It’s a measure of how well Man City’s season is going that one of Pep Guardiola’s main concerns is Sergio Aguero scoring too many goals.
The irrepressible Argentine bagged just the four goals against Leicester on Saturday — the third time he’s scored 4+ goals in a Premier League game.
He also became the fourth player to score 20+ goal in four consecutive Prem campaigns after Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry and Harry Kane.
His repeatable brilliance and consistency are perhaps even more impressive than the specifics of his game.
Hang on, we all know he’s a world-class striker, but how can that possibly be a problem?
Try as he might, the fact is Aguero is not Guardiola’s ideal type of centre-forward.
The Catalan boss has expressed his admiration of Aguero’s quality many times since taking charge at the Etihad, it’s not that he doesn’t rate him.
But there’s slight friction between Aguero’s style and his manager’s philosophy.
Aguero’s movement, anticipation and finishing are of the highest class but the issue is all his best attributes are self-serving.
Truly great goalscorers have to be selfish, it’s a necessary trait, and most sides would gladly accommodate a greedy world-class forward.
But the current City team are not like most sides.
For Guardiola, philosophy is everything.
His success comes from an unwavering belief in his system and he’s willing to live and die by his chosen sword.
While Aguero’s overall game is anything but poor, his link-up play with those around him is not his greatest strength.
When someones passes to him, he is reluctant to give the ball back.
Ideally, he wants to be on the end of a move, rather than caught up in the middle of it.
Additionally, his work off the ball when City aren’t in possession is nowhere near as good as Gabriel Jesus’ efforts.
These flaws (if you can even call them that) are deemed largely irrelevant by most of us because of Aguero’s goal returns.
But Guardiola is obsessive and is unlikely to settle for a misshapen piece of the puzzle.
However, with Aguero already on 28 goals and City still in all four competitions, just how good of a season could Guardiola feasibly ignore?
If Aguero scores four more goals this campaign then his two most prosperous seasons in a City shirt would have come under Guardiola’s tutelage.
He’s scored 61 goals in 77 games since the start of last season.
The more goals he scores the harder it will be for Guardiola to justify ditching him.
This season is evidence that having a centre-forward of Aguero’s nature works for Man City.
But Guardiola the perfectionist may be uneasy with settling — he’ll almost certainly seek to improve his squad and to him that means a starting XI reading from his hymn book.
Barring an inspired Arsenal performance in the League Cup final, City have two trophies in the bag already.
Surely Guardiola wouldn’t mess with a winning formula if they were to win either the FA Cup or Champions League as well, with Aguero as top scorer?
It’s entirely possible that Guardiola is planning on Jesus leading the line for the majority of next season.
And it would be criminal to have a forward of Aguero’s ability sit on the bench.
It’s a wonderful problem to have, but something is going to give.
Will it be City’s all-time top scorer, or Guardiola’s masterplan?
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