F-word is key to sizzling Sergio’s success – Man City 4 Spurs 1

Sergio Aguero is arguably the finest footballer in the 120-year history of Manchester City and, on present form, the Argentine pocket rocket is getting better and better.

The word ‘better’ works on two levels in relation to Super Sergio – his scintillating scoring exploits and, perhaps more tellingly, his general health and well being.

Carry on No 16, you're timely is most definitely not up! Courtesy@MCFC

Carry on No 16, your time is most definitely not up! Courtesy@MCFC

His four goal haul against Spurs confirmed him as City’s record goalscorer in the age of the Premier League with 61 in 95 appearances. This surpassed the 58 scored by his fellow countryman, Carlos Tevez, in 113 league games for the club.

In three and a bit seasons at the Etihad, Aguero has proved himself to be the Premier League’s most ‘efficient’ scorer of all time, at a rate of a goal every 108 minutes.

City have played 122 league games since Aguero joined for £38m from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2011. Sergio has missed 27 of them, mainly due to injuries.

Record-breaker and plenty more to be broken. Courtesy@MCFC

Record-breaker and plenty more to be broken. Courtesy@MCFC

A succession of recurring hamstring and calf injuries saw him ruled out of 15 PL fixtures last season, so getting him fit and keeping him fit was vital if City were to optimise the talents of a player, eclipsed only by Messi and Ronaldo in terms of the world’s best strikers. As for Diego Costa…behave yourselves!

So far so good as far as the ‘F’ for fit, plan goes in 2014-15. City’s physiotherapy team and conditioning coaches have hopefully cracked it and an injury free Aguero will surely deliver 30 to 40 goals across all competitions.

With nine goals in eight PL games this campaign – (two of them as a substitute) – the 26-year old, is banging the goals in at a rate of one-every 59 minutes, tempting Manuel Pellegrini to suggest him as a viable candidate for the Baloon d’or, if he continues in similar form throughout the season.

Get netted - Sergio nets one of his three penalty opportunites. Courtesy@MCFC

Get netted – Sergio nets one of his three penalty opportunites. Courtesy@MCFC

Sergio’s shot conversion rate since August suggests he is likely to score one goal for every three strikes taken.

The departure of Alvaro Negredo and concerns over the robustness of Stevan Jovetic, mean that Aguero is more important to City’s quest for honours than ever before.

He could so easily have scored seven against a Spurs team showing more mettle and menace than the score line would suggest – certainly more vertebrae than the spineless bunch who capitulated 6-0 last season under Andre Villas Chaos!

With a new five-year deal signed this summer, Sergio has pledged his future to City – well he has as far as any contract is worth the paper it’s written on in football nowadays.

The much vaunted Luis Suarez – PFA and Football Writer’s Player of the Year 2014 and the commercial face of the Uruguayan Orthodontist Union – played the equivalent of 94 games to hit 65 PL goals.

Dramatic but not fruitful - Sergio misses with the rebound after Lloris' penalty save. Courtesy@MCFC

Dramatic but not fruitful – Sergio misses with the rebound after Lloris’ penalty save. Courtesy@MCFC

Sergio has gobbled up 61 goals in the time equivalent of 73 matches, only four goals shy of the Catalonian Cannibal, but with 1,867 less minutes on the pitch. Statistics for all the City haters in the media to chew, who knows, even choke on?

Obviously Sergio was the Man of The Match with two superlative shots, one from the right foot and the second from the left, that started and sealed what was eventually a comfortable City win.

Three penalties, two converted in the bottom right hand corner, the other fluffed with a weak stroke saved by Lloris, followed by an acrobatic miss on the rebound, accounted for Aguero’s haul on a day when City bristled with attacking brilliance.

Pace to burn - Jesus Navas worked tirelessly and to great effect. Courtesy@MCFC

Pace to burn – Jesus Navas worked tirelessly and to great effect. Courtesy@MCFC

Jesus Navas and James Milner’s contribution were inevitably overshadowed by Aguero’s performance, but it shouldn’t detract from their worth.

Milner was immense, as he has been for most of the season, grabbing his first team starting berth with both hands and, hopefully putting a pen in one of them soon and signing a new long term deal to stay at the Etihad.

His link ups with Super Frankie Lampard have become a prominent feature of City’s play, and it led to Sergio’s first penalty opportunity, after Lamps went down to a less than ferocious challenge from Lamela.

