A pivotal time for Edin Dzeko

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01: Edin Dzeko of Manchester City challenges Robert Green of Queens Park Rangers during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers at Etihad Stadium on September 1, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

How often do the fingers of fate play a part in presenting an opportunity?

Having spent much of the summer with his name being the most prominently featured in terms of departures from the club, Edin Dzeko - who started way down the pecking order - suddenly finds himself with an opportunity to stake a claim to be a truly central part of Roberto Mancini's future plans.

Who knows, if Robin Van Persie had decided his career lay in the blue, rather than the red, half of Manchester then Dzeko may already have been plying his trade in Serie A or back in the Bundesliga.

But with the opening day injury to Sergio Aguero, ongoing fitness concerns of John Guidetti and the latest in Mario Balotelli's eventful career Dzeko now finds himself thrust back into centre stage. With one start and having featured in all three games do far Dzeko has netted twice and been involved in ten scoring chances.

Aguero may well be edging towards a return to training but Dzeko will surely get the games immediately after the international break given the lack of alternatives (unless Mancini opts for the less likely option of Tevez as a lone striker) available.

It is not overstating matters to suggest these are pivotal times for the Bosnian, who has experienced a mixed eighteen months or so at the club. At times a devastating presence (the four goal performance at White Hart Lane) to reprise his very best Bundesliga form, but at other times an awkward and lethargic presence, unsure of touch and out of synch with teammates around him.

What Dzeko does bring though is something different to the squad in terms of that presence as a central leading striker with size. As it stands - and we know Mancini is high on the untested Guidetti - Dzeko is the only player for this role, the totem figure the waspish Tevez, dynamic Yaya Toure and the skilled technicians of Silva of Nasri can work around (evidenced by his scoring chance numbers); players who also lend Dzeko a less aesthetic look.

Mario Balotelli of course featured in this role for Italy in Euro 2012 to good success and it may be that he was earmarked for this role, yet the feeling persists that he may not have fully earned the trust of Mancini and is yet to really move inside from his wider attacking position.

Furthermore, for a his faults and criticisms about his style he does score goals. Often when analysing players it is easy to focus on what players can't do, rather than what they can do. In one of shuddertothink's summer posts looking back at 2011/12 we can see that Dzeko ranks well alongside the other strikers at the club and beyond; not just in terms of goals scored but when goals were scores, their relative importance to the game and quite how high his conversion rate is. Already this season we have seen Dzeko grab goals at opportune times.


The concern from Dzeko's perspective is that he may not be in possession of the shirt for too long. Even the most ardent Dzeko fan will concede that he does blow hot and cold in terms of runs of form. The trio of Aguero, Balotelli and Guidetti will all be back sooner rather than later and the feeling persists that Mancini still has his eyes on a striker, with rumours surfacing once again linking Falcao with a January move.

For now though, Dzeko has an opportunity. We know City have the ‘core' players - Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, David Silva and Sergio Aguero - who Mancini routinely turns to. We can maybe now add Carlos Tevez to that list given his form and for Dzeko to try and cement his future at the club it is something he may not be able to afford to miss.

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