There have been a number of stand-out performers in Manchester City’s squad this season. Fernandinho has grown with each passing game, and he is now sorely missed when absent; David Silva has been wonderful since his return from injury as a substitute against Bayern Munich; and Alvaro Negredo has adapted brilliantly after his summer move from Sevilla.
However, it’s difficult to look past Sergio Aguero as City's star man thus far. He has been in superb form, scoring 13 goals in all competitions already. He’s looked unplayable during most matches, with his pace and desire to score goals too much for most defenders to handle.
His performance against Chelsea was a fine example of his goalscoring credentials. Chelsea had kept him fairly quiet for most of the match, but just after half-time he got himself a yard of space and rifled a left-footed shot into the near top corner. It was a wonderful piece of instinctive play that brought a goal out of nothing.
His partnership with Negredo has been well documented, and I discussed their compatibility at length on these pages last week. They look tailor-made for one another, and their understanding looks set to develop still further.
Negredo’s presence has helped Aguero. Whereas playing with Carlos Tevez saw two players with similar instincts, Aguero and Negredo complement each other. The Spaniard does much of the work outside the box, allowing Aguero to concentrate on scoring goals.
He has scored eight league goals in 10 league games and already had five in four in the Champions League.
City have generally played a 4-2-2-2 system this season—an attacking formation that has seen them score plenty of goals. The diagram below demonstrates this formation, with Aguero and Negredo (sometimes Edin Dzeko) in tandem.
It's a system subtly different from the one favoured by Roberto Mancini, but it has made a big difference to Aguero. Whereas last season he was upfront alone with a supporting cast of three midfielders behind him, he now has an out-and-out partner.
Before this season, he averaged a goal every 2.2 games throughout his career, whereas so far this campaign he's nearly a goal a game. His shot accuracy has also increased—from 50 percent last season, to 67 percent this campaign.
He seems confident he's going to score every time he goes out onto the pitch.
He isn't just all about goals, though. This season, in the Premier League alone, he assisted four goals and created 20 chances for others. He's comfortable linking the play and playing as the focal point of attack.
Aguero is a striker who mixes a high work-rate with skill, selflessness and goals. The fact that he has now found the perfect foil for his talents, and a manager who plays a system that's suited to his game, should mean Manchester City benefit from even more goals from him this season.
Statistics provided by Squawka.
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.