Slow Start for Bony
Prolific goal scorer for Swansea City and Vitesse Arnhem, its no secret that Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony has a keen key for goal. However, after making his big money move to Manchester City in January, the brutish forward’s net finding knack has proven noticeably absent.
This summer’s transfer window saw Man City confirm the departing moves of forwards Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko, leaving the club with a shallow striking arsenal. The activity looked to apply a heap of faith on the team’s current set of goal scorers in the form of Sergio Aguero and Wilfried Bony.
Whilst still sitting proudly at the top of the Premiership after a blistering start to this campaign, City’s forward figures have been misfiring. Of the 12 goals scored so far by the Citizens only two have come via strikers, one of which through the medium of 18 year old Nigerian Kelechi Iheanacho. As for Bony, the Ivorian is yet to get off the mark.
After a superb 25 goals in 54 appearances in the Premier League for Swansea City and a winner’s medal in the 2015 African Cup of Nations, Bony looked certain to depart South Wales in January. It had only taken the forward 18 months in the BPL to grab the attention of the country’s top clubs with his ruthless finishing.
Swansea soon realized they were fighting a losing battle and it became a case of when not if the striker would leave. In the end it proved Manchester City that came calling as they flexed their financial muscle to meet the Welsh side’s valuation.
City’s bid in the region of £28 million was accepted on January 14th, a fortnight after Bony had sealed a late point for the Swans at QPR with his last goal for the club. The 26 year old put pen to paper on a four and a half year deal and inherited the squad number 10. Intentions were clear from day one as Bony replaced Jovetic in the club’s Champions League squad for the knockout rounds.
The ongoing African Cup of Nations severely delayed Bony’s debut for the club however, with his inaugural appearance coming over a month and a half after his move. Coming on as a late substitute in City’s 5-0 romp of Newcastle in late February, Pellegrini’s new forward had arrived.
The transfer had been planned as a game changer in the title race, a move that could see the Etihad side claw down the seemingly unflappable Chelsea. Despite these intentions it wasn’t until March and three substitute appearances later that Bony made his first start. The Ivorian added little to a routine win over Leicester and the new boy was eventually subbed with twenty minutes to go.
Seemingly demoted once again to the bench, Bony made brief cameos late on in City’s catastrophic 1-0 defeats to Burnley and Barcelona. However, only three days after being slain in the Nou Camp, Bony finally added his first City goal in a routine 3-0 win over West Brom. The six foot brute controlled well before lashing a powerful shot into the roof of the net from ten yards out.
Despite the relief of scoring his first goal for the club, it wouldn’t be until just under two months later that he would strike again. After a handful of drab displays, Pellegrini subbed on Bony with five minutes to go in their penultimate league game. Playing against his old club Swansea, all the attention turned to the player whom had brought many a goal to the Liberty Stadium in recent times.
Latching onto a low pass from David Silva, Bony controlled, feigned to shoot and fizzed the ball across the pitch towards the far post. The BPL sphere thumped in off the post to wrap up a 4-2 win deep into stoppage time. Out of respect Bony declined the temptation to celebrate against his previous employers.
Since that day in Swansea, Wilfried Bony is yet to strike again for Manchester City despite acclimatising to the squad over the summer. The sales of Dzeko and Jovetic have resulted in the Ivorian being handed more playing time in the opening weeks of the 2015-16 season but to no avail. Overall, his record stands at only two goals in eighteen appearances, a dismal turn over.
However, with game time and such a strong midfield behind him, the goals will surely come sooner, rather than later for Bony at Manchester City. In such a ruthless business though, will the forward be given the time required for him to find his magic touch once again at the Etihad?
With Aguero currently misfiring, Bony will need to take his chance before the Argentine returns to a form where any other striker will have to pay the price.
So, there is no denying it has been a disappointing start for Africa’s most expensive ever player with only two goals in a City shirt thus far, but whether this stagnant patch will persist or Bony will return to thumping in the goals is anybody’s guess.
YJA Senior Sports Correspondent