Stevan Jovetic made his return to Manchester City’s team after a long absence in Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over West Ham in the League Cup semifinal second leg. While most of the headlines around the game were centered around Manchester City’s 18-year old Marcos Lopes whose performance was simply scintillating, Jovetic’s return to first-team action after a long absence was probably the most important takeaway from the game.
Having made a £22million move to Manchester City from Fiorentina last summer, he created two goals on his debut in a friendly in Munich against AC Milan. But after that initial splash, his first competitive matches were marked by ineffective performances. Then came the mysterious injuries that kept compounding right at the time when the club was going through an injury crisis.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini hopes he can integrate Jovetic into a rotation. Manchester City has played at least two games a week since the middle of November thanks to the club’s continued presence in four competitions. Last month, the manager’s comments about Edin Dzeko not being sold in January was attributed by some to Jovetic. But the reality is that Manchester City’s fixture congestion means no player will be sold unless the circumstance is absolutely correct. The Montenegrin star Jovetic and Dzeko are both going to get plenty of games even as Jovetic continues to settle in English football.
Samir Nasri’s long-term injury shook up the title race and gave Pellegrini the impetus to experiment both by starting the teenager Lopes against West Ham and by pushing Alexsander Kolarov into the midfield in a FA Cup Third Round replay against Blackburn.
But ultimately it might be Jovetic who can provide the attacking spark the Blues have lost due to Nasri’s injury. With the Blues facing Watford in the FA Cup Fourth Round on Saturday, Pellegrini has another chance to bring his Montenegrin marksman back into the fold.
The potential of Jovetic is immense and if he does come good, it will be like a new signing for the Blues in the heart of the title race. The on-the-ball skill he possesses is one attribute missing in the Blues other three strikers, and something that just further enhances the club’s mouthwatering attack. Stevan Jovetic is Manchester City’s own response to Chelsea two huge January signings of Mohamed Salah and Nemanja Matić.
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