Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

GET SET FOR BLUES' NEW BEAUTY AND THE BEAST ; the Pairing of Bony and Aguero Can Help Champions Light Fire on Their Twin Trophy Assault.

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

GET SET FOR BLUES' NEW BEAUTY AND THE BEAST ; the Pairing of Bony and Aguero Can Help Champions Light Fire on Their Twin Trophy Assault.

Article excerpt

WILFRIED Bony is the man who can fire up City's title challenge as it heads into the last phase of the season.

The big Ivorian is expected to meet his new team-mates for the first time early next week, once his African Nations Cup adventure is over.

There is a still a feeling that the Blues have not hit top gear yet and the arrival of Bony - and return of Yaya Toure - could be just the turbo-boost they need to overhaul Chelsea's fivepoint lead.

The lessons of last season proved that the Blues are better when they have the option of a big, aggressive front man to go along with the explosive goalscoring of Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko's knack of popping up with an important strike.

Indeed, the Blues were at their cavalier, prolific best when Aguero was teamed up with Alvaro Negredo in the first half of the season.

From the Manchester derby in September until the end of January, when Negredo injured his shoulder and then suffered a loss of form, City piled up 104 goals in 32 games.

Even though Aguero's run was interrupted by injury, he managed an astonishing 24 goals in 20 matches during that spell, while the Beast bagged 23 in 30.

Inevitably, given Aguero's penchant for the spectacular, it was tagged as a 'Beauty and the Beast' partnership and those three-and- a-half months provided the bulk of a 156-goal spree that brought a new English goalscoring record as well as the league title and League Cup.

But what has not escaped Manuel Pellegrini's notice is that once Negredo damaged his shoulder in the League Cup semi-final at West Ham, and then saw his season dissolve into a mess of poor form, homesickness and discomfort, City were not the same.

They mustered 41 goals from their last 20 games, enough to get them over the line in the title race, largely down to a timely burst from Dzeko, who scored nine goals in 10 games at a crucial phase of the season. …

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