Sergio Aguero will serve the first out of his three-match suspension after elbowing West Ham’s Winston Reid two weeks ago.
Unfortunately for City and Guardiola, he is unavailable for the Manchester derby, so the former Bayern manager will have to work the things out without the superstar striker.
Pep Guardiola’s team is travelling to Old Trafford in a cracking clash with old nemesis Jose Mourinho, and this time, it will be their first duel in English football. They met 16 times in total; Guardiola has seven wins while Mourinho recorded three.
Both rivals started this season in full swing with maximum nine points from the first three games, but after this match, only one can maintain a perfect start. While Mourinho doesn’t have injury-related concerns for this encounter, Guardiola has to face the city rivals without the club’s top scorer – Sergio Aguero.
El Kun is having a high-flying start of the new campaign; he already scored three goals in the Premier League, and three more at Steaua in Champions League qualifications. His absence will certainly be felt, so let’s take a look at some numbers and facts how City is playing with and without Aguero in the squad.
Aguero is Manchester City’s top scorer in three out of last five Premier League seasons, and he scored 142 goals in 211 matches in all competitions for the Citizens. In 153 games when he was on the team in EPL, Man City won 99 and scored 342 goals, while in 40 matches without Aguero, they won 25 and scored 82 goals. The winning percentage with (64.7%) and without El Kun (62.5%) is almost the same, but the Citizens are way more dangerous with the Argentinian in the team when it comes to the Manchester derby.
Aguero bagged seven goals in his eight appearances against the Red Devils, two of which were the winners, while the rest of the City’s players scored 11 in that span. That means that the former Atletico Madrid forward contributed with nearly 40% of the team goals, and also, City won in five of these eight matches.
Who can fill the void?
Now, after allowing Wilfried Bony to go out on loan, Pep Guardiola only has Kelechi Iheanacho as the available striker, but Raheem Sterling could play in the false nine position, something he did quite well at Liverpool. However, the Spaniard tactician will likely give a start to a 19-year-old Iheanacho, and with such magicians playing behind him, the Nigerian could easily find a way to beat David de Gea.
Sterling is looking fresh and in excellent form; he scored two goals and added an assist in three games thus far, and will be a constant threat to Man United’s defence which played impressively well early in the season. Still, they will be tested even without Aguero; De Bruyne, Silva, and Nolito can be a match-winners, and Jose Mourinho reckons that City will be more dangerous in the absence of their star player.
We saw only one goal in last two clashes between these sides, and although the Saturday’s encounter will be a game of chess, it would be surprising not to see plenty of chances and goals on both ends.