Scan scrutiny - City have still to determine the extent of Lampard's injury. Courtesy@MCFC

Scan scrutiny – City have still to determine the extent of Lampard’s injury. Courtesy@MCFC

There was no doubting the validity of City’s second penalty when Silva – having something as rare as rocking horse droppings e.g. an ‘off day’ – was scythed down by Spurs’ skipper Younes Kaboul.

On reflection a fifth consecutive defeat at the Etihad was inevitable when you consider Kaboul was team leader. His Tottenham CV could read; ‘The players will follow Younes anywhere in any circumstances…if only out of sheer curiosity.”

He was abysmal.

Good company - Christian Eriksen was Spurs' outstanding performer along with Hugo Lloris. Courtesy@MCFC

Good company – Christian Eriksen was Spurs’ outstanding performer along with Hugo Lloris. Courtesy@MCFC

Spurs’ playmaker and goal taker Christian Eriksen was anything but, capitalising on Fernando’s sloppy play and scoring the Londoner’s equaliser in the 15th minute.

120 seconds prior to the Dane’s crisp finish, Aguero had put City ahead with a low inch perfect drive, which darted through a cluster of four defenders and eluded the excellent Hugo Lloris.

Having had his second penalty saved by Lloris’ legs, Aguero was hungry for his hat-trick. He ran from inside the City half on a one-man raiding party, turned the calamitous Kaboul inside and out, only for the French keeper to once again block his close range effort.

Two fists of iron - Sergio heads towards the City Pemier League scoring record. Courtesy@MCFC

Two fists of iron – Sergio heads towards the City Pemier League scoring record. Courtesy@MCFC

It was far from one-way traffic with Ryan Mason – an unfamiliar name in Mauricio Pochettino’s team – twice testing Joe Hart, forcing the City keeper into two vital saves.

The match was the polar opposite of the tepid drudgery often served up on a lunchtime kick off immediately after one of those horrible international breaks.

It was a case of as you were when the second half continued in similar vein. Aguero’s Exocet-stinger from 25 yards was gratefully parried by Lloris, before Spurs appealed in vain for a handball decision against Sagna in City’s 18 yard box.

Record-breaker - Super Sergio hits the dizzy heights. Courtesy@MCFC

Record-breaker – Super Sergio hits the dizzy heights. Courtesy@MCFC

Referee Jonathan Moss, displaying all the athleticism and wisdom of a slug with haemorrhoids, awarded Soldado a penalty after a Demichelis challenge – was it even a foul – outside of the 18 yard box.

Justice was swiftly dispensed via Joe Hart’s strong right hand, the England keeper turning Soldado’s insipid effort away from danger and preserving the 2-1 lead.

It was Hart to the rescue moments later with a reflex save when that man Soldado put the venom he should have injected into his penalty, into a powerful effort, but to no avail.

No-go - Joe saves Soldado's penalty to preserve City's lead. Courtesy@MCFC

No-go – Joe saves Soldado’s penalty to preserve City’s lead. Courtesy@MCFC

Within three minutes the game was effectively over. Navas put the afterburners on and chased a long upfield clearance from Kompany, crossed into the Spurs six yard box, only for Argentine debutant Federico Fazio to yank back Aguero as he steamed in for his hat-trick.

Fazio saw red and Sergio finally snared the match ball, sending Lloris the wrong way with his third spot kick of the day.

Fernandinho’s quick thinking, vision and free kick execution sent a curling 40 yard pass into Sergio’s path in the 75th minute. Aguero zoomed into the danger zone, left Vertonghen for dead and lashed a left foot screamer past a forlorn Lloris.

Paying the penalty - Sergio helped undo those Hot-spurs with two out of three spot kicks successful. Courtesy@MCFC

Paying the penalty – Sergio helped undo those Hot-spurs with two out of three spot kicks successful. Courtesy@MCFC

Lloris, the French national keeper is a class act but he must hate the sight of City, having conceded 15 goals in three games.

Indefatigable Jimmy Milner was denied a thoroughly deserved goal when his delicious curving shot struck the post in the dying moments. The upside was it preserved my wife’s 4-1 bet at 18/1!

With Tuesday’s crucial/critical/ it’s bloody vital Champions League clash with CSKA Moscow on the horizon, Pellegrini rotated his squad to great effect.

Going up - Manuel Pellegrini has City on the rise once again. Courtesy@MCFC

Going up – Manuel Pellegrini has City on the rise once again. Courtesy@MCFC

Zabaleta wasn’t even on the bench, Dzeko and Kolarov were unused, Yaya stabilised proceedings late on and Jovetic had a 20 minute run out.

