The new ‘Spe­cial One’

> Guardi­ola hails Aguero after scor­ing twice in the first half against West Brom

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

SER­GIO AGUERO was branded Manch­ester City’s ‘Spe­cial One’ after end­ing the worst run of man­ager Pep Guardi­ola’s ca­reer.

Ar­gentina for­ward Aguero scored twice in the first half against West Bromwich Al­bion be­fore set­ting up the third for Ilkay Gun­do­gan, who also grabbed the fi­nal goal in City’s 4-0 win at the Hawthorns.

It was a wel­come re­sult for City boss Guardi­ola, who had gone six games in all com­pe­ti­tions without a win.

City re­main top of the Premier League on goal dif­fer­ence ahead of Arse­nal de­spite their re­cent strug­gles and they can now look for­ward to to­day’s Cham­pi­ons League clash against Barcelona with more con­fi­dence.

Aguero’s dou­ble took his tally to 13 goals this sea­son and he will chase his 150th for City when Guardi­ola’s for­mer club visit East­lands this week.

After drop­ping Aguero for City’s 4-0 de­feat at Barcelona re­cently, Guardi­ola was de­lighted with the con­tri­bu­tion of the for­mer Atletico Madrid star.

“Ser­gio is a spe­cial player. But I would like to con­vince him how im­por­tant he is for us,” Guardi­ola said.

“We need him a lot and when he’s in that mood and shows that hunger, Ser­gio is de­fin­i­tive. He’s an im­por­tant part of this club and we want to try to help him to be­come a big­ger and big­ger part of this fan­tas­tic club.

“Ser­gio is so im­por­tant for us. We don’t have too many strik­ers – we have Ser­gio and Kelechi (Iheana­cho) but he’s too young and he has to learn a lot.”

Aguero was sac­ri­ficed for tac­ti­cal rea­sons in the first meet­ing with Barca, but Guardi­ola ad­mit­ted his tal­is­man has earned his place in the team for the re­turn.

Asked if the marks­man will start against Barcelona, he said: “I think so! But I’m not go­ing to tell you which po­si­tion!”

Guardi­ola was also pleased with Gun­do­gan after the Ger­man play­maker net­ted his first brace in English foot­ball.

“Ser­gio scored two but so did Gun­do­gan. He has the qual­i­ties with the ball in the mid­dle, he’s safe and he’s re­ally good with the ball one against one at­tack­ing cen­tral de­fend­ers. He showed that with the first goal with the pass to Ser­gio,” Guardi­ola said.

Guardi­ola ad­mit­ted City needed to end their win­less run – so they didn’t lose their heads. “I was very pleased – after six games we needed a win for the head (minds),” he added.

“The prob­lem when you haven’t won for six games is you lack a bit of con­fi­dence for the next one. That hap­pened in that pe­riod but we played well. But when you don’t win, your ar­gu­ment about how many good things you did sound like ex­cuses.

“When we win you’re right, when we don’t, Pre­ston 15 6 QPR 15 5 Ip­swich 15 4 As­ton Villa 14 3 Wolves 15 4 Burton 15 4 Derby 15 4 Nottm For­est 15 4 Cardiff 15 4 Wi­gan 15 3 Black­burn 15 3 Rother­ham 15 1 2 7 19 19 20 4 6 16 21 19 6 5 12 14 18 8 3 14 14 17 5 6 17 18 17 5 6 18 20 17 5 6 9 11 17 3 8 24 29 15 3 8 13 23 15 5 7 14 16 14 4 8 15 23 13 4 10 16 35 7

LA LIGA:

(Ramis 80, Pe­dro Leon 87) (Bruno 41-pen), (Moi Gomez 20) (Vi­etto 4), (Deyver­son 7) (Ron­aldo 17-pen, 33, 88, Mo­rata 84),

(Car­rasco 6, 86, Gameiro 24, 43) (Sandro 31, Ca­ma­cho 64), (Rafinha 48) (Wil­lian Jose 30, Xabi Pri­eto 59).

