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FA Cup – Manchester City – Jérémy Doku, abstinence after flamboyance

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FA Cup – Manchester City – Jérémy Doku, abstinence after flamboyance

He was talked about last week. It was even at the heart of the debates for days following the Premier League clash between Manchester City and Liverpool last weekend. But not really for good reasons: his poorly controlled intervention on Alexis MacAllister in stoppage time caused a lot of talk. And if it put him back in the spotlight, Jérémy Doku, who also found the post in the 88th against the Reds, would surely have preferred to be noticed in another way. History of finally seeing the end of the tunnel while he is going through a more delicate period.

His first months at Manchester City had, however, been almost idyllic. Landed in the north of England for a check for 60 million euros, the former Rennais ignited City with his ability to cause chaos. Between his explosiveness, his speed and his sense of dribbling, he brought a new touch to Pep Guardiola’s eleven on the wings, accustomed to relying on the talent of Jack Grealish, Bernardo Silva or even Riyad Mahrez in recent seasons. To the point of regularly receiving praise from Guardiola. “Jeremy has been extraordinary this season, especially before his injury,” said the Citizens manager at the beginning of March. And the concern is in this second part of the declaration.

Doku on Alexis Mac Allister during the duel between Liverpool and Manchester City

Injury, return of De Bruyne…

Victim of a muscle injury at the beginning of December, Jérémy Doku, author of 4 goals and 6 assists since his arrival at City, has been less decisive since his return to competition. In 2024, he has no longer managed to be decisive on the pitches of the Premier League or the Champions League. Not the slightest goal nor the slightest assist to get under the boots in his last 12 appearances in all competitions. These long weeks of abstinence obviously raise questions for a player who set the Premier League on fire one evening in November with a goal and four assists in the same match (editor’s note: against Bournemouth, 6-1).

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The reasons are obviously multiple. It’s already a story of sensations of course for a player whose physique is perhaps even more key than for others. And also role in the team. Because his return coincided with another highly anticipated comeback at City: that of his compatriot, Kevin de Bruyne. And if the two men have been alongside each other in the selection for several years now, the balance of Manchester City has necessarily evolved with the return of the SkyBlues playing master, after he had missed the first months of the season. The preferential circuits having changed, Doku must find its place. Regain your bearings in the Citizens game. And it may take a little longer.

Jeremy Doku with Manchester City

A not-so-illogical counter-blow

We must also not forget that Jérémy Doku is not yet a “finished” player. We are talking about a winger of only 21 years old who continues to discover the Premier League. And if the Kingdom’s teams were surprised by its elimination capacity during the first months, they obviously became aware of the potential of the Belgian phenomenon with the ball at their feet. Since then, they have necessarily adapted to give him a little less time to do his shows. The former dynamiter of the Stade Rennais game must still improve his game to be more decisive on a regular basis. And Guardiola will offer him this time, aware of having a unique profile.

If he makes less difference in front of goal, Jérémy Doku also retains the confidence of his coach, who throws him almost all the time, whether at kick-off or during the match. And the Belgian is not transparent either, like the first leg against Copenhagen where he was impactful on his left side after replacing Jack Grealish in the 21st. The latter’s new injury and that of Kevin De Bruyne who will miss at least this Saturday’s Cup match against Newcastle and that of Arsenal, should offer him a new opportunity to break free. History of relaunching its season. And to once again become a luxury weapon in the sleeve of Pep Guardiola, who intends to take advantage of his elimination capacity for the final sprint of the Citizens.

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