Pitchside

Stevan Jovetic could be brilliant this season – and Arsenal need to watch out

Pitchside

View gallery

.

For a team of Manchester City's riches the summer of 2014 has been a relatively quiet one. Bacary Sagna and Frank Lampard have been brought in to add depth to a squad that has lost the likes of Joleon Lescott and Gareth Barry on free transfers, while Willy Caballero will provide greater competition for Joe Hart in goal.

Even Fernando, purchased for a mere £10 million, will find it difficult to impact on the first team, with Fernandinho and Yaya Toure last season's best central midfield pairing in England.

[HOW WILL MAN CITY LINE UP THIS SEASON?]

Of course, improving a side that won the Premier League last season is a tough task in itself, but City were not completely comfortable in finishing first in the domestic league and barely threatened to make a significant impact in Europe.

Accordingly, strengthening was apparently must this summer, particularly given the vast sums spent on international stars by their Premier League rivals. With Eliaquim Mangala set to be the biggest import to the Etihad this summer, it seemed as though City could be left behind.

Not so, however. City's squad, already teeming with talent, only really needed fine-tuning ahead of the season. They also have what will feel like a new striker available to them, with Stevan Jovetic finding form and fitness in pre-season this year.

The Montenegrin started only two Premier League games last season and only played a total of 360 minutes, yet he managed three goals in an extremely small about of time on the pitch, thus averaging a goal every 120 minutes of action.

To put that into perspective, the only players to make more than 10 Premier League appearances last season and score more frequently than Jovetic were Sergio Aguero (90.5), Luis Suarez (95.6) and Daniel Sturridge (108.3).

View gallery

.

Clearly he is a proficient goalscorer, but what is so alarming about Jovetic's numbers are the ease with which he managed to adapt to the pace of the top flight despite his playing time being constantly disrupted by injury and the vast competition in City's ranks. In addition to those league strikes, Jovetic also netted a trio of goals in the domestic cups, including one against Chelsea.

With five goals in City's last three friendlies, it looks like he's ready to step up to the challenge and put himself in the running to start regularly for the Citizens. He hit double figures in each of the previous two seasons with Fiorentina and given the creative talents in the blue half of Manchester he is certainly capable of doing so in the Premier League, too, if given the chance.

In City's recent friendlies he has shown a sharpness that hints he is approaching full fitness. Skipping past players with ease, holding off challenges in the six-yard box and making clever runs to perplex defenders, scoring all kinds of goals, Jovetic is a handful despite his relatively small frame.

In Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo City have two burly forwards, and in Aguero they have a shorter but still stocky striker. Jovetic may be doubted in some quarters due to his slimmer physique, but he is clever enough to find a way around that. Granted, it was only a friendly, but a brace against Liverpool in pre-season signifies that he is ready for the season ahead.

On Sunday, he is likely to get a chance from the start as City look to add another Community Shield to their trophy cabinet, and if Arsenal's defenders aren't alert to the task at hand, Jovetic could be the man to punish them.

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.

View comments (6)