Sergio Aguero's best and most memorable Manchester City goals
With 177 goals, Sergio Aguero has equalled Eric Brook's Manchester City's scoring record. We ranked the 10 best and most memorable from the dynamic Argentine striker.
Sometimes the most thrilling goals are when you think the scorer has made a mess of things but then recovers. When Aguero stabbed the ball past Sebastian Coates in this game against Sunderland, he looked as if he'd ceded possession before an opportunity to shoot came up. But no. A combination of his own acceleration and, quite possibly, the realisation from the Sunderland defenders that "wait a second, that's Sergio Aguero," allowed him to collect the ball and line up a shot. All that was left to do was smash a shot from outside the area into the net.
This is less about the pure quality of the goal -- although it was a fine strike, sharply robbing a dithering Jerome Boateng before fending off three defenders and slipping a neat finish past Manuel Neuer -- and more about the game and Aguero's performance. The Argentine had given City the lead with a penalty, but for much of the game, Pep Guardiola's Bayern ran rings around City, a perfect demonstration of possession football, particularly as Medhi Benatia had been sent off. But in the end, City came back, all thanks to Aguero who manufactured two goals to complete his hat trick and the victory.
Aguero quite liked playing against Norwich. He scored six goals in seven appearances against them, in fact, and there were some crackers. There was a solo effort at Carrow Road, a neat finish at the Etihad and this, an implausible wriggle out of trouble in the area before that most unfairly of maligned finishes, the toe-poke. If there were any cameras in the right place at the right time of this goal, they might have been able to capture another version of that old photograph of Diego Maradona, seemingly surrounded by Belgian defenders forced to gather en masse to stop him.
Part of being a top-class striker is being able to find space. Some do that with trickery, some use strength, but the best tend to instinctively find the room with a combination of wits and touch. Aguero provided a brilliant example of the latter here, receiving the ball on the left of the area and in one fluid movement, controlling, shifting into space and a shooting chance, all while losing his marker. From there the finish was relatively straightforward, or, at least, it was straightforward for Aguero, although for many mere "footballers" as opposed to transcendent talents, it might have been quite tricky.
There wasn't a great deal to recommend this game to Manchester City fans: one of Jurgen Klopp's early fixtures as Liverpool manager, it was one of those occasions when Liverpool looked like world beaters as they ran out 4-1 winners. But in among all that, Aguero reminded them who actually was world class, with this absolute hammer of a goal. He cut in from the left, sent Lucas Leiva this way, then that way, before curling with controlled power into the bottom corner of the net.
This was an odd, slightly sleepy game in which Burnley frustrated Manchester City for long spells, until of course, up popped Aguero. Raheem Sterling advanced on the goalkeeper, either tripped or dived, and the loose ball ran toward the line. Two defenders stationed themselves on the line while Aguero chased after it, but neither looked especially concerned: the angle was narrowing, Aguero was running at full pelt, and goalkeeper Tom Heaton was up and going for the save too. An error, as it turned out, because Aguero casually belted the ball into the net. Because he's Aguero.
Nine minutes. That's how long it took Aguero to score the first of his Manchester City goals. Having played in the Copa America that summer, Aguero had only been training with his new team for a few days when he was brought on in their game against Swansea. He'd already gone close twice by the time he opened his account nine minutes after coming on, but in the last minute of the game he collected the ball around 35 yards out, set his sights and walloped it low into the bottom corner for a second. It was a fine start, and more importantly, an entirely representative one too.
The league title was already virtually over by this point of the 2012-13 season, a disappointing City ultimately finishing 11 points shy of a Manchester United side who would wrap things up in their next home game. But Aguero at least gave them something to think about in the closing weeks of that season. He picked the ball up on the left side of the area, around 25 yards out, then made a diagonal run across the box, bursting between a few defenders from whom he received a couple of slight nudges, almost sending him to the ground. Somehow Aguero managed to maintain his balance, for just long enough to absolutely leather the ball into the top corner, zipping past David De Gea's fingertips on the way in.
Some goals rely on skill, some on power, some on persistence and some on athleticism. And then there are some that rely on an almost implausible appreciation of angles and pinpoint finishing. Admittedly, Pepe Reina helped Aguero out significantly by, for reasons known only to him, wandering over to the side of his area like an overenthusiastic cinema usher, trying to shoo the ball away from goal. With almost any other striker he would have been OK, but Aguero moved the ball past the Liverpool keeper and, with probably about a yard of the goal to aim at, he guided it home.
Obviously, this is the top goal. It's probably the most important -- certainly most dramatic -- single goal in the English top flight since Michael Thomas' for Arsenal in 1989. But what can almost get missed in the size of the goal is its quality: it is, objectively and stripped of context, a terrific strike. In this situation, needing one goal to win a title they'd already thrown away a couple of times in the closing weeks of that season, you'd forgive City for pumping the ball long. Instead, they basically played as they usually would, with perhaps a shade more urgency. Nigel de Jong fed Aguero, who laid it off to Mario Balotelli. The Italian had the presence of mind to slightly delay his return pass, and Aguero -- despite receiving a set of Nedum Onuoha's studs to his knee -- kept his balance and powered home. Under these circumstances, utterly extraordinary. Under any circumstances, still brilliant.
Nick Miller is a writer for ESPN FC, covering Premier League and European football. Follow him on Twitter @NickMiller79.