in securing the title.

AL AIN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MAY 15:  Stevan Jovetic of Manchester City in action during the friendly match between Al Ain and Manchester City at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on May 15, 2014 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Ima
Warren Little/Getty Images

And then there’s Stevan Jovetic, a player who struggled to make too much of an impact in his first season at City. He made just 13 league appearances because of a series of niggling muscle injuries and only scored three goals. However, that only tells half the tale.

Every time Jovetic did manage to play, he looked excellent. He’s bright and inventive, has wonderful vision and is brave in possession, always looking to try something bold when he gets hold of the ball.

He only managed to string three consecutive league appearances together twice all season, and he missed three full months from October to January. It was a nightmare season in many ways, but his flashes of brilliance have left observers convinced that, should he put his miserable injury record behind him, he can assert himself as a star of this City team and fulfill his reputation as one of the finest young players in the world.

Negredo's injury leaves City looking somewhat short of what's needed up front for them to comfortably claim they are favourites to defend their title, particularly with the improvements Chelsea have made to their squad, but if Dzeko and Jovetic can start the season wellwhich, for different reasons, neither did last seasonthe Spaniard's loss would barely be felt at all.


Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2014-15 season. Follow him on Twitter here: @RobPollard_