It’s been an interesting international break so far for the Blues, with a frightening amount of injuries sandwiched in between some promising displays for those with ties to Manchester City.
Here are some thoughts on the break and how things are shaping up for when Manuel Pellegrini’s men return to action.
Hatrick of injuries
The ‘Typical City’ tag will always remain with City even in the club’s most triumphant times and seemingly won’t go away. Another instance of City syndrome came in the last few days when a trio of City players suffered injuries whilst playing with their respective national sides. Sergio Aguero was first to go and is now expected to miss up to 8 weeks with what is said to be a ‘grade 2 muscle tear’. Even worse, David Silva limped off for Spain against Luxembourg and now Aleksandar Kolarov has joined the list after pulling up for Serbia, before getting sent off for protesting a decision from the bench.
It’s scary just how many injuries City are suffering from. Silva aside, the injuries are muscle injuries – something that the Blues have been plagued by this season. When you see that Delph, Kompany, Nasri and others are sidelined at the moment too, things don’t look so rosy for City.
Of course we are all hoping that things aren’t as severe as first feared on the injury front but it’s still incredibly frustrating how injuries are really stunting City’s progress – especially after a wonderful second half performance against Newcastle.
De Bruyne builds on fine form
I think most City fans will agree with me when I say I’ve not been this excited about a new signing for a long time. Even before he put pen to paper, the hype was there. But he has delievered on the pitch and looks worth even penny despite his steep £50 million price tag. His contribution has been immense, brimming with flair and creativity but bringing a real work ethic to the team – as much as Jose Mourinho would like to think otherwise.
We were all aware of his great assist stats from his time at Wolfsburg, but his work rate has been a real positive.
Yet undoubtedly what has pleased City fans so much is the amount of goals he is scoring so soon into his City career. The 24-year old bagged against West Ham, Sunderland, Tottenham and Newcastle – before building on his fine start with a deft free-kick for Belgium in their Euro qualifier against Andorra.
May the Belgian continue to be amongst the goals when he’s back playing in sky blue.
Zabaleta to get a run in the side?
Bacary Sagna has been in formidable form for City this season – to the point where Pablo Zabaleta, unusually, wasn’t missed a great deal. He did however put in a strong display upon his return to the side against Newcastle but that’s not mean he will permanently displace Sagna in the side.
However, with Gael Clichy still not fit, and Aleksandar Kolarov suffering an injury in the international break, the fan favourite could be set for a run in the side – in the left side of defence.
‘Zaba’ has played there before, notably in the 2010/11 season where City famously ended a 35-year wait for a trophy by lifting the FA Cup. As we know, he’s a versatile player and would slot in with relative ease.
I could see him carrying out an Azpilicueta-type role by filling in at left-back while City wait for the injury crisis to die down. He would be a solid and reliable option for crucial games against Sevilla and United.
A much-needed rest for Yaya Toure
One man who wasn’t involved in national team commitments this week is Yaya Toure, who was not included in the Ivory Coast’s latest squad and is currently considering his international future with the Elephants.
After a stunning 2013/14 season, Toure underachieved hugely and struggled to get going last season – with the World Cup hangover and tragic death of his brother leaving him mentally and physically exhausted.
This season he has looked closer to his usual standards at times but a couple of niggling injuries has stunted him significantly. He was subbed off in games against Spurs and Gladbach and not involved for the 6-1 drubbing of Newcastle.
A break from the strains of regular football should serve him well and allow him to recharge his batteries for an important set of fixtures. Here’s hoping he recovers his normal performance levels and make an impact on his return to the fold.