The Sergio Show came to the capital in search of gold rather than silver…and duly gave Spurs the order of the boot.
City’s Argentine super striker proved, once again, to be Tottenham’s nemesis, showing the Londoner’s defence a clean pair of heels as he sealed City’s 1-0 win – the now dethroned Champion’s eighth victory in their last nine league encounters with the not-so-hot Spurs.
In one exquisite move from back to front, involving the three players who emerge with any real credit from a disappointing campaign, City arrested a hideous sequence of four consecutive away defeats.
Captain for the day, Joe Hart lobbed the ball to David Silva, El Mago conjured up a pinpoint precise pass to surgical Sergio and Aguero duly delivered the clinical execution.
It was the fifth time Aguero had scored past Spurs skipper Hugo Lloris in two games this season and his 22nd PL conversion since August – two more than his closest rival, Tottenham’s more than able Harry Kane, in the race for the Golden Boot accolade.
In four sensational seasons with City – twice Champions and once League Cup winners – Aguero has never been accorded the individual recognition his supreme talent so richly deserves.
He’s never won either the PFA or Football Writer’s Player of the Year, nor featured in any notional best Premier League XI of the season.
It speaks volumes for the short-sighted, petty-minded anti-City bias of those who vote on such subjective affairs.
In a season, handicapped by a debilitating injury, Aguero is 270 regulation minutes away from being acclaimed as the PL top scorer. It would be scant reward for a player who sits at world football’s top table of strikers with the likes of Messi, Ronaldo & Suarez.
Once again denied a stonewall penalty – the second in eight days – Sergio’s sheer class, indefatigable work rate & all encompassing zest for the game, makes him City’s prize asset.
If, as and when Real Madrid come calling, seeking a long-term successor for Ronaldo, City have to be resolute in their resistance.
The men from Manchester can match moneybags Madrid in terms of wealth – Financial Fair Play nonsense notwithstanding – but the allure of the Santiago Bernabeu may prove irresistible for Sergio.
The history, the heritage and the here & now capabilities, Real are undeniably the biggest club in world football and an odds on perennial favourite for Champions League glory.
If Sergio is fuelled by ambition and a certain impatience for the game’s top club honours, it’ll be one helluva challenge to keep him at the Etihad.
City and their Blue Mooners are seemingly lunar years from being Europe’s top club, having just been so unceremoniously shoved aside in what, at best, has to be viewed as an average to mediocre Premier League.
With no ‘English’ representation beyond the last 16 of the Champions League, few could blame Aguero if he craves a return to Spain’s capital.
He’s priceless in the hearts and minds of City’s supporters, but for all the Abu Dhabi driven aspirations in Manchester M11 3FF, the Sky Blues can’t realistically hope to retain Sergio’s services if he elects not to ignore the ‘Spanish proposition’.
When signing his contract extension last summer, Kun, was quoted as saying he wouldn’t leave City until they’d won the Champions League.
As laudable and sincere as that sentiment was – and hopefully still is – City are now facing an unexpected rebuild of an under-achieving and ageing squad.
It cannot be what Sergio envisaged when making such a proclamation of loyalty and good intent.
With so much speculation surrounding the immediate future of manager Manuel Pellegrini, as well as the imminent break-up of a team that has delivered the most successful period in the club’s history, it places even more importance on City’s transfer wheeler dealing this summer.
The very welcome win at White Hart Lane, establishing a virtually unassailable lead over fifth placed Liverpool, opening up a five point advantage on fourth placed Manure and bringing an automatic Champions League spot one step closer, was crucial to attracting new signings to take City back to the top.
A spirited Spurs ran City closer than they have in recent encounters, with the visitors having to endure a torrid opening quarter, belying the myth that Mauricio Pochettino’s men were desperate to swerve Europa League qualification.
The hosts will find little solace in their greater possession levels and goal attempts. It’s been an all too common occurrence for City in 2014/15, they’ve had the statistical high ground on several occasions only to emerge painfully pointless.
