After Dzeko and Hernandez ride to the rescue, Sportsmail hails the game's greatest super subs
12:23 GMT, 12 November 2012
Some relish it, others loathe it – but someone has to be it.
In this age of massive squads full of talent, the role of super sub has become all-important again – and the two Manchester sides are leading the way.
Javier Hernandez and Edin Dzeko showed once again this weekend just how important a reliable impact player can be as they came off the bench to win three points for their teams.
Reluctant: He may not like it, but Edin Dzeko has become a Super Sub after scoring from the bench again against Tottenham
Hernandez replaced a sub-par Ashley Young at half-time against Aston Villa and inspired a trademark United turnaround, scoring two goals and forcing another off the Villa captain Ron Vlaar.
Dzeko, meanwhile, as he has made a habit of doing this season, took off his tracksuit and laced up his boots to score an 88th-minute winner for Manchester City against Tottenham.
The Bosnian has now scored six of his seven goals this season from the bench, making him City’s top scorer despite having played a fraction of the game time of Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero.
He’s been one of the principal reasons why City, despite playing nowhere near their best, find themselves unbeaten, second and snapping at the heels of United.
On the opening afternoon, Dzeko’s goal dug City out of a hole against newly-promoted Southampton and he proved the match-winner at Fulham and West Brom, providing the tools to pick securely padlocked defences.
But Dzeko genuinely hates this new role. After scoring twice at The Hawthorns, he thundered: ‘I will never be a super-sub, I want to play.’
Me too: Javier Hernandez came on and scored two goals and forced an own goal as Manchester United beat Aston Villa 3-2
But why not Every team would take such a reliable bench-warmer and his penchant for scoring dramatic late goals can only endear him more to the fans.
What’s more, if he continues to top City’s goalscoring charts, then surely a starting place will eventually follow
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The original: David Fairclough (right) came on for Liverpool to score the decisive goal against St Etienne
And the following year, he scored a goal of such magnitude that it guaranteed his place in the heart of every Liverpool fan.
Leading the formidable French side St Etienne 2-1 in a European Cup quarter-final but needing a late third to go through on aggregate, Fairclough found himself on the end of a long ball and through on goal.
With remarkable composure, he beat the goalkeeper and set-up a semi-final with FC Zurich and, ultimately, a win in the final over Borussia Monchengladbach – Liverpool’s first European Cup triumph.
VIDEO: DAVID FAIRCLOUGH IN ACTION AGAINST ST ETIENNE
But despite this, Fairclough was left on the bench for the final. As Bob Paisley later reflected, it was one of the toughest decisions of his managerial career: ‘I could have cried for David Fairclough, the hero against St Etienne, when I had to tell him that he wouldn’t even be getting stripped.’
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Manchester United 1996-2007)
Long before Hernandez, Sir Alex Ferguson had another great super sub to call upon, the “Baby-faced assassin” Solskjaer.
Given the tag, it may surprise you that just 29 of the Norwegian’s 126 United goals came from the bench, but it was the importance of some of those goals that secures his place in this list.
His first goal for the club – in a 2-2 Old Trafford draw with Blackburn on August 25, 1996 – came from the bench and set the tone.
Another Fergie treasure: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scpred Manchester United's winning goal against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final
Like Fairclough, Solskjaer found his chances limited by a prolific first-choice partnership – Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke – but as the schedule became every more demanding during the Treble campaign of 1998-1999, Solskjaer carved himself a real niche as a player of devastating impact.
He pipped Yorke and Cole, who both had two each, with a stunning four goals in 15 minutes to sink Nottingham Forest 8-1. He scored in stoppage time to beat Liverpool in the FA Cup fourth round, nine minutes after coming on.
And, unforgettably, he came on in the Champions League final with Bayern Munich to score a 93rd-minute winner.
VIDEO: SOLSKJAER BAGS FOUR AGAINST NOTTINGHAM FOREST
VIDEO: SOLSKJAER IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL
Tore Andre Flo (Chelsea 1997-2000)
Another Norwegian import, Tore Andre Flo may not have scored goal of the significance of Solskjaer, but he became a cult hero at Chelsea for his goals from the bench at around the same time.
A 300,000 signing, Flo was never likely to dislodge the likes of Mark Hughes, Gianfranco Zola and player-manager Gianluca Vialli from the forward line at Stamford Bridge. But the fans still appreciated his contribution of 50 goals, 13 of which came from the bench.
He contributed some important goals, including two in a 4-3 away comeback at Blackburn in 1998-1999 and a couple away from home against Real Betis in the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners’ Cup in the same year.
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