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.

#TrustOurMP

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

 

 

30 Comments

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

Tuned in City on a different wavelength

The Merseybeat was dancing to a different tune as Manchester City continued to hit all the right notes and stay at Number One. Merseyside’s finest –The Beatles – had a chart[...]