October 21, 2015

Who needs Aguero?

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

Sergio Aguer-who? David Silv-ha?

It turns out Manchester City might not need either of those guys if it can get performances like it did this week from its other stars.

With Aguero, Silva, Aleksander Kolarov and Vincent Kompany all out thanks to injuries suffered over the dreaded international break, It was Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Bony who stepped up big time against Bournemouth.

Sterling picked up a hat trick while Bony had a brace – pretty good for a guy that just admitted that he was suffering from Malaria when he joined the team in January.

Kevin De Bruyne also continued his run of good form, picking up another assist.

This sort of result shows a nice turnaround for a team that usually wilts when the going gets tough. Even a couple of weeks ago, with City down a couple good players, they faltered and dropped three straight games. That has changed.

With a pressure-packed Manchester Derby on tap this Sunday and first place on the line, you can’t count out United’s noisy neighbours.


Hat tricks are becoming a weekly occurrence in the Premier League, but this one I don’t think anybody saw coming – and no, we’re not talking about Sterling.

Georginio Wijnaldum scored four for Newcastle on Saturday, putting him in a surprising tie for second in the league scoring table, behind just Jamie Vardy.

The Dutch midfielder was one of a couple big names brought to the northeast this summer and is looking on excellent form. In fact, he now has five goals and an assist in the past three games.

With the Magpies looking at a good run of fixtures coming up, Steve McLaren might be able to turn this team around.

I mean, it couldn’t get worse, considering this week’s 6-2 win over Norwich was Newcastle’s first of the season.

This Sunday’s Tyneside Derby will be the biggest one in years with both teams in the relegation zone. It should make for an interesting watch if you’re not down for the battle of Manchester.

Credit should also go to Moussa Sissoko for his three assists and Ayoze Perez and Aleksandar Mitrovic for potting the other two goals.


Speaking of Vardy, the last time he didn’t pick up a goal or assist in a game was August 15. Now that’s a good run of form … Is the Tinkerman tinkering too much? We thought it was a case of giving a player rest when on-fire Riyad Mahrez was benched before the international break, but now it’s just crazy. Mahrez was only subbed on at half, picking up an assist in his 45 minutes. That production should get him a full 90 from Claudio Ranieri, right? … The Swans are sinking. After starting out the season strong, Swansea has fallen into the bottom half of the table after being blanked by Stoke … The Jurgen Klopp era starts with a 0-0 draw against Spurs. Not much more to say about that other than you should know to expect growing pains with the German installing his style of play … Daniel Sturridge missed a game with an injury? No! You don’t say … Arsenal is finally hitting some great form. Alexis Sanchez is playing excellent and Mesut Ozil looks like the World Cup-winner that he is. Hell, the Gunner even beat Bayern Munich on Tuesday. This is a team to be feared right now … United blanking in-form Everton is an excellent result. Louis Van Gaal must be hoping this form carries over to the derby … There’s no slowing down West Ham. With yet another win, the Irons remained in fourth place. How much longer can this dream run last?


Jose Mourinho is getting desperate and its showing.

After looking lost for a while now, Eden Hazard – the reigning player of the year – was benched against Aston Villa.

Baba Rahman replaced an injured Branislav Ivanovic – who has been awful this season – and Kurt Zouma got another start. Even Ruben Loftus-Cheek was in the starting XI.

While you could point to Tuesday’s Champions League game as a reason to rest some players, Chelsea looked a lot better in beating Villa than it did in a 0-0 draw against Dynamo Kiev.

But this is a team that needs the shakeup. A quick look at its scoring leaders will tell you that a fellow named Own Goal is at the top of the chart.

Diego Costa returned from his three-game ban to pick up a fortunate goal, but he’s another Chelsea player that needs to find his way.

It already seems too late for a title push, but Mourinho needs to find a spark to get this team back into the Champions League next season –be it through a fourth-place finish or winning the Champions League, which seems pretty unlikely at this point.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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