Of all the serious attacking threats that Premier League table-toppers and reigning champions Manchester City possess in their armoury, there is one that Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United must be especially aware of when the two teams meet at London Stadium this afternoon.
It comes in the form of Argentine striker Sergio Aguero and just hours ahead of kick-off in East London, we are going to analyse three reasons why West Ham must be extra-weary of the threat carried by the 30-year-old forward. As they look to go four league matches unbeaten and avoid defeat against the Citizens for the first time in almost three years.
His Record Against West Ham
The first reason we are going to be taking an in-depth look at in this statistics-driven tactical analysis is the forward’s tremendous record against the Hammers, since facing them for the first time in the 2012/2013 season, following his move to Manchester from Atletico Madrid.
To do this, we have enlisted the help of our good friends over at transfermarkt.com, whom we’ve acquired the above graphic from, containing Aguero’s career record against the East London outfit.
As you can see, impressively, Man City’s all-time leading goalscorer has netted against the Irons in all three competitions he’s faced them in, the Premier League, English League Cup and FA Cup.
This is some feat considering he has only faced the club once in two of those competitions, scoring one in each tournament against West Ham in one appearance and six in 11 in the English top-flight.
The figures make the 89-cap Argentina international and legend of Argentine football such a threat as he knows how to punish the East Londoners, as evidenced by his staggering eight goals in only 13 matches in all competitions against them.
In these 13 games for Blue Moon, the side, under three different managers in Roberto Mancini, current Hammers boss Pellegrini and current gaffer Guardiola, won nine and drew and lost just two. This record displays that when Aguero finds the back of the net against the Hammers, the majority of the time, City tend to take home the three points.
However, it must be noted that the star man’s last goal against the boys in Claret & Blue came all the way back in January 2017 and he has also never done something he has achieved against many teams against the Irons, scored a hat-trick. This will fill Pellegrini, a man who knows him very well, with some confidence for this afternoon’s fearsome encounter.
His All-Time Premier League Record
The second of our three reasons in this tactical analysis is the dangerous front man’s overall all-time Premier League record since joining the world’s most competitive league and lifting the famous trophy three times so far.
Aguero’s attacking and team play stats along with his record in world football’s toughest league are contained in the above two images, taken from the Premier League’s official website.
As you can see, in an eye-catching 218 appearances in the highest tier of English football, the three-time PL, three-time League Cup, one-time Europa League winner and FIFA World Cup 2014 finalist has notched 151 goals and 39 assists, contributing heavily to almost 200 strikes.
An indicator of how strong the Citizens have been with the deadly striker in their ranks is the fact that he nearly has as many Premier League wins as goals, with 143, just 35 losses and 40 draws.
His goals per game ratio having joined City in the same year the Hammers gained promotion back to the Premier League from the Championship is enough to strike fear into any defence, with 0.69 goals per game.
Other stats that leap out from the two columns above show us that, frighteningly, Aguero still could have a hell of a lot more goals in the league in light blue, having 856 shots, 359 of which have been on target, also hitting the woodwork on 24 occasions and missing a mind-blowing 108 big chances.
Another fragment of the veteran’s game that the hosts must watch out for when he inevitably starts for Guardiola’s men this afternoon is his creative side, laying on 39 assists for teammates over the years and creating 52 big chances. The two-time U20 World Cup winner is as much of a threat creating than he is scoring himself.
His Record This season
The last of the three reasons why West Ham must be extra-wary of the Aguero threat is one that proves, nowadays, even at the ripe old footballing age of 30, the South American sensation is still as dangerous as ever. His record this season.
In order to truly understand the way that Aguero has performed so far in his team’s quest to make it back-to-back titles, we are going to analyse his average attacking stats in all competitions in 2018/2019 thus far. These are provided to us in the graphic above by our good friends over at wyscout.com.
The first figure we are drawn to, beside a mini heatmap displaying his average positioning this campaign so far is his remarkable goals per 90 minutes average of 0.88, lethal and very nearly a goal a game. Having netted eight in the league and one in the UEFA Champions League so far.
In fact, at this early stage of the term, the Premier League Golden Boot winner of 2014/2015 is leading the top scorers’ list in the PL with eight goals from the 12 games, one clear of nearest contenders Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Eden Hazard. And three clear of Hammers top scorer Marko Arnautovic on five.
He has also averaged 0.32 assists, to add to over five shots per 90 minutes with close to half of them being on target and one of the best expected goals ratings in the division, of 0.85.
By analysing just a selection of these wonderful stats, merely the tip of the iceberg, we discover that not only has Aguero been able to keep his high standards of old up so far this term, but he is perhaps playing the best football of his career this term. Based on this, the Argentina man may just prove unstoppable to a strong West Ham defence in Stratford.
In conclusion, our statistical tactical analysis today has found that there exists a trio of very compelling reasons why West Ham must be extra-wary of the threat posed by Aguero today. Alongside watching out for his attacking comrades, who together, form one of the best attacks in world football.
This is without even touching on the fact that City’s postman was rested by his nation during the international break and will, therefore, be fresher and hungrier than ever to put the Irons and his ex-manager through some more misery. It’s unknown what tactic Pellegrini will use to try to stop Aguero at London Stadium, but there can be little doubting that a prayer will also be needed to accompany it.
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