Of course, the jaundiced journalists and putrid TV pundits weren’t interested in giving credit to City for grinding out a win, on a day when Chelsea secured the title with a performance to cure all but the most extreme cases of insomnia.
And what of the rebirth of Louis Van Gutteral’s Gaalacticos and the return of the days of ‘Glory Glory Man Ushyted’?
It’s only 21 days ago since Manure lifted the Cup, you know the ‘We beat City & went above them in the table for 2 weeks in April’ trophy.
The derby day win was supposed to signify the sound of silence from the ‘Noisy Neighbours’.
In the parlance of an institution synonymous with making a racket – the Eurovision Song Contest – Manure have attracted ‘nil points’ in three games since overcoming City 4-2.
In contrast City have secured all nine from a trio of wins, albeit the performances have still left something to be desired – but let’s not be picky.
City, by their own very high standards, are in the midst of a ‘crisis’, and yet they’re winning consistently and striving for a fourth straight top-two finish.
The upgrades to City team – not just the squad – are obvious for all to see. The need to recruit three or four home-grown talents is a necessary evil. Buying English means City will have to pay overinflated prices for good, but not great, players.
Sterling, Barkley, Rodriquez, Ings and Wilshire are just some of the names being linked with City.
Of course, the finest home-grown talent who City might wish to attract – Gareth Bale – plays for a certain Spanish side who wear all white.
Juventus’ Paul Pogba – seen by many as the closest thing to a successor for the diminishing talents of Yaya Toure – almost qualified as ‘Grown in England’ after his time at The Trafford Swamplands. Alas he missed out by a couple of months.
Whoever City buy – and God knows they have to do much better than in the past three summers – it’s going to cost big money.
One of those earmarked by many as a probable Etihad departure, Aleksander Kolarov, had one of his best games in a City shirt, at the ground where he made his first team debut in 2010.
AK47 has one of the sweetest left feet in football and, when he’s up for it, he is very capable of making a more than valid contribution. The trouble comes when he – like some of his less than professional colleagues – don’t seem too bothered about fighting for City’s cause..
The infuriating air of complacency and perceived lack of effort was conspicuous by its absence in a City side who, only moments before kick-off, would have seen Chelsea’s Jose and JT take the spoils after being confirmed as champions 2015.
The yawning chasm of 13 points, with three games still to play, might suggest a gulf in class between royal blue and sky blue. Not so.
City could and should have won both the 1-1 draws with Chelsea this season. City could and should have had the nouse and determination to dig out points at West Ham, Crystal Palace and Burnley.
They should have had the guile and steel to unlock and then shut-out the likes of Stoke, Burnley and Hull City at the Etihad.
‘Could and should, but ultimately didn’t’ would be a fitting epitaph on the gravestone of City’s 2014/15 effort.
Pellegrini has taken a lot of flak – some deserved – but as The Engineer, how was he to know that primary components Yaya, Kompany, Nasri, Dzeko and to a lesser degree, Fernandinho and even the legendary Zaba, were going to suffer dramatic dips in form?
Jovetic hardly ever ventures off the treatment table and Fernando – the latest pale imitation of Nigel De Jong – just lets the world, and most opponents, go by.
A maturing Mangala is beginning to show that he could yet fit the bill in seasons to come and a more settled Bony will surely return to his prolific Premier League best, without the distractions of the bloody African Cup of sodding Nations!
Who knows, City Football Academy talents such as Iheanacho, Ambrose, Pozo and Barker could even be ready to start sniffing around the periphery of the first team squad.
Three more wins, automatic Champions League qualification, no punitive FFP measures and a glut of exciting acquisitions will see City challenging Chelsea’s supremacy next season.
It’ll be an enormous help if the man with the Midas touch, and matching footwear, says ‘ Gracias pero no gracias’ if Madrid come shopping in Manchester before the end of August.
By David Walker
www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu