ayrshireblue wrote:For me what is really pleasing is his general play and willingness to give others the ball now. Previously he seemed to have little faith in the rest of the team and would only pass to certain players, dribbling down blind alleys before losing possession on many occasions. Now he seems to love setting the goals up for others just as much as he loves scoring. Seeing the smile on his face as he laid the ball across the 6 yard box for Aguero was brilliant for me.
london blue 2 wrote:ayrshireblue wrote:For me what is really pleasing is his general play and willingness to give others the ball now. Previously he seemed to have little faith in the rest of the team and would only pass to certain players, dribbling down blind alleys before losing possession on many occasions. Now he seems to love setting the goals up for others just as much as he loves scoring. Seeing the smile on his face as he laid the ball across the 6 yard box for Aguero was brilliant for me.
Some partnership those two
Peter Doherty (AGAIG) wrote:Piccsnumberoneblue wrote:I'm not being funny but I'm not sure Pep deserves much credit in this matter. Sergio has always been awesome.
Not even recognizable compared to under Pellegrini. Apart from the goals, obviously. Mendy adverted to the fact Aguero let Sterling take the pen against Watford and what a positive impact that had on the squad. He's been far more industrious, team-orientated and still knocking them in for fun since about 10 games from the end of last season.
Sergio Aguero may have missed a penalty on Tuesday that would have seen him become Man City's all-time top scorer, but the winning run continues nevertheless. That's partly because there is now much more to the striker's game, writes Adam Bate.
This time last year, Sergio Aguero had scored 11 goals in his first six games under Pep Guardiola. Manchester City had won the lot. But the manager was not happy. Still, he wanted more. In particular, from his star striker. "To score five goals in two games is a good statistic," he said midway through that run. "But he has to help us."
Guardiola added: "It is not enough to receive the ball from his team-mates. He has to help us in the first pressure and run a lot and help us a lot with movement … You cannot be brilliant when you disappear when you [don't] have the ball. It is impossible. Football is a connection between what you have with the ball and without the ball."
The City boss did not write off Aguero. Instead, he talked of plans "to help him to play the way to create as many chances as possible" and fans are finally beginning to see the results. Not just for City, who have scored 24 goals and conceded just once in their last five games, but for Aguero too. One year on and the goals are still coming his way. But crucially, he has now added assists too.
The pass to Raheem Sterling against Crystal Palace looked simple enough, a cushioned side-foot volley that found his team-mate near the goal-line for the easiest of finishes. But its significance should not be overlooked. It was the third Premier League game in a row in which Aguero had assisted a goal, achieving that feat for the first time in his career.
Indeed, he produced only three assists in 31 Premier League appearances last season. In the previous campaign under Manuel Pellegrini, he came up with only two assists in 30 games. Suddenly, Aguero is a player transformed and any lingering notions of him as a selfish penalty-box predator are being challenged. Those assists are evidence of his generosity.
In the previous game against Watford, the Argentine not only laid on a goal for strike partner Gabriel Jesus but also allowed Sterling to assume penalty duties in order to help boost the younger man's confidence. In the win prior to that, a 5-0 thrashing of Liverpool, Aguero opted to pass to Jesus with only the goalkeeper in his path. A trend is emerging.
"Kun Aguero, he is a hero within the team," summer arrival Benjamin Mendy told The Telegraph last week. "Look at the 6-0 win against Watford - we won a penalty and everyone knows Sergio takes our penalties but he said, 'No, let Raheem take it'. Kun doesn't just want to be the star himself. He wants all the players to shine, everyone to be brilliant."
Previously styled as a goal-poacher supreme, Aguero has always insisted there was more to his game - pointing to the fact that he was not a No 9 in his time at Atletico Madrid. Recent performances have underlined his expanded repertoire. He ranks third in the entire Premier League for chances created from open play and joint-top for clear-cut chances created.
Aguero has already matched last season's total for the latter and passed his number for the campaign prior to that. Perhaps much of it can be explained by the change of system with more bodies in the box and greater passing options available in the final third. But it is also an indication of a change in mentality, one Aguero appears to have embraced.
Such unselfishness also deserves particular praise given that the contrast with other stars is so stark. While Aguero was gifting a penalty to his team-mate, Neymar and Edinson Cavani were fighting over the role at Paris Saint-Germain. The Manchester City hero would be entitled to feel threatened by Jesus but that has not been evident in his actions on the pitch.
Instead, Jesus's January arrival has had a positive effect on him. It quickly became clear that the Brazilian would be a starter, with Aguero benched for three consecutive Premier League games. When Guardiola chose to praise Jesus's pressing game and described him as the future of the club, Aguero was forced to respond. He has had to adapt and adapt he has.
"He's very demanding of me," Aguero said when asked about Guardiola last season. "I need to be the player who starts the pressure and with my pressure the rest of the team-mates will join me and keep up the pressure." He recognised what was needed and the Premier League tracking data suggests that he has delivered what was demanded too.
