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Sergio Aguero: why the Argentine’s Etihad era could be reaching its conclusion

Phil Foden replaced Gabriel Jesus in the 70th minute of Manchester City’s derby defeat on Sunday. The game ended without Pep Guardiola making his final substitution. Meanwhile, City’s greatest ever goal scorer watched on from under the hood of his warm up jacket. A little over 10 years since joining, his non-appearance confirmed that the curtain is setting on a glorious decade for Sergio Aguero in Manchester.

It is approaching 14 months since a Premier League scoresheet last included the name ‘Aguero’. With a contract expiring at the end of the season it would be a tough call whether another one ever will. What should have been a glorious swansong has been stolen from us by injury, illness and the fact that City can win 21 consecutive games whilst often playing without a striker. Aguero is clearly far from vital to the 20/21 Etihad machine, but at 2-0 down to the old rivals who he has so often tormented, the image of him wrapped up on the sideline was somehow sad to see. The man who gave City fans the highest of highs is nearing the Etihad exit with the lowest of profiles.

It is hard to criticise a manager who has led his team on a stroll towards the Premier League title whilst maintaining challenges on every possible front. City’s new system doesn’t play to Aguero’s strengths but he would undoubtedly still be at the forefront of Guardiola’s thoughts if he was close to his prime. Sunday’s snub, though, would suggest that Pep no longer believes the Argentinian can find the old magic on the big occasion.

Guardiola’s snappy post-match comments perhaps hint that Sergio’s time could yet come this season. ‘Maybe, yeah maybe he [Aguero] could have played and maybe it was the wrong decision’ isn’t exactly an admission of great regret but at least points to future consideration. A midweek home fixture against a stuttering Southampton side may offer a chance to get some minutes and potentially end the drought. Regardless, though, it is almost certain that Sergio Aguero will never feature in another Manchester derby and it is looking ever less likely that he will be the man for the key fixtures still facing City across four competitions this year.

City host Everton on the 23rd May. All being well there will be supporters in the Etihad and despite the derby mishap, the title will likely be long sewn up. The man who will always be synonymous with City’s greatest day will get the send-off his 254 goals (and counting) deserve. For now, though, Sergio’s Sunday off simply served as a reminder that no matter how prolific and trophy-laden, no player is guaranteed to go out with a bang.

Elsewhere, these two Premier League playmakers are set to do battle under the lights on Monday night in East London.

Dan Fox

Long suffering Saints fan, Le Tissier disciple and extremely limited non-league target man.

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