Sergio Aguero has retrospectively been handed a 3-match ban by the FA which will see him miss matches against Manchester United (a), Bournemouth (h) and an EFL tie against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium. It all started when Winston Reid was found sprawled on the ground clutching his throat after clashing with Sergio Aguero for an aerial ball. While the referee waved on the play and City eventually cantered to a 3-1 win, there were nervous faces all around as subsequent television replays depicted the uncharacteristically frustrated Aguero use his elbow as he challenged for the ball along with Reid.
All eyes were thereon in on the news of the referee’s reports and much to the chagrin of the Sky Blues, the referee stated that he had not witnessed the incident and hence Sergio Aguero was liable to be charged retrospectively. And it was exactly what the City hierarchy feared as Kun was suspended for the ensuing trio of upcoming fixtures and even an appeal was shot down as the Etihad outfit finally had to accept the fate their best player had suffered!
During and after the whole incident, Pep Guardiola maintained a diplomatic and stoic stance on the whole issue as he declined from commenting on the video or the decision-making process. On the footballing front, the Catalan genius iterated that on the pitch it would be 11 v 11 and that his team would be approaching it in a similar fashion without paying too much heed to the situation which was taken out of their hands.
While it is natural for the coach to put confidence on the available players in the light of an injury or suspension to one of the main players, the fact is that he will be personally gutted to miss his talisman in his most important match as a City manager till now and probably their whole domestic season.
Sergio Aguero instills an obvious fear factor in the opposition defenders. Players such as Bailly and Blind with their developing partnership at such a nascent stage would have probably been at odds to deal with the multiple threats the diminutive Argentine poses. A lot of space on their minds and a lot of Jose’s planning would have been attributed to the manner in which his deep-lying players would try to nullify his threat.
His ability to conjure a moment of brilliance out of an ordinary situation is similar to Zlatan Ibrahimović. While United will be able to call upon the Swede for his service, unfortunately, City have their hands tied. On top of the obvious qualities of Kun, the fact that he has an astonishing record of 8 goals in 9 derby matches for City illustrates the ready-made goal threat they will be missing.
But it is not to say that City are down and out. With a manager like Guardiola at the helm, it is certain that he will be having the pre-requisite tricks up his sleeve. After a busy transfer window especially on the attacking front he has various competitive options at his disposal and while he would have liked a less intense occasion to introduce the likes of Sane who is coming off an injury, it seems the youngster might see action at some point during the game. And it is the big occasion Iheanacho will be eager to shine on after having a host of commendable cameos and if he performs, it is sure to catapult him into the big league.
All said and done, yes City have the resources to pip United. Yes, City have the supremely assured Pep Guardiola to guide them. But Sergio Aguero will be missed. Only Saturday will be able to show us the extent to which he is missed.