There will have been a bittersweet feeling in the Manchester City locker room after their 3-1 win against West Ham on Sunday.
Pep Guardiola’s team have nine points from nine after a brace from Raheem Sterling but Sergio Aguero spoiled the party with an elbow on Winston Reid.
If precedent is followed, City’s star man will miss the next three games. That includes the Manchester derby on September 10 against fellow table-toppers United.
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Being without Aguero seriously hurts City, who have Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfried Bony as backups. It will also deny us the opportunity to watch Aguero go head-to-head with Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Old Trafford.
But City fans shouldn’t be fearing the worst just yet. There remains a glimmer of hope that the Argentinian will escape a ban.
Anyone watching replays of the incident will have been perplexed to see referee Andre Marriner miss the incident. The official had a clear view of the incident, as the picture below shows, yet chose to play on.
It’s for this reason that City are “hopeful” Aguero won’t be punished, according to the Manchester Evening News.
The FA can choose to review the footage, which will most likely lead to a three-match ban.
But because the altercation was clearly seen by Marriner, the Citizens hope the case won’t even go before a review panel.
Did Marriner see it?
Aguero can still be punished if Marriner confirms he saw the incident, but former Premier League referee Graham Poll doesn’t think his ex-colleague did.
“Andre Marriner failed to see the elbow despite his proximity and so the Football Association will be able to use video evidence and charge him,” Poll wrote in the Daily Mail.
The incident occurred in the 77th minute as Aguero and Reid tussled for the ball. West Ham’s defence hadn’t given the striker a sniff during the game and Aguero’s frustration eventually told.
Guardiola: Hopefully nothing happens
Both Pep Guardiola and Slaven Bilic claimed not to have witnessed the altercation, the City boss adding: “Hopefully nothing happens. If it happens, we accept and adapt.
“If we lose him, we lose him. We are going to play with 11.”