3 Reasons Why Manchester City Must Not Overwork Sergio Aguero

Rob PollardFeatured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2016

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero, right, shoots wide past Leicester City's goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Saturday Feb. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

January’s Etihad Player of the Month award was a fairly straightforward affair. Of all the Manchester City players who performed well last month, Sergio Aguero was by far the best.

The Argentina international scored seven goals in all competitions, including winners against Watford in the Premier League and Everton in the Capital One Cup.

Goals, primarily, are what he’s paid to deliver, but he offered much more. His all-round game is back to where he expects it to be. Pace, movement, dynamism—at his best, no other striker in the English top flight can match him.

His importance to City should not be underestimated. The drop in quality from him to his understudies, although understandable, is significant. The fear factor he brings is lost.

City face a crucial period in the next few weeks. Defeat to Leicester City on Saturday has severely dented their title hopes, but they face FA Cup, UEFA Champions League and further Premier League gamesas well as a League Cup finalover the course of the next five matches.

Rarely have City faced such a hectic and important run.

Ensuring their players are properly rotated is a luxury City manager Manuel Pellegrini will probably be denied. He has seven players on the treatment table as it stands, with both the defence and the attack affected.

History tells us, though, that Aguero is a player who needs handling with care. Here are three reasons City must ensure he isn’t overworked.

Jon Super/Associated Press


1. Fear of injury

First and foremost, Aguero needs protecting from injury.

In recent seasons, he has spent too much time on the sidelines, often because of muscle problems. No club can legislate for impact injuries, but when a player is susceptible to muscle complaints, ensuring their training and game routine is appropriate is a must.

Can anyone really see the 27-year-old playing every game between now and the end of the season without suffering some kind of injury problem? It seems unlikely, given his past. 

The problem City face is they are short of options in his position. Kelechi Iheanacho is fit and raring to go having been used sparingly for much of the first half of the season, but Wilfried Bony is currently unavailable.

Pellegrini, ideally, would want to rest the Argentinian. Rest periods allow muscles and joints to recuperate effectively, and the chances of niggling injuries building into something more serious are reduced.

Over to you, Iheanacho. 

Rui Vieira/Associated Press


2. Avoid tiredness

Aguero is a classic case of player who needs to be at his absolute optimum fitness level for him to deliver. If he’s tired and playing too often, it’s clear in his game.

City will want to avoid any such scenario. They are still fighting on four fronts and have a difficult schedule between now and the end of the campaign.

It's his sharpness in and around the box that marks him out as a great player. Without that, City's most fearsome weapon is blunted. 

City's fixture list is congested and could get even worse if their Champions League involvement continues.

Games, training sessions and flights take their toll. 

Rui Vieira/Associated Press


3. Overuse is a sign things aren’t going well

The only way Pellegrini would overwork Aguero is if he has to. In other words, if the season isn’t going to plan and he needs results in every game.

For example, if City go to Ukraine and win in their Champions League last-16 game against Dynamo Kiev and then start well in the second leg, there is likely to be a chance to bring Aguero off early and save him for the League Cup final four days later.

If City can’t get the game finished because they aren’t good enough, that’s when he will be left on for the duration.

Overuse of Aguero is a sign City aren’t having things their own way.


Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2015/16 season. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow him on Twitter @RobPollard_.