Football

Praise for Sergio Aguero after his 14th league goal

SUNDERLAND 1

(Connor Wickham 19)

MAN CITY 4

(Sergio Aguero 21, 71, Stevan Jovetic 39, 
Pablo Zabaleta 55)

The plaudits are piling fast for Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, who led the Citizens 
to a precious victory over Sunderland yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Manager Manuel Pellegrini said the 26-year-old is one of the best five players in the world.

Sunderland manager Gustavo Poyet went one better, saying: "Sergio is unique and, at this moment in time, he is one of the top three on-form strikers.

"He has performed week in, week out whether it is against us or Bayern Munich and it shows. We started well, but then Aguero appears from nowhere and does something special."

SPARK

City were 1-0 down before the Argentine international levelled.

Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore, who was on the bench when Aguero fired in a piledriver for City's equaliser, was so taken aback by the ferocity of Aguero's shot that he flinched and exclaimed: "Oh my god!"

Aguero struck again to complete the rout with his 14th league goal of the season.

Said Pellegrini: "There's a lot of good strikers around, but Sergio is one of the finest in the world.

"At this moment, it is difficult for defences to stop him. He is playing a very high performance but he is only 26 and there are so many years left for him 
to strengthen.

"Even before he started scoring in these games in a row, I thought he was among the top five players in the world. I am very happy for him.

"We took him off near the end, but that wasn't down to any injury or a fitness problem.

"He's a very important player for our team, both with the goals he scores and in his link-up play."

Pellegrini also hailed the performances of midfielders Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri after champions City consolidated their position in second place in the table, six points behind leaders Chelsea.

"Yaya played very well. Nasri, after his injury, gave a very high performance."

City's win over the Black Cats, which came after a 3-0 victory over Southampton, prompted Pellegrini to add: "I think we are returning to the performances we had last season.

"I think if we continue playing this way, of course, we will fight for the title, but I think three or four other teams will also 
be there." - Wire Services.


BY THE NUMBERS

14 goals

Sergio Aguero has scored 14 EPL goals this season, equal to the team goals of QPR, Stoke, West Brom and Leicester, and more than Sunderland (13) and Burnley (10).


BEST MINUTE-PER-GOAL STRIKERS IN EPL HISTORY*

1 SERGIO AGUERO 108 MINS

94 goals in 142 appearances for Man City.

2 THIERRY HENRY 122 MINS

228 goals in 377 appearances for Arsenal.

3 RUUD VAN NISTELROOY 128 MINS

150 goals in 219 appearances for Man United.

4 JAVIER HERNANDEZ 130 MINS

59 goals in 154 appearances for Man United.

5 ROBIN VAN PERSIE 138 MINS

52 goals in 89 appearances for Man United, 132 goals in 279 appearances for Arsenal.

* Only for players with a minimum of 100 appearances. Source: Opta

Aguero is fans' pick for Player 
of the Year

ACE: Man City striker Sergio Aguero (far right) firing in the equaliser to spark their 4-1 comeback win over Sunderland.

Manchester City's Argentine striker Sergio Aguero was named Player of the Year in a vote by 250,000 English fans this week - and it probably won't be the last honour he picks up this season.

The 26-year-old, who won the Premier League title with City in May and reached the World Cup final with Argentina in July, topped the Football Supporters Federation (FSF) poll, ahead of City teammate Yaya Toure, Liverpool's Raheem Sterling, Morgan Schneiderlin of Southampton and the Chelsea duo of Eden Hazard and Branislav Ivanovic.

He has scored 19 goals in all competitions already this season and 30 in his last 33 Premier League games.

His unstoppable rocket from 20 metres, which pulled City level at Sunderland yesterday morning (Singapore time), left Sunderland substitute Jozy Altidore exclaiming "Oh my god!".

Aguero has been in superb form all year and, after being honoured by the FSF at its annual gala dinner in London on Monday, he said that the title race was far from over even though City trail leaders Chelsea by six points.

"We are two games behind them, six points, but there is still a long way to go. What is in our favour is that City know how to catch teams - we've done it in the past and can do it again."

Aguero himself is hitting top form with a phenomenal run in recent weeks starting at the end of October, when he scored all four in City's 4-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur.

TOP FORM

He followed that with two against Queens Park Rangers in a 2-2 draw and a match-winning hat-trick in City's 3-2 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League last week.

His two goals in City's 4-1 win at Sunderland yesterday morning took his tally to 11 goals in his last nine league games.

A candidate for the Fifa World XI and the Fifpro World XI, Aguero is also the front-runner for the English Footballer of the Year award at the end of this season. - Reuters.

Kompany could face Roma

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini raised hopes that Vincent Kompany could be fit for their Champions League clash at Roma next Wednesday morning (Singapore time).

The injured City captain missed the 4-1 win over Sunderland yesterday morning (Singapore time) and will also sit out tomorrow's visit by Everton.

But Pellegrini revealed after the win that the 28-year-old Belgian international's hamstring problem is not as serious as first feared.

To progress to the knockout stage, City must beat Roma and hope that CSKA Moscow do not beat already-qualified Bayern Munich.

A score draw could also be enough if CSKA lose.

Pellegrini said: "Vincent is improving, and maybe it's not as serious as we thought in the beginning. We'll see 
what happens... but at this stage, he's
got a chance." - AFP.

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