Manchester City have endured a topsy turvy preseason so far. A narrow penalty shootout win over Italian side AS Roma coupled with a 1-0 win against sister club Melbourne City had the Citizens riding a wave of good form. Then came the 4-1 demolition of Real Madrid, bringing Manuel Pellegrini and his men back down to Earth.
Perhaps one of the main reasons City struggled against the Galacticos was the absence of talismanic forward Sergio Aguero. Unfortunately for them, their mercurial forward might not be available any time soon.
While many footballers spent this summer relaxing on vacation, Aguero was competing for the Argentina national team in the Copa America. City manager Pellegrini believes it is imperative that his players receive an adequate amount of rest after the stress of a football season.
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"I think in football it's so important to work hard, but also resting has the same importance,"
As such, Pellegrini has elected to give his Copa America players 30 days to recuperate meaning Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta, and co. will miss the opening match of the season.
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Pellegrini said: “You have so many games throughout the year that if you don't give them 30 days after they've finished their internationals, it's very difficult for them to work hard.
"It's more difficult for the South American players because Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis, Aguero and Fernandinho finished later, the first days of July, so they won't have 30 days. I think when we return to Manchester they will start their preseason.
"Maybe they will not be involved in the first game, but I am sure they will work hard and will be involved as soon as they can."
Carrying the team
Aguero’s importance to Manchester City cannot be overstated. At times last season, it seemed the striker was singlehandedly dragging his side through matches.
His tally of 26 goals meant he was City’s and the English Premier League’s top scorer. The Argentine provides bustling energy up front along with a razor sharp eye for goal.
However, injury problems have plagued his career at the Etihad and one could imagine what Aguero could accomplish when consistently fit.
In turn, it might be best for the player that he rests up over the 30 day period. Rushing the Argentine international back into action too quickly would bring about serious injury.
Lack of options
With Aguero missing out, Pellegrini’s once full forward ranks have now dried out. Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko are both rumoured to be leaving the club, while Wilfried Bony did not travel to City’s preseason site because of injury.
But given the size of the Blue’s squad, there are still ways to get around this obstacle. David Silva has played the false nine role for his country and he could deputize there. A more likely option would be utilising the new signing, Raheem Sterling.
The Englishman has already lead the line for City during pre-season as well as during his time at Anfield. While Sterling has been criticised for not being clinical enough, he is still an above average option up top.
Out of all the absences, Aguero’s creates the most problems for Manchester City. Manuel Pellegrini and his team would do well to bring Aguero back to his optimal best for an assault on the Premier League title.