There has been a growing trend this season of players coming off the substitute’s bench and winning their teams points.
This trend seems to centre on Manchester at the moment. Both City and United have their very own super-subs.
This season both clubs have gained points from the exploits of substitutes. Manchester City have Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko, who has scored six goals for City this season.
At United there is Javier Hernandez, who has scored winning goals in his last two substitute appearances in the league.
Dzeko scored City’s winner in their 2-1 victory over Tottenham on Sunday. Hernandez had an even greater impact with United two goals down against Aston Villa, the Mexican striker scored twice and had a big hand in the other goal as United won 3-2 at Villa Park.
Both strikers have proved that they can score goals in the Premier League, but are currently behind first choice partnerships at their respective clubs. Hernandez is competing with the magical pairing of Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie.
While at City Dzeko is competing with Argentinian double act Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez, not to mention Italy’s mercurial Mario Balotelli.
At most other clubs in the British top flight Dzeko and Hernandez would be first choice strikers. However the Manchester clubs have incredible attacking options. The pair are likely to stay third choice, because the players they are competing against are world-class.
Hernandez and Dzeko are regarded as the other options if things aren’t going right for the first choice forwards. Dzeko has stated that he doesn’t want to be called a super-sub, because he really doesn’t want to be a substitute, he wants to be a regular starter.
If he keeps coming off the bench and scoring goals then the label will be hard to shake-off. However, if he doesn’t take his chances when coming on as a substitute then he isn’t likely to start games in the future.
Unfortunately both players have proved themselves more useful from the bench than as starters in recent times and not just this season either.
Edin Dzeko came off the bench for City on numerous occasions last season and scored vital goals, including the goal that levelled the scores up in that famous 3-2 last victory over QPR that won his team the league title.
Neither striker has made much of a telling impact as a starter this season. However their impact from the bench has been explosive.
The notion of the super-sub is not a new one to football. Way before my time David Fairclough was given the moniker super-sub, after coming off the Liverpool bench on numerous occasions to score goals for the Reds in their glory days.
The most recent player famous for being a super-sub has to be Manchester United hero Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The baby face assassin never quite made a starting berth his own at Old Trafford, but he had a knack of nicking important goals after coming off the bench.
When he started games he never seemed as effective as when he came off the bench. Maybe it was a psychological thing in the end for the Norwegian. He just never looked the same player starting as he did from the bench. Yet, he is still considered a hero by United fans.
I can’t see these two players being happy with just roles on the bench for much longer. Dzeko is being linked with a move to Italian giants Juventus in the transfer window and I don’t think it would be a bad move for the Bosnian striker.
Hernandez isn’t the sort of person to cause trouble, but he is a very talented striker and he can’t waste his career sitting on the Manchester United bench.
However, while these players are scoring from the bench they will never be considered for regular places in the starting line-ups of their respective teams.
Their only chance of regular first team football is if they move on, but they are currently at arguably the two biggest clubs in the British top flight and it will be hard for them to leave. For now they will have to settle for their parts as super-subs, as much as they don’t like the role.
Are Hernandez and Dzeko more useful as subs than starters?