Early pacesetters Manchester City sit atop of the Barclays Premier League table after matchweek six, with five wins and 15 points to their name. Their first league defeat of the season came against West Ham United last weekend at the Etihad, going down 1-2 to a vibrant West Ham side who were efficient across all three areas of the pitch.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men have not been banging in goals for fun, at least in the last couple of games against London clubs – Crystal Palace and West Ham – and their tally of 12 league goals has been shared by Vincent Kompany (2), Fernandinho (2), David Silva (1), Yaya Toure (1), Sergio Aguero (1), Aleksandar Kolarov (1), Samir Nasri (1), Raheem Sterling (1), Kelechi Iheanacho (1) and Kevin de Bruyne (1).
The defeat to the Hammers, in particular, must have hurt Manchester City, who, despite producing an imperious attacking display in the second half, failed to rescue even a point after de Bruyne had halved the deficit just before half-time. Aguero, who is known for scoring goals under real pressure circumstances and when his team needs them the most, has been out of form since the beginning of the season. In hindsight, the 2013/14 English champions might have found a way past Adrian for the second time last Saturday, had their amiable Argentine striker, who played the full 90 minutes of that game and provided the assist for his side’s only goal scored by the 24-year-old Belgian, been in form.
But what is impeding Aguero from being his usual self in front of goal? How Tottenham Hotspur can inspire him to rediscover his goal scoring touch? How has he fared so far this season?
Answers and much, much more to follow…
Aguero, who won the Premier League golden boot for scoring 26 goals in 33 appearances for the eventual runners-up last season, has managed a shot accuracy of 53% in 395 minutes of action this campaign, keeping eight of his 15 goal attempts on target. Last season, he enjoyed a shot accuracy of 54% in 33 games, a stat indicating that the Argentine is not doing too badly in terms of keeping his attempts on target. Asmir Begovic and Tim Howard together made five saves to deny Aguero, who, in turn, managed to breach this goalkeeping duo just once during Manchester City’s clashes against Chelsea and Everton, respectively.
Aguero was a tad hasty in getting his shots away against West Ham, after setting himself nicely and even getting the better of Adrian on one occasion. There was a moment in the first half when Aguero had rounded the Spanish goalkeeper and gotten himself into a decent position; but, as aforementioned, his hastiness saw him pull his attempt well wide. That is not something usual for the 27-year-old, who generally keeps his cool when in front of goal.
However, let us not forget that he played only 25 minutes of the game against Crystal Palace before getting injured and subsequently was reduced to another substitute appearance against Juventus in the UEFA Champions League. Therefore, the Argentine’s current five-game goal scoring drought does not tell you the exact story.
During the course of the last international break, Sergio Aguero, playing for his national side in their friendlies against Bolivia and Mexico, scored three goals and made three assists, giving the impression that he had rediscovered his goal scoring form. So, maybe, it was a misfortune that he got injured against Palace and had to go off after just 25 minutes on the pitch. He has since played the full 90 minutes only once. He did not have a particularly good game in City’s 1-4 win over Sunderland in the third round of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, despite scoring from the penalty spot to set his side on their way to victory.
Spurs have been Aguero’s favourite opposition over the last three seasons, during which the diminutive striker has scored nine goals in five games. He single-handedly led his side to a second consecutive league double over Tottenham last season, scoring all five of his side’s goals – in the home and away fixtures – against the North London outfit who would not want to be on the receiving end of Sergio Aguero’s virtuoso come Saturday.
Saturday’s hosts have hit a bit of form in the league ahead of the clash against Pellegrini’s men, though the derby defeat to Arsenal in the third round of the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night, will be a disappointment. They are not a free-scoring team at the moment, and the onus is on their defence to stop the Aguero-led City attack.
Manchester City and Pellegrini will not be too worried by Sergio Aguero’s goal scoring form, just yet. The Argentine has built a massive reputation for himself by delivering goals consistently for City, and that is why his current five-game drought feels like it has been there forever. Playing against Spurs, given the ease with which Aguero has scored goals against the Londoners in recent seasons, could inspire him to bring his A-game to the fore on Saturday.