Fernandinho was all action having come on for Lampard who was stretchered off after 27 minutes. Scans will determine the severity of Frank’s thigh injury but he won’t be visiting Red Square or The Kremlin anytime soon.

There won’t be much of an atmosphere in the Russian capital with all fans banned from the Arena Khimki due to the odious behaviour of a large section of CSKA fans.

Ball boy - Sergio made sure he had the match ball after his four goals against Spurs. Courtesy@MCFC

Ball boy – Sergio made sure he had the match ball after his four goals against Spurs. Courtesy@MCFC

Even the SAS – Sergio Appreciation Society – are unlikely to be able to breach the UEFA fan ban and get past the Muscovite minders at the turnstiles.

Let’s hope Aguero can go under the radar and add to his overall 85 goal PL and Cups tally with City.

He’s already a record-breaker and history-maker at Manchester City and, if he can steer clear of serious injury, he can surpass all of his previous achievements en-route to some wonderful unchartered Sky Blue horizons.


By David Walker

A special word in dispatches to David Smith, Manchester City’s Business Development Executive, who made a great day even better – many thanks indeed – and to Nick Spalding, a Spurs fan who has an unerring ability to predict City versus Spurs results – 6-0 in 2013 and 4-1 this season – uncanny!

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu




  1. October 20, 2014  1:00 am by Mark Shaw Reply

    Thought it was a cracking game yesterday and Tottenham (Who are on my list of teams I despise) in all fairness came to attack and give it a go rather than park the bus unlike the football media's current darlings, Chelsea. Sadly for Tottenham their best striker, Soldado is to all intents and purposes utterly useless. As one pundit said "You'd expect Soldado to score the penalty as he's not that good at anything else!"

    City are starting to click again and it's showing. Keep Aguero fit and who knows how many more he'll bang in this season. My guess is LOADS!

    • October 20, 2014  7:43 am by David Walker Reply

      I hope your guess is bang on the money. Talk of Chelsea being the next Invincibles is laughable. They were second best to City at the Etihad, even after their 12th man, Mike Dean, reduced us to 10 men. Let the media continue trying to undermine us...our trophy winning capabilities will do our talking.

  2. October 20, 2014  1:01 am by Fifthcolumnblue Reply

    I often wonder about the "3rd behind Messi and Ronaldo" tag that gets stuck on Sergio. Like both of them, Aquero has played and scored prolifically in La Liga. Unlike them, Aguero has proved he can do it in what is arguably a tougher league (Beyond Barca, Real and Atletico, La Liga is not as competitive). I'm not arguing that either Ronaldo or Messi aren't absolutely world class, and Ronaldo has played for the Stretford, but I think Aguero is right at their level!

    • October 20, 2014  7:47 am by David Walker Reply

      Good observation No 5. I would imagine Messi would prosper in whatever league he played, but both he and Ronaldo benefit from playing in a less competitive overall environment and their goals-to-games ratio reflect the fact. If Sergio can stay comparatively injury free he will continue to excel and, if City can finally find their feet in the Champions League in the next season or two, he will have a stage to challenge for the top individual honour.

  3. October 20, 2014  6:56 am by pete lynch Reply

    Cracking read to match an enthralling game. Sergio, Milner, Navas and Joe superb

    • October 20, 2014  7:50 am by David Walker Reply

      All four were standouts in the team. Let's hope that those players 'rested' for the trip to Moscow produce similar performances on Tuesday. The same scoreline wouldn't go amiss, but Bayern only won 1-0 at CSKA. The only figure that matters in Russia is three points to City.

  4. October 20, 2014  7:39 am by by Reply

    thank u David. I always love ur insights in games.thank u again

    • October 20, 2014  7:55 am by David Walker Reply

      Thank you for thinking Read But Never Red as being worth the read. CTWD.

  5. October 20, 2014  7:54 am by ham Reply

    Hi dave, great blog, sorry though guv to put a bit of reality into your ego massaging session, but as at white hart lane the ref was on drugs, and had the worst display of a generation. Gave you a red card and two penalties which completely changed the game. We had as many chances as you did the stats don't lie. Not bad for a club thats whole turnover is less than cities wage bill. Cheers dave sorry mate you are a top bloke

    • October 20, 2014  8:07 am by David Walker Reply

      Ref Jonathan Moss was dreadful - he always is - but Spurs had a penalty for a challenge that was clearly outside of the 18-yard box - and probably wasn't even a foul. Are you denying that at least two of City's penalties were not justified? The red card was the right decision at the Etihad (Moss at least was correct on that one) but, as I recall, the one at WHL was harsh.

