Can Man City’s Stevan Jovetic cover Aguero absence against Chelsea?
Manchester City have scored 115 goals in all competitions with striking trio Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo contributing around two-thirds of that staggering total.
Chelsea visit the Etihad on Monday, knowing their defence will spared the test of Manuel Pellegrini’s leading man Aguero as he will miss most of February with a hamstring problem.
It will not be the first time City have had to cope without their lethal Argentine either. Wednesday’s 5-1 away thumping of Tottenham Hotspur marked the first Premier League start Aguero made in more than a month after missing the Christmas period with a calf injury.
He limped off late in the first half with his latest setback after scoring the opener and the fourth and forgotten Etihad frontman Stevan Jovetic came on to deputise.
Calf and hamstring injuries have hampered the start of Montenegro star Jovetic’s City career. These struggles have happened very much in the background, however, as Pellegrini has his team laying waste to all comers.
During previous Aguero layoffs Pellegrini has paired six-footers Dzeko and Negredo together in attack, but now he has a selection choice on his hands. Jovetic is fit and also broke his Premier League duck as a substitute against Spurs.
There was enough in his performance then to suggest he could score again against London opposition in the form of Jose Mourinho’s Blues. Jovetic is great value at 15/8 to score anytime against Chelsea.
At 24 years old, his best years still lie ahead of him. Jovetic already has 30 caps for Montenegro and a dozen goals for the former Yugoslav nation. Taking over the goal burden from Aguero would undoubtedly be a major challenge for him because he is simply nothing like as prolific.
Jovetic netted 13 goals for Serie A side Fiorentina last term, but Aguero outscored him in all competitions despite an injury-hit campaign.
Despite the stop-start nature of his first season in England, Jovetic has three goals from eight appearances and two from three starts. His general play at White Hart Lane was really encouraging as he helped to win the corner from which City completed the scoring too.
Jovetic can also rise to the big match occasion. He bagged a Champions League brace when Liverpool visited Florence in the 2009 group stage.
Jovetic’s goal against Tottenham may have taken a deflection on its way past Hugo Lloris, but his presence in the hole behind Bosnian frontman Dzeko worked. The gap between midfield and attack has hardly been a problem for Pellegrini this term because of Ivorian powerhouse Yaya Toure, yet this tactic deployed again may add an extra dimension.
It must be tempting for the City coach to match Chelsea’s 4-2-3-1 formation. Jovetic would be a perfect fit for the middle of the advanced midfield trio, allowing Toure to still support from deep, with Fernandinho sitting. He might even drag Blues defenders out of position.
City have beaten the other Premier League heavyweights at home this term and are odds on at 5/6 to do the same to Mourinho’s men. What part Jovetic could play in this match remains to be seen.