Sergio Aguero plays down heroics after scoring hat-trick in Man City's win over Newcastle

Andy Hampson 21/01/2018
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Sergio Aguero played down his own heroics after Manchester City got their title charge moving again with victory over his favourite whipping boys Newcastle.

The Argentinian proved the scourge of Newcastle yet again by scoring a hat-trick as Premier League leaders City ran out 3-1 winners at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Aguero put five past the Magpies in one game in 2015 and his latest treble – his second of the season – took his overall tally against them to 14 in 12 games.

But it was City’s return to winning ways, after last week’s first league loss of the season at Liverpool, that most pleased Aguero.

The 29-year-old said: “In the Premier League all games are difficult but obviously against Newcastle I have a really good record. That sometimes happens against teams and I am really happy for the goals, but especially for the three points.

“They were really important for us and that is really going to help us a lot in the race for the Premier League.”

Manchester City players celebrate a goal.

Manchester City players celebrate a goal.

City’s victory prevented any further erosion of what remains a formidable 12-point lead at the top of the table. It looked like being a comfortable afternoon after Aguero, on his 200th Premier League appearance, put the hosts into a 2-0 lead. He opened the scoring by getting the faintest of touches to a Kevin De Bruyne cross in the 34th minute and then doubled the lead with a penalty after Raheem Sterling was fouled.

Sterling also hit the post as City dominated but Newcastle gave themselves hope with a fine breakaway goal from Jacob Murphy.

Those hopes were extinguished by Aguero, who completed a ‘perfect’ hat-trick of header, right and left-foot strikes, after a mazy Leroy Sane run seven minutes from time.

After the 4-3 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield last weekend, Aguero felt City found a level they now need to maintain.

“It is going to depend on us,” said Aguero, whose performance was a timely reminder of his ability after the club recently pulled out of a deal for Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez.

“We have a good team, we are in good shape. I think if we keep going the same way, the Premier League will be easier for us to win in the end.”

Jacob Murphy celebrates after scoring Newcastle's only goal.

Jacob Murphy celebrates after scoring Newcastle’s only goal.

Newcastle’s loss left them just above the relegation zone at a time of uncertainty at St James’ Park following reports last week that takeover talks had collapsed.

Yet after also losing only 1-0 to City in December, defender Paul Dummett feels they should take encouragement from how they have played against Pep Guardiola’s impressive side.

Dummett told the club’s website, www.nufc.co.uk: “I think against Man City, twice, we’ve performed, even though we defended quite a lot of the time. I think we have frustrated them.

“They’re quite a lot clear in the league now. You can’t say they’re definitely going to win it but they’re probably the best team I’ve played against in my career. We can learn a lot off them, watching what they do.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Michael Carrick and his fellow Man United legends should be running the club

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Can't buy experience: Michael Carrick celebrating Manchester United's Europa League win (all Getty).

Memories of a stormy night in Moscow are all that will be left from this summer after Michael Carrick announced his intention to join Manchester United’s coaching staff.

When the 36-year-old receives a deserved ovation upon his final run-out at Old Trafford, it will signal the last departure from the side which conquered Europe all the way back in 2007/08.

Luminaries for whom you’d imagine any organisation would want to retain and harvest as much of the legendary experience gained in this cherished time period. But not if you are the Red Devils.

Forget mere coaching positions, competitors at home and abroad do not view the idea of entrusting celebrated footballers to carry out football operations as a misnomer.

At Juventus, Bayern Munich, Ajax, Manchester City and beyond, this approach would be deemed incompatible with sporting and commercial achievement.

Delivering apt acclaim for this lionised, Champions League-winning line-up is hard to achieve. It was littered with world-class performers, of whom the majority stuck around to claim 13 major trophies between the reinvigorating 2006/07 Premier League success and 2012/13 last top-flight title which heralded the tumultuous exit of manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

The most-glorious era at one of the world’s storied clubs.

Carrick was then in the process of proving he deserved to be in the exalted company of men like midfield terrier Paul Scholes and ‘Welsh wizard’ Ryan Giggs. Those two, in retirement, have either divorced from the club (Giggs) or been denied a permanent route back in (Scholes).

If Carrick had chosen to break free upon 2017/18’s completion, it would have ensured none of the iconic roster remain within this gargantuan outfit’s infrastructure. Not on the training pitch, not in the boardroom, not anywhere.