      Spurs were a much better team than the dross that rolled up in Manchester last season and Pochettino is a good manager, so it bodes well for the Lillywhites. Thanks for the comments about the blog but I'm not so sure about me being a top bloke!

      You did go and spoil it at the end with the inevitable fiscal reference, but the good fortune bestowed upon us by Sheikh Mansour is something we are more than happy to take, along with the 'barbs' that it generates. Hope all is well with you and your boy.

      • October 20, 2014  10:10 am by ham Reply

        Its a fair cop Dave, ill give you two of the pens, city play lovely expansive football, a bit to hot for defence,but the first pen. wasn't even close, as for the red , it was a shocker, nowhere near a clear cut chance by a country mile, still had a man to beat and a whos to say the winger would have got the ball to him anyhow.?
        So to summarize, we got one dodgy pen, you got one dodgy pen and red, 2-1 to city ala moss.
        sorry about the moneys refs, i know its your Achilles heel, but was gob smacked to recently see that your wage bill is higher than THFC ltd annual turnover. Hardly in the spirit of football, especially when the refs doing his bit.

        • October 20, 2014  10:14 am by ham Reply

          Forgot to add Dave, very professional Blog, looks a million dollars, we could do with a spurs equivalent,
          fancy fighting a lost cause?
          btw thanks for the boot again.

          • October 20, 2014  1:11 pm by David Walker

            Thanks once again for feedback on RBNR, I can but give of my best and let others judge the merits or otherwise of my offerings. As for 'the boot' can your boy still get both of his feet into it? All the best fella and nice to know that opposing fans can discuss matters without getting too hot-headed.

        • October 20, 2014  1:08 pm by David Walker Reply

          It's funny how we all have different perspectives - City fans more often than not feel the referees short change us, especially at the Etihad. As for Mr Moss, he's just a lost cause, how he passed the fitness test I don't know. A friend of mine Nick a Spurs fan like yourself to whom I refer at the end of the blog, is convinced his grandmother would pass the fitness requirement for refs...apparantly the dear old lady passed 10 years ago...and I don't mean the fitness test!

          As for the money, I just wish fans of other clubs in general wouldn't by so hypocritical. It's not a slur on you mate, but every club would have done exactly the same as City had they been given such an opportunity. I realise your last comment was tongue in cheek. Maybe see you at WHL and meet up to say hello?

          • October 20, 2014  5:35 pm by ham

            Course Dave, would love to meet up for a pint, if you make the trip down to north London.
            any time, you have my contacts i owe you one anyway for the blue barge that's moored up in my living room. :-)

          • October 20, 2014  5:59 pm by David Walker

            LOL - use it for planting some hardy perennials on the patio!

  6. October 20, 2014  8:12 am by susan richardson Reply

    Super Sergio! It's laughable that anyone even thought Soldado would turn out the better signing. As you so rightly say several stand out performances and although Spurs did attack I don't think bus parking would have been their strong point. As for Silva he was lucky to escape without injury. Hopefully you will be penning more excellent pieces in the same vein this season. I'm sure Debbie will treat you from her winnings

    • October 20, 2014  8:31 am by David Walker Reply

      Ha - you don't know my wife! ;-)

      In fairness I think the direct comparison with the Soldado signing was actually Negredo in the summer of 2013. He cost £26m whereas the Beast was £16.4m so, even on that premise, City definitely achieved the better deal. I am told Silva was a bit under the weather - illness wise - and wasn't at his best, but yes, Kaboul's 'tackle' was a tad over zealous! As ever, thanks for your comments.

      • October 20, 2014  10:03 am by jansen0815 Reply

        You're right! Both Negredo and Fernandinho were compared to Soldado and Paulinho and most in the media were picking the latter two to be the better signings. How wrong they were.
        Even though Negredo is gone now, he went for around £25m. I doubt Spurs will get anything close to that should Soldado go. He might be worth something similar to the fee of Balotelli.

        Anyway, great read!

        • October 20, 2014  1:15 pm by David Walker Reply

          City did a great piece of business when it was obvious Negredo wanted to go back to Spain because of non-football issues. Alvaro will always have a place in our hearts, I can't think of many players - if any - who had one season at City and won a title and a cup, The Beast must be unique in that respect. Dino seems to finally be shaking off his World Cup nightmare - it must help if you're playing for MCFC instead of Brazil...a proper football team ;-) Thanks for reading and commenting.