The statistics show that Aguero's output has increased under Guardiola since the turn of the year. He has made more sprints and covered more distance per 90 minutes, making a greater all-round contribution to City's play. And amid it all, he also happens to be the Premier League's joint-top scorer with six goals so far this season.
"He loves to play football," said Guardiola last week. "He likes the ball and when he can score a goal, his eyes open. He's a football player. Sergio has the character to score goals. He had it in the past with Argentina, his mother and father gave him that talent. He will die scoring goals, there is no doubt about that." Maybe now, he will die assisting them too.
Sergio Aguero has evolved to keep Gabriel Jesus in the shade at Manchester City
Sergio Aguero seemed set to lose his place in the Manchester City team to Gabriel Jesus 18 months ago, so what's changed? Nick Wright examines how Aguero has adapted his game for Pep Guardiola.
Level with Michael Owen and behind only Jermain Defoe, Robbie Fowler, Thierry Henry, Frank Lampard, Andrew Cole, Wayne Rooney and Alan Shearer. Sergio Aguero's goal in Manchester City's 6-1 win over Southampton put him in good company. The Argentine is only the ninth player in Premier League history to reach 150 goals in the competition.
It is a milestone which reflects his outstanding contribution to English football. Aguero has surpassed 20 goals in five out of seven full Premier League seasons since his arrival at Manchester City from Atletico Madrid in 2011, and he is on course to achieve the feat again. Sunday's goal was his seventh in 11 appearances so far.
Not long ago, however, it seemed he might not get this far - at least not with City. Gabriel Jesus was not viewed as an immediate threat following his arrival from Palmeiras in January 2017, but within a few weeks the young Brazilian had taken Aguero's place in the team and been described as "the future of the club" by Pep Guardiola.
For Aguero, the future was suddenly uncertain. The striker had scored 18 goals in 22 appearances in the first half of that season, but for Guardiola it wasn't enough. "To score five goals in two games is a good statistic," he said in August. "But he has to help us. It is not enough to receive the ball from his team-mates. He has to help us in the first pressure and run a lot."
The message was clear, but it was only after the arrival of Jesus that Aguero began to respond. And while he was fortunate that Jesus suffered his foot injury so soon after his breakthrough, he still had work to do to secure his place for the long term. Could he adapt his game to meet Guardiola's demands? Could he become more than just a goal scorer?
Aguero was already a Manchester City icon approaching his 29th birthday at the time, but it is a testament to his professionalism that he has managed it. In the space of 18 months, he has evolved from elite goal poacher to all-action frontman. Guardiola, no longer bombarded with questions about Aguero's future, now finds himself fielding queries on Jesus instead.
The increase in Aguero's off-the-ball intensity has been one of the most noticeable changes. The 30-year-old is pressing from the front with greater vigour and the numbers prove it. According to Premier League tracking data, he has gone from covering an average of 9km per 90 minutes under Manuel Pellegrini to 10km per 90 minutes under Guardiola.
Aguero has described his fitness as the best it has been in years having undergone a minor knee operation in April, and the recent improvement has not gone unnoticed by his manager. "Since I've been here, I've never seen him like this," Guardiola told Sky Sports in August. "He is in incredible condition. With the ball and without the ball, he is sharp and intelligent."
Aguero has not missed a single Premier League game this season as a result, with Jesus now the one watching on from the sidelines, but his evolution is not just about work-rate and physical fitness. Aguero is bringing more to City with the ball as well as without it.
The Southampton game was a good example. The landmark goal was his standout moment, but there were also two assists. For the first, he showed impressive persistence to rob Cedric Soares in his own box before picking out Raheem Sterling. For the second, he selflessly teed up the Englishman again. Aguero was also involved in the build-up to City's opener.
Aguero is now behind only Sterling, Benjamin Mendy and Ryan Fraser in the Premier League for assists this season with four, meaning he only needs two more to match his total for the whole of the last campaign. The increased output is no coincidence. In the last four seasons, Aguero's chance creation has doubled from one per 90 minutes in 2015/16 to two in the current campaign.
"It's not just that he scores goals," added Guardiola in August. "He creates chances, moves, assists, passes. He never stops."
Aguero is helping Manchester City retain possession, too. The statistics show he is making half as many dribbles per 90 minutes as he was four seasons ago and the pattern is similar in terms of how frequently he is squandering possession. Aguero was dispossessed 3.8 times per 90 minutes back in 2015/16 but that number now stands at just 2.2. His current pass completion rate of 87.4 per cent is the highest it has ever been at City.
Aguero is linking play more effectively than ever, but crucially, the evolution of his all-round game has not come at the cost of goal scoring.
Last season he hit 21 Premier League goals in 25 games at a rate of one every 94 minutes. That rate has risen to a goal every 116 minutes this season, but the underlying numbers suggest he will start catching up soon. Aguero is averaging more shots per 90 minutes (5.7) than ever before.
The numbers add up for Guardiola and they are good news for Aguero too. Having extended his Manchester City contract until 2021 in September, a previously uncertain future is now guaranteed. If recent evidence is anything to go by, it will not be long until he climbs further up that Premier League scoring chart.