Sergio Aguero takes top billing as Manchester City silence Spurs
Whilst there were a raft of contentious decisions to rake over in Manchester City’s 4-1 thrashing of Tottenham, it is star man Sergio Aguero who should garner the lion’s share of the attention after what was an enthralling encounter.
The exhilarating Argentina frontman often has to play second fiddle to exceptional countryman Lionel Messi in his national team, and also had to watch Diego Costa take the plaudits in the Premier League this term. Aguero, however, put in a performance that deserves recognition from his peers, with four fantastic finishes against an unlucky Spurs side.
Tottenham started as the brighter of these two teams, bringing the game to the home side, who had opted for a more cautious option of Gael Clichy at left back instead of Aleksandar Kolarov.
Mauricio Pochettino took a gamble up front, by putting all his eggs in misfiring Roberto Soldado’s basket, as Emmanuel Adebayor and Harry Kane watched from the bench. Whilst debatable refereeing decisions played a part in the visitors’ downfall, it was certainly the ruthlessness and composure of City’s offensive options, including a rampant Jesus Navas, that made the difference in the end. Tottenham, after all, were also handed chances on a platter.
Neither team provided a masterclass in defensive stability, but the encounter was all the more exciting for it, as fans were treated to the sight of two talented and fluid attacking midfields creating a host of opportunities.
City were certainly on the backfoot to begin with, as Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen threatened Joe Hart’s goal, but it took the Mancunian club just 12 minutes to bare their teeth and illustrate what a difference confidence and experience can make.
Frank Lampard, who was soon to be stretchered of with a suspected thigh strain, crafted a chance for Aguero, who was casual and assured as he picked out a spot in the far corner to fire the Sky Blues ahead.
The fine finish was Aguero’s 58th City goal, and elevated him to joint all-time top scorer for the Premier League club, alongside compatriot Carlos Tevez. The Argentine superstar was not done yet, however.
Spurs, to their credit, responded swiftly, with Eriksen continuing to cause mayhem. The young Dane capitalised on a Fernando mistake to lash an excellent effort past a helpless Hart, netting his second in as many games.
Pochettino’s reprieve was short, though, as Lampard was judged to have been bundled over in the box by Lamela, and Aguero duly arrived to dispatch what would be the first of four penalties awarded.
Spurs skipper Younes Kaboul conceded the second, after rashly knocking David Silva off his feet in the area, but this time Aguero was unable to convert his spot kick. Credit should go to Hugo Lloris, who was ‘impressive’ yet again, despite conceding four, and surely saved his side further blushes on several occasions.
His opposite number, Hart, was also crucial to the Sky Blues’ win and appears to be back on top form. The England number one also managed to prevent a penalty goal, guessing correctly as a casual Soldado fluffed his lines once again.
City will see that as justice served, as Martin Demichelis’ tussle with Soldado took place just outside the area anyway. His subsequent miss proved to be a turning point, and a snapshot of the Spanish striker’s disappointing Spurs career so far, with Aguero proving to be the difference again shortly after.
The tricky, 26-year-old forward earned the final penalty of the game, as Federico Fazio harshly saw red for obstructing the Argentine. Debates will rage on over whether the Premier League debutant deserved an early bath but, whilst it appeared an unfair decision, there could be no arguing with Aguero’s emphatic conversion.
Aguero then smashed Tevez’s record, and sealed the win, by curling his fourth past Lloris in the 75th minute, to also join Costa as joint Premier League top scorer, with nine in eight appearances.
City’s win is certainly a warning shot to Chelsea, but Spurs will feel the scoreline did not reflect their performance. The north Londoners journey home with no points, but can take small consolation from the fact that they did manage to go toe-to-toe with the current champions for the majority of the clash.