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Could Guardiola’s tactics affect Aguero’s golden boot chances?

Could Guardiola’s tactics affect Aguero’s golden boot chances?

With 24 and 26 goals in his last two seasons and hauls of over 20 in three of his five campaigns at Manchester City, Sergio Aguero was thought by many to be a shoe-in for the Golden Boot in the Premier League this term under Pep Guardiola’s guidance. Bookies anticipated that the former Barcelona manager would push the striker on to becoming one of the best in the world, and many bettors thought a wager on the Argentine would be easy money. In recent matches, though, Guardiola has decided to omit Aguero from the starting line-up to toy with different tactics. Could this be detrimental to the 2014-15 top scorer’s chances of doing it again?

After eight rounds of fixtures Aguero was behind Diego Costa, Romelu Lukaku, and Theo Walcott in the scoring charts, but Betway still placed the City forward at 7/4 to surpass the competition by the end of May. Statistically, the 28-year-old still has the best chance of claiming the accolade, unless Guardiola decides to implement drastic changes on a regular basis. City lead the way this season for goals, with an average of 2.4 per game. Chelsea in comparison have averaged 1.9. Guardiola’s side are also heading the pack with the number of big chances per game at 2.8, compared to Chelsea’s 2.2. These stats suggest that whichever player is at the forefront of the attack is likely to reap the rewards.


Aguero is also beating the leading goal scorer in terms of attempts on goal. The City man is on 17.7 minutes per attempt to Costa’s 31, and Aguero is also the designated penalty taker for his side when on the pitch, whereas for Chelsea Eden Hazard normally takes care of spot kick duties. City are well favoured for the league title as well. In recent seasons the league’s top scorer has always been in one of the top three placed sides- Harry Kane in 2015-16, Aguero in 2014-15, and Luis Suarez in 2013-14 - and for these reasons it may be wiser to discount Lukaku whose Everton side are outsiders to break into the top four. Chelsea have long odds at 12/1 to claim a Champions League spot, and with Costa’s penchant for picking up injuries and suspensions (see below), it’s difficult to see the Spanish forward as a genuine Golden Boot contender either.


All the evidence still points to Aguero being a wise bet to rack up the most goals, but bettors have recently begun to worry about Guardiola’s intentions with the prolific sharpshooter. After relegating the City number 10 to the bench for the 1-1 draw with Everton in match week seven, the assumption was that Guardiola had decided to rest Aguero’s legs in anticipation of his return to former club Barcelona in the midweek Champions League fixture. Instead, the two-time Champions League winner decided not to utilise his star striker until the 79th minute when all hope of a resurgence against the Spanish legends was lost. Kevin De Bruyne had started the match as the “false-nine” and this has brought about questions as to whether it may become a regular occurrence in this new-look City side. Guardiola has previously stated that he would ideally like to have a team of midfielders, and historically has a tendency of alienating world class strikers- Zlatan Ibrahimović and Samuel Eto’o to name two - which has led many to question what his plans for Aguero are.

Currently, the Aguero situation shouldn’t cause too much concern for those who have already staked large sums on the player claiming the Golden Boot. But over the coming weeks it is worth monitoring the forward and attempting to identify what his role is in this rejuvenated City side. If he is pushed to the side-lines, then the league will surely miss one of the most exciting strikers in its modern history.
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