Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas best described the so-called “Super-Sub” saying, “It was also down to an individual moment of brilliance … which I think is recurrent for a guy who continues to be on the bench, but who continues to come on to destroy opponents.”
The “Super Sub” is that player who scores vital goals that swing results in his or her team’s favor. That’s what makes them so “Super.”
The 2012-13 Premier League campaign has seen Edin Dzeko and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, strikers for Manchester City and Manchester United respectively, emerge as the most super of the substitutes.
For Dzeko, the trend started last season as he scored four of his 14 league goals from the bench, but his role might have been crystallized during that game against Queens Park Rangers. This season, the Bosnian striker has scored six of his seven goals (in all competitions) from the bench, and his exploits have won three league games for City.
Best of all is that he usually does it within minutes — sometimes seconds — of taking the field, as he did against Real Madrid (a game City ended up losing) in the UEFA Champions League. He is no less than a cup of “instant offense.”
Not to be outdone, Hernandez has shaken off last season’s doldrums to play an important part in United’s high-powered attack. He’s bagged three of his four league goals as a substitute, including scoring the winner against Chelsea and rescuing United with two goals against Aston Villa.
Both players face stiff competition for playing time as their teams boast an array of world-class attacking talent. City manager Roberto Mancini has often selected Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero over Dzeko, and even Mario Balotelli has been forced to watch more than he would like. Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie have pushed Hernandez to the periphery, but the “Little Pea” has forced Sir Alex Ferguson‘s hand and he will start United’s next league game.
Both players would rather be starting regularly, but each has coped in a different way.
Dzeko scoffs at the idea of being a “Super Sub,” saying he has proven to be much more than that, according to the Telegraph.
“You can call me whatever you want but I will never accept that I’m a super-sub,” Dzeko said. “I’m 26 years old and I played a lot of games before I came here to City and I scored a lot of goals in Germany and, before that, the Czech Republic. I won the league in Germany and was top scorer there. I was never just a sub and I never will be one. At the moment, maybe, it’s like that. It’s not great for me. But with my goals and with the goals I have scored so far this year I think I deserve to play more.”
Mancini, a great striker in his day, understands Dzeko’s plight, according to the Mirror.
“He is not happy,” Mancini said about Dzeko. “A player who is happy on the bench does not exist.”
Meanwhile, Hernandez praised his team’s “never-say-die” attitude following the win over Aston Villa.
“‘Every time you never want to give up, not until the end because the games are 90 minutes and you need to fight until the last minute,” the Mail reports Hernandez told Sky Sports. “‘The most important thing is that Manchester United are top of the league and after being 2-0 down that is a good result.”
Ferguson praised Hernandez for the way he carries himself on and off the field.
“I’ve been saying it for weeks, that he’s such a great professional,” Ferguson said. “He doesn’t complain.”
Perhaps that is why United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has pledged to start Hernandez in Saturday’s game against Norwich City, while Dzeko might have to wait a little longer for his chance to appear in City’s starting 11.
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