Complete Scouting Guide to Manchester City Striker Sergio Aguero

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Complete Scouting Guide to Manchester City Striker Sergio Aguero
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Sergio Aguero

Age: 25
Place of birth: Quilmes, Argentina
Height: 5'8"
Clubs/Goals: Independiente (2003-06): 23 goals in 56 matches in all competitions; Atletico de Madrid (2006-11): 100 in 230; Manchester City (2011-): 52 in 96
Internationals/Goals: 19 in 46
Total goals/matches: 194 in 428

Honours


Club: UEFA Europa League (2010); UEFA Super Cup (2010); Premier League (2012)
International: Olympic Gold (2008)
Individual: FIFA Young Player of the Year (2007)

Brief City History

After 44 years of waiting and suffering, Manchester City finally won their third league title in 2012 in the most dramatic circumstances imaginable. Aguero’s 94th-minute strike against QPR snatched the championship from rivals Manchester United and inked his name into City’s pantheon of great players in the process. He will forever be revered by the blue half of Manchester.

He arrived at City in 2011 and quickly established himself in the side, scoring 30 goals in his first season—the first City player to achieve such a feat since Francis Lee in 1972.

Last season, niggling injuries caused him a few problems, managing just 12 league goals and struggling to influence games with the same consistency he had in his debut Premier League season. An FA Cup semi-final winner against Chelsea, which saw City reach their second final in three seasons, and his superb individual goal in the 2-1 win over United at Old Trafford, were the highlights of his season.

However, under the guidance of Manuel Pellegrini, Aguero has been in fine form again, scoring four league goals in six games, as well as a Champions League goal in a Man of the Match performance away at Viktoria Plzen. His first goal in the 4-1 derby win over United was his 50th for the club, remarkable given the relatively short time he's been at City.

 

Scouting Report

Aguero is blessed with speed, skill and a great footballing brain. His pace over the first five yards is his most striking quality, with the ability to suddenly burst into life and cause panic amongst opposition defenders one of City's most effective attacking features.

He has incredible balance thanks to his strength and low centre of gravity. For a striker under 6'0", he demonstrates great durability, often appearing almost impossible to knock off the ball.

Aguero can operate either as the focal point of the attack, or as a withdrawn striker, and it would seem Pellegrini prefers in him in the latter role. Whereas last season Aguero was very often played as a lone striker with three supporting attacking players behind him, this season he has been partnered by Edin Dzeko or Alvaro Negredo, a tactic which allows him much more freedom to roam.

The graphic below details Pellegrini’s preferred formation. Although City have deviated away from this fleetingly during games (switching to 4-2-3-1 on occasion), the 4-2-2-2 shown here is their established setup.

In this system, Aguero is encouraged to drop off and receive the ball from midfield in pockets of space in front of the back four.

He also benefits from having a partner who can use his physicality to bully centre-backs. The chemistry between Negredo and himself has been wonderful, and they'll be looking to develop that over the season.

As this video shows, Pellegrini favours a two-man forward line, meaning it's likely City will play this way for the majority of the campaign. It's also a system which seems to suit Aguero, who enjoyed a brilliant partnership with Diego Forlan at Atletico Madrid before joining City.

Certainly, on the evidence so far this season, Aguero looks to have responded to Pellegrini's tactics. When he played the No. 9 role on his own last year, he often played with his back to goal, somewhat nullifying his pace and striking instincts. Now, with Negredo causing defenders all sorts of problems with his strength, Aguero is free to find areas of the pitch where he can really do damage.

 

Stats

Aguero has scored a goal every 2.2 games throughout his career at club level, which, considering he is so much more than a goalscorer, is a remarkable scoring rate. Last season he dipped below that level, scoring 12 league goals in 30 appearances, but he already has four in six this season and looks more confident in front of goal.

This improvement is evidenced by his shooting accuracy. Whereas last season he had a 58 percent shot accuracy level, he has upped that to 70 percent so far this term. Pellegrini's alterations to City's style appear to suit the Argentinian.

Pellegrini has also attempted to initiate a high-intensity pressing game which suits Aguero, a player who prides himself on hard work and defending from the front.

 

Final Thoughts

It’s clear that he remains City’s elite striking option. When fully fit and in form, he is often unplayable, and his versatility makes him a dream player for Pellegrini, a manager who values tactical flexibility in his players. At 25 there is so much more to come from him.

Speaking to BBC Sport shortly after Aguero's arrival at City, Roberto Mancini likened him to the great Brazilian forward Romario, and it's easy to see why. Their strength, balance and goalscoring instincts are uncannily similar. Romario was one of the all-time great players and there's nothing to stop Aguero being remembered in similar terms.

Manchester City are blessed to have such a brilliant forward and he will be a key player this season in Pellegrini's new-look side. Those £38 million, it's fair to say, have been money well spent.

 Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity.

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