Sergio Aguero’s injury over the international break will have come as a crushing blow to Manchester City, especially after his five goals last time out against Newcastle United.
However it provides Wilfried Bony with the opportunity to final establish himself as a leading City player in Aguero’s approximate month long absence.
Much has been said about the Ivorian striker since his £28million move from Swansea City in January, and he has garnered many critics among City fans.
However there have been enough signs that Bony may yet step up as City’s main man if given the opportunity over this period.
His record on signing from Swansea was exceptional, bagging 26 goals in 54 Premier League games and 35 in 70 games in all competitions, and he was the top Premier League goal scorer in the calendar year of 2014.
It was thought he would improve on these figures at City, backed by an array of creative talent, but he only has two goals and two assists from 19 Manchester City games so far.
Much of his time at City has been either coming off the bench, or when he does start he often finds himself subbed off, meaning he’s had just 639 minutes on the pitch.
That equates to a goal every 319.5 minutes, and a goal or assist just under every 160 minutes, a much more respectable record.
In his six Premier League appearances so far this season, four of them were off the bench, and he was subbed off in the two he did start, contributing one assist in the process, meaning his time on the pitch this season is just 215 minutes.
Bony has also had his fair share of bad luck since arriving at the Etihad which has stopped him from properly settling at the club.
Players signed in the January transfer window can often find it difficult to settle in their new team, which is emphasised in Bony’s case by his participation in the African Cup of Nations until February 8.
It seems a logical suggestion that Bony was bought as a partner to Aguero in a 4-4-2, however City’s poor form at the start of the New Year meant Manuel Pellegrini quickly adopted having just one striker.
It was then hoped by staff and fans alike at the Etihad that this season Bony would make his mark on the City side.
However a pre-season blighted by illness meant he missed the Citizens’ tours of Australia and Vietnam, ensuring he started the season with little match practice.
With only youngster Kelechi Iheanacho for competition during this time, unless Pellegrini opts to use the likes of Raheem Sterling out of position, Bony has a real chance to establish himself, and serious questions will be asked if he fails to do so.
With the Manchester derby on the horizon next week, there has never been a better time for Bony to step up in a period which may make-or-break his City career.
Image courtesy of MCFC via YouTube, with thanks.