Injuries to test Sven's mettle

Last updated : 01 December 2007 By Ben Collins
Sven's had a phenomenal start to his City career - if we win at Wigan this afternoon we'll go one point off the top of the table and we're now in December!

Sven overhauled the City squad in the summer thanks to Thaksin's millions. He was ridiculed at the time for signing some players having only seen them on video but, to a man, his first batch of recruits have proved to be excellent signings, and the former England coach deserves credit for that.

But the City boss has had the luxury of selecting the same team virtually every week as the Blues have so far suffered few injuries this season.

Michael Johnson has been out the last few weeks, giving Gelson Fernandes a chance to show what he can do. The young Swiss midfielder was the last of Sven's 8 summer signings to make his league debut and he too has shown he looks a quality acquisition.

But over the next few weeks, City will also have to do without Elano, the pick of Sven's summer recruits and the most influential player in the Sven revolution. The Brazilian maestro suffered a hamstring injury in training last week and could be out for as long as a month.

Thankfully Sven has a natural replacement in Geovanni, who can slot straight into that hole between attack and midfield where Elano has been weaving his magic so far this season.

Geovanni made a fantastic start to his City career, scoring twice in the opening 3 games of the season, including the only goal in the derby win against United, although we've since discovered that Elano is a far better player.

Vedran Corluka also went off injured against Reading last week but it looks like the Croatian defender has recovered in time to face Wigan. That is a relief for Sven as England U21 defender Nedum Onuoha, who would have been first in line to replace Corluka, is also injured.

Sun Jihai replaced Corluka last week and although he's been a valuable squad member in recent years, I just don't think he's worthy of a place in the current City side.

We're heading into a busy period of the season and if the Blues suffer any more injuries, I'm worried about the lack of depth in the City squad.

At the very least, Sven will find out what areas he needs to strengthen in the January transfer window. But in the meantime, I think we could be heading down the table.

Sven will be struggling to maintain City's excellent start but we'll soon see if he's what he's cracked up to be.

If he can get the best out of the squad players and keep City in the top 4, maybe that will prove he's as good a coach as we all believe after these last few months.