PWD FA Pts Real Madrid 10 7 3 28 10 24 Barcelona 10 7 1 30 12 22 Atletico Madrid10 6 3 25 6 21 Sevilla 10 6 3 18 13 21 Vil­lar­real 10 5 4 17 7 19 Real So­ciedad 10 5 1 16 12 16 Eibar 10 4 3 16 14 15 Ath­letic Bil­bao 9 5 0 14 12 15 Celta Vigo 9 4 1 13 17 13 Las Pal­mas 9 3 3 17 15 12 Malaga 10 3 3 14 14 12 Real Betis 9 3 2 11 19 11 Alaves 10 2 4 10 15 10 Le­ganes 10 3 1 9 19 10 Va­len­cia 9 3 0 13 18 9 Gi­jon 10 2 3 8 19 9 Es­panyol 9 1 5 12 17 8 De­portivo 9 2 2 6 14 8 Os­asuna 9 1 3 11 19 6 Granada 10 0 3 8 24 3

SERIE A: Im­mo­bile 55) (Bon­aven­tura 49) (Kalinic 31-pen), (Bonucci 50, Higuain 70) (Calle­jon 54). PWD FA Pts 11 9 0 21 8 27 11 7 2 26 12 23 Ju­ven­tus Roma

L0 2 1 1 1 4 3 4 4 3 4 4 4 6 6 5 3 5 5 7

(Kur­tic 36, 45+2, Gomez 84) (Trotta 45+3-pen, Fal­cinelli 90+2) (Lulic 50, (De­frel 57),

L2 2 you just look for ex­cuses. That’s why it was so im­por­tant to win the game and I was very pleased with our per­for­mance in the first half.

“We won 4-0 but in the sec­ond half West Brom showed how good the Premier League is. For me it was dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand why we had con­trol in the first half, and then we didn’t in the sec­ond half with the same play­ers.

“At 60, 65 min­utes, any­thing could have hap­pened, but the mo­ment Ilkay Gun­do­gan scored the third goal, the game was al­most over.”

West Brom as­sis­tant head coach Dave Kemp ad­mit­ted they couldn’t live with Aguero.

“Aguero’s two goals were tremen­dous. You know he’s a good player but you hope he’s off colour a lit­tle bit. He wasn’t, and you find your­self in trou­ble,” Kemp said. – AFP Mi­lan Lazio Napoli Ata­lanta Fiorentina Torino Genoa Chievo In­ter Udi­nese Sas­suolo Cagliari Bologna Sam­p­do­ria Pescara Em­poli Palermo Cro­tone 11 7 11 6 11 6 11 6 10 4 10 4 10 4 11 4 10 4 10 4 11 4 10 4 11 3 10 3 11 1 11 1 10 1 11 1 1 3 2 1 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 4 2 4 4 3 2 3 2 3 4 2 3 3 4 4 5 6 5 4 5 6 6 6 8 17 14 22 21 12 21 20 12 20 16 13 19 13 10 16 20 13 15 12 10 15 11 12 15 13 13 14 13 16 13 14 19 13 17 23 13 11 15 13 11 16 11 9 16 7 2 13 7 7 19 6 10 21 5

BUN­DESLIGA: (Malli 51-pen, Oz­tu­nali 85) (Arnold 37) (Mehmedi 79, Jed­vaj 84), (Koo 67) (Le­wandowski 19, 48, Robben 21), (Gar­cia 67) (Philipp 29, Grifo 39-pen, Abrashi 75), (Sab­itzer 57, 82),

PWDL Bay­ern 9 7 2 0 RB Leipzig 9 6 3 0 Hertha Ber­lin 8 5 2 1 Hof­fen­heim 8 4 4 0 Dort­mund 9 4 3 2 Cologne 8 4 3 1 Frank­furt 9 4 3 2 Freiburg 9 5 0 4 Mainz 05 9 4 2 3 Lev­erkusen 9 4 1 4 M’glad­bach 9 3 3 3 Schalke 04 9 2 2 5 Augsburg 9 2 2 5 Darm­stadt 98 9 2 2 5 Bre­men 9 2 1 6 Wolfs­burg 9 1 3 5 In­gol­stadt 04 9 0 2 7 Ham­burg 8 0 2 6

F A Pts 23 5 23 17 6 21 14 9 17 16 10 16 20 10 15 13 6 15 13 8 15 13 13 15 16 15 14 13 13 13 10 12 12 10 11 8 8 14 8 8 17 8 11 24 7 6 13 6 7 19 2 2 15 2

LIGUE 1: Nice 4 Nantes 1, Toulouse 1 Lyon 2, Guingamp 1 (De Pauw 78) Angers 0, Lori­ent 2 Mont­pel­lier 2, Bas­tia 0 Di­jon 0, Nancy 2 Caen 0, Sain­tE­ti­enne 1 Monaco 1, Lille 0 Paris Saint-Ger­main 1.

West Bromwich Al­bion’s Jonas Ols­son tack­les Manch­ester City’s Ser­gio Aguero (right) for the ball dur­ing their English Premier League match at The Hawthorns sta­dium yes­ter­day. –

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