Yesterday a beaming Dzeko left White Hart Lane with the match ball tucked away beneath his arm, the memoir of a swashbuckling lead role as his Manchester City team destroyed Spurs by five goals to one. Following his opening goal, the travelling City fans spent most of the rest of the game singing his name. He responded in kind. A poacher’s opener was followed by a regal header, an opportunist tap-in and a stunning left-footed curler. Any lingering pessimism following goals in City’s opening Premier League games has been obliterated. To put things simply, Tottenham Hotspur fell victim to a world-class centre-forward – the centre-forward most believed had been lost somewhere on the flight from Wolfsburg to Manchester.
His hat-trick goal aside – although all strikers delight in the simplicity of the close-range finish – his finishes were supreme. First was the archetypal poacher’s goal. Debutant Samir Nasri played an intricate give-and-go with David Silva on the inside-left, whipping a low cross across the six yard line. Belying any misconception he suffers from a lack of pace, his instinct took him to the near-post, darting ahead of the statuesque Younes Kaboul to divert home.
His second too was born of pure instinct and no little skill. A floated cross, this time to the back post, signalled little danger in the Tottenham defence. Last season, ‘The Lamppost’ would have been helpless as the ball sailed over his head. Today’s Dzeko is a different model. Improbably, inexplicably, he managed to contort his body, straining to reach the cross with his back to goal and looping a majestic header over Brad Friedel; a quite magnificent goal.
As Roberto Mancini’s new effervescent City cut swathes through Spurs’ anaemic midfield – Luka Modric and Niko Kranjcar, whilst wonderful ball players, were no physical match for the metronomic Yaya Toure and Gareth Barry – Dzeko delighted with subtle flicks and intelligent running. Predominantly a target man, he is blossoming into one of the most graceful forwards in the country, epitomised by the insouciant coolness with which he curled home his fourth – City’s fifth.
If a world-class centre-forward has at last been unearthed, even more disturbing for Premier League defences is the partnership blossoming between the Bosnian and Sergio Aguero. They innately read each other’s movements and compliment each other’s strengths beautifully, and have already garnered seven goals between them. More will undoubtedly follow.