Stevan Jovetic may be risked against Burnley tomorrow, but Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is more likely to leave his one (almost) fit striker on the bench at the Etihad Stadium.
The Montenegrin was on the bench at the Hawthorns on Boxing Day, but having seen the conditions Pellegrini decided to use him only in extremis.
With City three-up after 30 minutes Jovetic was not needed, and once the snow began to swirl his chances of a run-out disappeared completely.
City having scored three apiece against Crystal Palace and West Brom while deploying James Milner at centre-forward and Pellegrini feels under no pressure to rush Jovetic back and risk a new injury, especially with Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko still out.
Manchester City injury list
Manchester City injury list
1/6 Vincent Kompany (defence)
The City captain suffered a groin injury during the Manchester derby defeat and was forced off at half-time. Kompany could miss the rest of the season.
2/6 James Milner (midfield)
James Milner is suffering from a knee injury that also forced him off in the loss to United, and will miss the match against West Ham.
3/6 Stevan Jovetic (striker)
Stevan Jovetic has not played for City since the 3-0 win over West Brom on 21 March after suffering a muscular injury
4/6 Gael Clichy (defence)
Gael Clichy lasted the full 90 minutes against United but has been ruled out of the West Ham game with a muscular injury
5/6 Wilfried Bony (striker)
The £27m January signing has no played since suffering an ankle injury in training after the West Brom game in March
Dedryck Boyata is in contention to return against West Ham
"Jovetic was available to play [at West Brom] without any problem,” said Pellegrini, “but it wasn't important for him to play and the pitch was difficult for a muscle injury which he has just come [back] from."
Pellegrini will hope that Jovetic will not be needed to beat a Burnley side that is in the bottom three and has scored one goal in three matches, but he is not taking anything for granted. City have won nine successive matches, and a tenth will eclipse the club record. However, the last time City won nine on the trot the tenth match was against a team in the bottom three but City, who were top at the time, were held to a draw and ultimately finished fifth.
That was back in 1912 when City won the last four matches of the 1911-12 season, to complete a remarkable escape from relegation, then the first five of the new season. Ernest Mangnall’s team were then held at Sheffield United after which their challenge faded.
It is not, however, the lessons of history that mean Pellegrini will not be taking Burnley for granted, it is his awareness that in England victory can rarely be assumed. “I have watched some of their games,” he said, “they are playing well. I watched them against Tottenham. They are an offensive team who play two strikers. They have good players and if you think it will be easy there will be great problems.”
While Pellegrini may be cautious with Jovetic he does hope to recall skipper Vincent Kompany. Albion’s goal may have been a lucky consolation but they had earlier made several good chances in open play and the captain’s experience and expertise will be welcome at the Etihad.Reuse content