Manuel Veth –
It’s strange to think that Sergio Aguero has turned 30-years-old. Those boyish features, the fresh-faced looked that saw him christened “Kun”, have not gone away, but Aguero is now in his eighth Premier League season for Manchester City, his 13thin Europe. He is an experienced veteran.
In football, it is sometimes foolish to do an obituary on a player’s career – and Aguero has plenty of time left on the top – but one can’t help but wonder how Aguero will look back on his own. He is a remarkable player, no doubt about that. Of all the players to top 100 or more Premier League goals, Aguero has the best goals per game ratio, eclipsing the likes of Thierry Henry, Harry Kane and Alan Shearer.
However, when it comes to the top accolades – the PFA Player of the Year, the Ballon D’Or – Aguero is often overlooked. Sure, for the latter, he has had the misfortune of playing in the same era as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but one feels that there should be a little more recognition of his talents.
Aguero delivers when it matters
Manchester City fans, of course, adore “Kun”, he is almost a folk hero after scoring the goal that ended their long title drought back in 2012. For them, he is representative of what is termed ‘clutch’ in North America– the player who has the ability to come up with the goods at the very moment it matters.
The relationship with Pep Guardiola is perhaps a little more difficult. Despite Aguero’s hero status at City, Guardiola did not always seem keen on using the Argentine. Gabriel Jesus was quickly brought in by Guardiola, but, while he has room to grow at just 21, he has not been able to impact games in the same manner as Aguero.
The argument went that Aguero had to learn to play the ‘Guardiola way’. It’s not abundantly clear that Aguero has done that, but Guardiola was not able to ignore him, because every time Aguero stepped on the pitch, he scored or assisted.
Liverpool favourites for Premier League
Right now, Guardiola is embarking on what will be one of the biggest tests of his managerial career so far. City must hunt down Liverpool and a 4-point gap for the Premier League title. The odds favour Liverpool slightly, with 5/6 cited by Bet365. City are right behind at 5/4. Moreover, you can’t forget Tottenham, who have been wonderful of late, priced at 20/1 with Betfair to surprise the two frontrunners.
There is also the small matter of the Champions League – Guardiola’s Holy Grail. City are 18/5 favourites from Sportingbet, but they will inevitably face stiff competition from Barcelona at 19/4, Juventus at 21/4 and even Liverpool at 9/1. There are lots of betting promos available for both the Champions League and Premier League, so check out this guide that tells you how to find the best free bets & sign up bonuses for football.
More trust should be put in Aguero
There are many keys to those ambitions for Guardiola. David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne are his lieutenants on the pitch and undoubtedly great players. However, goals win these competitions and Aguero is the man to deliver. He has been used sparingly in the Champions League this season, but Aguero has still got two goals in three appearances. His rate in the Premier League is similar, and some will feel his price of 7/1 (Bet365) is a bargain to be top scorer.
In the end, the rumours about Aguero’s time coming to an end at Manchester City will persist, as long as it remains clear that Guardiola envisages a different way for the club. Aguero is not one to leak to the media, and while he has been disappointed to be rotated, he nevertheless answers the call each time he plays. Guardiola will have to make some big decisions if he is to make a fist of the Premier League and Champions League. In Aguero, he has a ‘clutch’ player to call upon, a goal-getter who never lets the team down. Guardiola would do well to remember that as he chases these titles.
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.