Analysing Sergio Aguero's match-winning performance for Manchester City against Burnley

Manchester City had to come from behind to take a vital three points on Saturday against Burnley. It was important that Pep Guardiola’s side maintained the pressure on Chelsea and Liverpool. Although it wasn’t known at the time, both sides went onto win later in the day, which means that the victory at Turf Moor has kept City in touch with their rivals at the top of the league. They have been far from perfect and there remain problems for the Spaniard to mull over. However, City are certainly establishing themselves as title contenders ahead of the festive period.

Their talisman is undoubtedly Sergio Aguero as he is one of the few players in the side that is capable of winning matches on his own. That was the case on Saturday, as his intelligent movement and clinical finishing meant that City spared their blushes at the newly-promoted club after falling behind to an early Dean Marney strike. It was certainly a test of the squad’s resolve, but they passed with flying colours, with Aguero the star once again. The Argentine scored both of the goals and delivered a good display before being substituted late in the second half.

 

His two goals were not classics by any stretch of the imagination, but they displayed his movement and why he is so successful in the league. The ability to be in the right place at the right time is underrated, but Aguero shows why it is so valuable. Although it wasn’t a difficult finish, the movement and anticipation was very impressive. These attributes are why Aguero is always one of the leading scorers in the division and why he rarely suffers long goal droughts.

Even if the striker is low on confidence and snatching at shots, he continues to position himself well and this means that easier chances will come his way. He didn’t look at his sharpest today, finishing the match with seven shots, but his movement in the build-up to both goals meant that he was afforded chances that he couldn’t miss. This is the mark of a great goal-scorer.

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It is important to have a player like Aguero in matches such as these. Burnley set up to frustrate Manchester City and flood the central areas, which restricted the space given to the away side’s attackers. Aguero’s awareness in packed penalty areas meant that he was always first to react and when his movement is as good as that, he is impossible to defend against.

 

His link-up play wasn’t as good as it has been in previous weeks, as he ended the game with only 79% pass accuracy. However, it was clear from the first whistle that the Burnley players were trying to unsettle him and to an extent it worked. He didn’t manage to go on any of his driving runs, but he didn’t allow the game to affect his concentration. Aguero remained hard-working and waited for his chances to arrive. Other less experienced strikers would have disappeared out of the game, but Aguero is one of the best strikers in the game and the quality difference told in the end.

These two goals have taken the Manchester City striker’s tally up to 27 for 2016, which is eight more than any other player, while he has scored 33 in his last 34 Premier League matches. He is clearly one of the best players in the division and he will be hoping that his form is good enough to help Manchester City regain the Premier League title. At the age of 28, Aguero is now reaching the peak of his career and will be targeting success with City and individually. The Champions League is a trophy that has alluded him so far, but City will almost certainly challenge under Pep Guardiola. Meanwhile, Aguero hasn’t been the recipient of many individual awards since moving to England, but he is surely a leading contender for the PFA player of the year award at this stage of the season.

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