Why this Ivorian international is a problem for Manchester City
Since his move to Manchester City in the 2014 January transfer window for £25 million (rising to £28 million), Wilfried Bony has not replicated the form that convinced the club to offer him a four and a half year deal at the Etihad Stadium. Bony was lauded as one of the most naturally gifted forwards around and was quickly targeted as the perfect solution to Manchester City’s striker shortage.
As usual, Sergio Aguero has been injured for some of the season and Wilfred Bony should have seized this opportunity to shine and prove that he could be as good as the diminutive Argentine. However, he has been far too inconsistent, not really taking the opportunity and doubts still remain about whether he is capable of being a top class striker at a Champions League football club.
It seems that Bony needs the team to be built around him in order to flourish fully and show his true potential. This was proven during his two years at Swansea where he was their main striker and scored 25 goals for the Welsh club in 54 appearances. When at Swansea, Bony scored in 46.2% of his games for the club.
The impressive goal scoring record that Bony boasted when he came to Manchester City has not continued and he had just two goals to his name for Manchester City in the 2014/15 season. However since he was at Swansea until January that season, it would be unfair to expect him to start firing straight away as he needed time to adjust. He came from Swansea having scored nine goals for the season and he did not manage to transfer this form to Manchester City in time last season.
Furthermore when Bony signed for Manchester City in January 2014, he was on international duty for the Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations and he did not return to the Premier League until the second week in February. Bony’s team beat Ghana 9-8 on penalties after losing in the final twice before but Bony was one of two Ivorian players to miss their individual penalty kick. He has made 32 appearances and scored 11 times for the Ivory Coast since he made his senior debut in 2010.
In addition to being away at the African Cup of Nations, the second half of Bony’s season was hampered by ankle and knee injuries and his performance for Manchester City was substandard. Whilst he is not to blame for his injuries, when a top team spend a large sum of money on a player, they expect the player to repay them with goals and assists.
After Sergio Aguero, Bony is Manchester City’s best and most senior striker. However, in some of the games he has played for Manchester City this season, he has been far too inconsistent. In the first game of October against Newcastle when City won 6-1, Bony came on for Aguero in the 66th minute. City were 6-1 up at this point and Bony was just brought on because Aguero was not fit enough to last the full 90 minutes.
Despite this, he had two chances to rub salt further into Newcastle’s wounds and he failed to take them. This is what makes Bony so frustrating to watch. He clearly has the ability to score goals and be a key player in a team but it seems that Manchester City is not the place for him to do that.
Yet on other occasions, Bony’s commitment and dedication to the team cannot be questioned. When City beat Bournemouth 5-1 on October 17th, Bony scored a brace for the Citizens and was influential throughout the game. His link up play with Raheem Sterling was brilliant and they formed a formidable partnership to demolish a woeful Cherries side. He also scored one goal and assisted another in City’s 5-1 win over Crystal Palace to reach the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup at the end of October. Bony has the ability to score goals for almost any team but unless he can become more consistent, he will not fulfill his true potential at Manchester City.
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