What a colossal waste of human resource – even accounting for Carrick’s retention.

But it does beg the question whether such a cerebral footballer deserves consideration for a higher calling?

Even if Carrick wants to only follow the coaching path, like Steven Gerrard at Liverpool, why are none of his United contemporaries gaining experience and contributing to the running of the club?

Sir Bobby Charlton has held a seat on the board since 1984. There is no sign of such a position being given out today.

Inside the Theatre of Dreams’ corridors, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and group managing director Richard Arnold carry out the Glazers’ bidding. Woodward’s position, in particular, encompasses both commercial and sporting activities.

Signs that a grasp on buying premium footballers was belatedly gained with the skilled acquisition of Paul Pogba in August 2016, thus ending the world’s most-expensive work-experience placement.

David Moyes, for all his faults, was left hanging in a summer of 2013 that promised Gareth Bale but only delivered an over-priced Marouane Fellaini. A learned hand was then unable to correct the procrastinating excesses of Louis van Gaal, before Mourinho offered clarity and contacts.

Expensive mistakes that an expert’s eye would have avoided.

It is common practice at many of United’s rivals, at home and abroad, to give a much-wider remit to the men who played with distinction.

Michael Carrick (c) with the UEFA Champions League trophy in 2008.

Michael Carrick (c) with the UEFA Champions League trophy in 2008.

Among many examples, two-time World Cup runner-up Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and World Cup-winner Uli Hoeness have ballooned Bayern Munich’s already healthy revenues and standing within the game.

2003 Ballon d’Or winner Pavel Nedved is the vice-chairman of Juventus’ board of directors, Emilio Butragueno has parlayed being Real Madrid’s finest footballer of the 1980s into a range of prominent administrative and footballing positions there.

Knowledge accrued in almost 500 appearances for Borussia Dortmund has allowed Michael Zorc to become a tremendously successful sporting director for them.

At the “noisy neighbours”, Txiki Begiristain is the conductor behind City’s recruitment process which has blossomed under his former Barcelona team-mate Pep Guardiola.

Soon after exiting United in 2011, goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar became Ajax’s marketing director. He has since been promoted to CEO, combining with director of football Marc Overmars to ignominiously dismiss their celebrated Netherlands peer Dennis Bergkamp from the coaching staff last month.

Whether Carrick desires a similar path, is unknown. Yet it is the fact that it is, seemingly, closed off to him and his team-mates which puts United behind the curve.

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Man City player ratings v Newcastle as perfect Aguero hat-trick earns him a 10

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Sergio Aguero

Manchester City bounced back from their first defeat in the Premier League this season against Liverpool with a 3-1 win over Newcastle at the Etihad on Saturday.

Sergio Aguero was the match winner as he scored a superb hat-trick.

Here we rate the performances of the City players.

RATINGS

Ederson – Barely had anything to do for the most part but was beaten Murphy’s chipped finish. Had to stop Diame’s shot in the second half before fumbling the collection and having to dive in at the midfielders feet to thwart him again. 6

Walker – Played like an extra winger with City enjoying so much possession. Nearly set up Aguero on one occasion. Was good in the air. Should’ve done better with his crossing though. 6

Stones – Was caught holding a high line when Newcastle scored against the run of play. Wasn’t as influential playing out from the back as he normally is. 5

Otamendi – Was solid at the back and looked to step out and join the midfield at every opportunity. 6

Zinchenko – Acquitted himself well and saw plenty of the ball. Switched off a bit for the goal though. 6

De Bruyne – Brilliant in midfield, created chance after chance, four key passes in total but so much more in penetration and build up play. Was unlucky not to score but provided the cross for the opener. 9

Fernandinho – With seven aerial duels won and eight clearances he was City’s best from a defensive perspective. 7

Silva – Wasn’t at his unplayable best but coasted through the game. His passing was instrumental in moving the Newcastle defence around. 6

Sterling – Unlucky to have a goal ruled out for offside, although it was the right call. Did well to win the penalty for the second and was always a threat in behind. 7

Aguero – Continued to terrorise Newcastle with the perfect hat-trick – header, right foot, left foot. Set up De Bruyne a couple of times as well. Was at his clinical best. 10

Sané – So much pace, skill and trickery. Produced a piece of magic for the third goal. 8

Manchester City

Manchester City

SUBS

Bernardo (for Sterling 86′) – N/A

Diaz (for Sane 87′) – N/A

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