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Dublin: 9°C Saturday 24 October 2020

Will Aguero miss Manchester derby and more Premier League talking points

Plus, why it was a mixed day for Ireland international winger James McClean.

Sergio Aguero was the subject of controversy at the Etihad today.
Sergio Aguero was the subject of controversy at the Etihad today.
Image: EMPICS Sport

1. Should Sergio Aguero have been sent off?

WHILE THERE WERE plenty of positives for Pep Guardiola to take from Man City’s 3-1 victory over West Ham at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon, one sour note involved an incident in relation to star striker Sergio Aguero.

With City under pressure at the time, as they led 2-1 with 15 minutes remaining, Aguero was lucky to avoid a red card as he appeared to intentionally elbow West Ham defender Winston Reid.

With his actions, the 28-year-old striker could easily have cost his team points, as many felt he should have been given his marching orders.

In a column for the Daily Mail in reaction to this afternoon’s match, former referee Graham Poll wrote: “His fist was clenched to add power to the elbow and inflict damage and he should have been sent off for violent conduct.”

However, having not properly seen the incident as it happened, official Andre Marriner still has the option to punish the player retrospectively through video evidence.

If Marriner takes a second look and concludes that the elbow was deliberate, as he surely must, then Aguero is likely to miss the upcoming Manchester derby after the international break.

2. Mixed day for McClean

West Bromwich Albion v Middlesbrough - Premier League - The Hawthorns Source: Nick Potts

It was very much a mixed day for James McClean at the Hawthorns.

The Ireland international started in the Premier League for the first time this season, and in a first half short on highlights, McClean looked like one of the few players capable of bringing the game to life with his bursting runs at the Boro defence.

However, commenting on the action, Sky pundit Thierry Henry suggested that, for all McClean’s good work, his final product is invariably lacking, and despite some bright moments, this criticism rang true today.

In what was a poor match, West Brom were left frustrated by Middlesbrough, as the game ended in a stalemate, with McCean ultimately replaced by 17-year-old Jonathan Leko on 64 minutes.

Moreover, the former Derry City footballer is not the only Irish player who appears to be suffering from a post-Euro 2016 hangover in the early stages of this season – something that is surely a concern for Martin O’Neill ahead of Ireland’s opening World Cup qualifier in Serbia next week.

3. Big teams enjoy excellent start but greater challenges lie ahead

Prior to the start of the season, many pundits tipped Chelsea, Man United and Man City as likely Premier League title challengers.

And the experts will be feeling vindicated so far, with all three sides maintaining 100% records having played three games apiece.

Yet all three are hardly without flaws — Man City looked shaky at times in the second half against West Ham today, while United had to rely on a last-gasp goal to beat Hull on Saturday and Chelsea are largely the same team that finished 10th last season.

City, in particular, enjoyed a superb start last season, but don’t be deceived — as the fixtures pile up and the domestic and European cup competitions begin to occupy their time, injuries and fatigue will increasingly become a factor for England’s footballing superpowers, and only then will people truly discover if Messrs Mourinho, Conte and Guardiola have made the desired impact at their new clubs.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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