Julian Alvarez may be unfortunate to have come to Manchester City at the same time with Erling Haaland who is grabbing all the headlines as the top goal scorer not just for Manchester City but for the Premier League. But he has not failed to put everyone on notice of his quality and ability to contribute significantly when given the opportunity.
That’s not surprising, given the Argentine’s exploits in his boyhood club before moving to England. He would have continued right from where he left off if given the chance to feature regularly in his new club.
But the 22-year-old has been confined to only six league starts for the season, coming from the bench to see out games on all other occasions he has featured. Yet, he has made an impact whenever given enough time on the pitch, scoring in three of his last four league starts.
Pep Guardiola understands just how valuable the player is to the team. The Catalan boss has extolled his virtues and strengths on several occasions making it clear that he is an important member of the team.
After failing to win in any of the last five games heading to the match against Bournemouth over the weekend, Guardiola elected to start his two strikers at the Vitality Stadium. Starring alongside Erling Haaland, the South American did not disappoint. He was on the score sheet to help the team secure a much-needed victory.
“He plays so quick. When he plays behind Haaland we know we have one player in the box all the time. He scored two goals. First goal he moved in the right pocket and scored in the far post, he is always there. The second goal, the fourth for the team he was there so we need an extra man in the 18 yard box that is why it is so important. It helps Erling to score goals too,” Guardiola said of the forward after the game.
It’s interesting that the manager not only praises Alvarez for his own quality and output but also commends him for helping Haaland to be better. He remains a vital part of the team and could make the difference in important games as the team approaches the business end of the season.
Still involved in three competitions, Manchester City will need all the players at their best to end the campaign strongly. With strong opposition expected in the title race and the Champions League, it’s in those difficult matches that will define the season that Alvarez could step up to be the unlikely hero. Just as his contributions for Argentina were crucial to winning the World Cup.