Manchester City are indebted to striker Sergio Aguero for rescuing them from the brink of Champions League elimination against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night. The Argentinean international, 26, scored a hat-trick as the Sky Blues ran out 3-2 winners against 10-man Bayern at the Etihad. City were 2-1 down and likely to be out of the European competition until a late brace turned the game on its head.
In the post-match interviews, manager Manuel Pellegrini and club captain Vincent Kompany both labelled Aguero as a “special player” in the team who can dig them out of a hole, but should a starting eleven that has cost more than £190M be so heavily reliant on one man?
After the match, Pellegrini was quoted as saying: “I have always said that Sergio is one of the best players in the world. He played very well against Bayern Munich,” while Kompany said: “If you want to succeed at anything you need to a special player in a special form. Sergio is our special player and when he is in that form he makes things achievable.”
Aguero scored three goals from just three shots taken against the Bundesliga leaders, which has now seen Manchester City go from the brink of elimination to favourites for second-placed qualification. They need a result against AS Roma in Italy, all the while hoping Bayern Munich don’t lose their clash at home to CSKA Moscow.
But is it a worry that their future in Europe has come down to one man’s heroics once again? This season, the former Atletico Madrid striker has 12 league goals in as many games, and five in five in the Champions League. Manchester City haven’t lost when he’s scored in either competition this season, and Aguero’s influence in attack has been telling – with the 26-year-old having scored 12 of Manchester City’s last 19 goals in the league and Europe.
Manuel Pellegrini has relied so heavily on the long-serving striker, with City’s second-highest scoring being nine goals adrift, and the club-captain is fully aware how much they need Aguero right now. City have endured a poor defence of the Premier League this season, and had picked up just two points from four Champions League group games prior to their Bayern win.
With players such as Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas, Steven Jovetic and James Milner – who averaged £20M each for City – why is it only Aguero delivering on a regular basis?
This is a Manchester City team who have won two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, one Capital One Cup and one Community Shield in the last three years.
It’s no coincidence Aguero was the man who scored the title-winning goal back in 2012 to end a 44-year wait for league honours, but is it right for City to be more dependant on him than ever?