• 'I will never be a super sub. I want to play,' says Bosnia striker
"Super sub" was a moniker that David Fairclough and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer were synonymous with at Liverpool and Manchester United but Edin Dzeko has made it abundantly clear following his latest goalscoring cameo that he has no desire to join them by becoming known as such.
Thrown into the action with 11 minutes remaining, at a point when Manchester City were down to 10 men and facing their first Premier League defeat of the season, Dzeko turned this fascinating game on its head with an equaliser 87 seconds after replacing Gareth Barry before coolly dispatching the winner in injury-time. It was a stunning contribution from the substitute and is becoming something of a habit for a man who has scored five of his six goals this season from the bench, including the winner at Fulham in the previous league match.
David Platt, City's assistant manager, acknowledged the significance as well as the number of goals that the Bosnian has scored for the club since his £27m arrival from Wolfsburg in January last year while Vincent Kompany, whose error contributed to James Milner's early dismissal for a professional foul on Shane Long, tweeted "the big man proved his worth again".
Dzeko, however, appears to be getting tired of some of the praise, in particular the back-handed compliment that he is a game-changer to call on when City are up against it. "I was never a super sub before I came to City. I used to play always from the beginning and I scored a lot of goals not as a sub," Dzeko said. "In the last few games it's a situation like this and I am just happy I am scoring goals. But I will never be a super sub. I want to play."
It is easy to understand Dzeko's frustration. Eight of his 11 appearances this season have been as a substitute and he has completed 90 minutes only once in the Premier League. Yet Dzeko has five league goals to his name, which is as many as City's other three forwards, Carlos Tevez, Sergio Agüero and Mario Balotelli, have managed between them. Those goals have come at an average of one every 46 minutes and he could be forgiven for wondering what damage he could do if he was given a decent run in the team.
"Of course [it's frustrating to watch from the bench], everyone wants to be there all the time, especially when you score," Dzeko said. "But I'm there when the team needs [me] and, even if I only played 10 minutes, I was ready to give everything to try and change the score. When you get 10-15 minutes, you can't be sad or angry with the coach. You just have to play your game and do your best. That is in my mind always."
He is certainly entitled to believe that he has made a strong enough case to start against Ajax on Wednesday, when City need to win in the Amsterdam Arena to keep alive realistic hopes of qualifying for the knockout stage of the Champions League. Hard as Tevez worked against West Bromwich Albion, he has now gone seven games without scoring while Balotelli was a danger to his own team at times here, the Italian's lack of discipline undermining the efforts of a side that played like champions as they made light of their numerical disadvantage.
Ahead through Long's opportunist goal in the 67th minute, Albion were left to reflect on what Ben Foster described as a "brutal finish" to the game.
Romelu Lukaku, the Albion substitute, squandered two decent chances either side of an overhead kick that Joe Hart tipped over, while at the other end Dzeko ruthlessly punished some suspect defending, heading in the first before sweeping home Agüero's wonderfully weighted pass for the second.
"The first goal was a horrible one," said Foster, who was caught in no man's land as he tried to punch clear Tevez's inswinging free-kick. "It was a great ball in, to be fair. I thought I'd come and get something on it and, once you are on your way, you kind of think: 'Shit, here we go.' I should have stayed on my line. The second one, it's credit to us that we are trying to win the game against Man City. We are giving it a go at least. They break on us and that is what £70m worth of talent does to you."
Man of the match Edin Dzeko (Manchester City)