  7. October 20, 2014  10:49 am by blueinc Reply

    As always david, as always..
    watching tunnel cam on City TV seen they have taken down the names on the wall and replaced with a Nissan car.
    just wondered where it has been relocated heard nothing about it have you.
    It would be a good idea to put it up in the new stadium dont you think.

    • October 20, 2014  12:28 pm by David Walker Reply

      Don't know anything about it I'm afraid - I will enquire.

  8. October 20, 2014  10:58 am by Toby Teasdale Reply

    Great and in the end a fair result. Aguero, Navas were unstoppable.

    Nando had a mare and Demichelis was caught napping on several occasions. I was very impressed by the elegant Christian Eriksen, a snip at £11m.

    The cheers from Colin Bell stand as Yaya's warmed up had their desired effect. Just like a race horse in the parade ring his ears pricked and his head rose. When he get's his sh*t together I love him.

    • October 20, 2014  12:24 pm by David Walker Reply

      Agreed TT - what's not to love with Yaya when he's focused and in the groove. Both Fernando & Silva were well below par, the latter was ill, but a proper soldier. The fact we beat an improving Spurs whilst having an eye on Moscow bodes well.

  9. October 20, 2014  12:33 pm by Richard Cooper Reply

    Super game and credit to Spurs for giving it a go.
    All that can be said about Sergio, Milner, Navas and Hart has already been said - Sterling performances.
    I won't dwell on the referee but it seemed as the game went on both defences were trying to avoid any contact in the penalty area at all because of the fact that any little nudge or touch would have been punished.
    The memory of that game will be the 1st and 4th Sergio goals - Masterclass.
    This surreal game tomorrow in an empty stadium reminded me of the Millwall - v - City game more than a few years ago when away fans were banned from the Den.The game was on TV and at the end Huckerby and Super Kevin Horlock went and applauded the deserted away supportes stand - good stuff !
    6 points against CSKA is vital to progress in the Chumps League and if we don't qualify the perhaps spurious speculation about Pep will gather pace as Europe was I think Mancini's downfall.

    • October 20, 2014  1:23 pm by David Walker Reply

      Yes, Millwall away - we won 3-2 I seem to recall?

      One thing's for sure if Yaya receives any racial abuse they should be able to identify the guilty party a darn sight easier than last year in Moscow. Obviously City couldn't afford to drop any points against Spurs in the PL but anything less than a win in Russia really will make life difficult in Europe, MP has a much better record than Mancini, 1 x SF and 2 x QF with Villarreal and Malaga but he needs to avoid City being overrun in midfield when we go with his favoured 4-4-2.

      I wonder if Ferran and Txiki are lining Pep up when MP's three year deal concludes or whether they wil give serious consideration to Vieira taking charge. For now I'm trusting our MP.

      Cheers RC.

  10. October 20, 2014  3:16 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Cracking game Cracking read Dave. Unfortunately i couldn't make the game or see the game live but what a game did i miss. Watched it later both teams were excellent but City were defiantly better ( yes im biased ). Spurs keeper kept the score down but they played well & didn't deserve to be on the wrong end of a 7 or 8 goal battering. What more can be said about Sergio the man is simple top class the best in the prem by a mile. AGUEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    • October 20, 2014  4:40 pm by David Walker Reply

      I still have to watch the playback on BT Sport, albeit with the volume down to snuff Michael Monotone Drone Owen. Great game and cracking atmosphere - probably a little different to that on offer in Moscow tomorrow night. As for Sergio...I am a happily married man to a beautiful lady but platonic man love is definitely on the agenda ;-).

  11. October 20, 2014  3:43 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    Excellent game of football, and fair play to Spurs for their approach to it. Our first penalty, although soft, was on balance correct - Lampard got his body in front of the oppenent, and Lamela committed a 'forward's' tackle - which was hopeless.
    The third led to the red card, which I thought was harsh. Demichelis was unlucky, but Soldado's poor effort gave Hart the chance to save. Our goalkeeper did everything right.
    Two superb open play finishes by Aguero, plus a starting XI that I'm sure many didn't predict, but, with the run of games coming up prehaps wasn't such a surprise.

    • October 20, 2014  4:16 pm by David Walker Reply

      Sergio's open play goals were sensational - he has magic in those boots. The game was the best of the season so far, simply because Spurs did indeed come to the Etihad to have a go and yes, credit to them for doing so. I hope and trust MP has his Moscow game plan sorted and would expect to see Mangala, Zaba, Kolarov, Yaya, Fernandinho and even Dzeko starting on Tuesday night.

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