Sergio Aguero has carried the burden for Manchester City
Manchester City are still chasing an incredible quadruple
Last Updated: 12/03/19 11:04pm
Sergio Aguero scored twice in Manchester City's 7-0 win at home to Schalke on Tuesday as they moved effortlessly into the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
The importance of the striker has never been more apparent than in recent weeks as Pep Guardiola has turned to him again and again despite their hectic schedule…
Aguero showed great calm for his first goal, coping with a VAR delay before dinking his penalty over the Schalke goalkeeper, and then displayed wonderful balance for his second before forcing the ball into the net. Another two goals for the collection.
City demolish sorry Schalke
Manchester City cruised into the Champions League quarter-finals as an emphatic 7-0 second-leg victory over Schalke saw them progress 10-2 on aggregate.
The Argentine's record at the Etihad Stadium is particularly ludicrous right now. He has scored 11 goals in front of the Manchester City home supporters since the turn of the year. For context, Manchester United as a team have scored nine at Old Trafford in that period.
Aguero is absolutely pivotal for Pep Guardiola these days. The striker was even involved in the build-up to his second goal, further evidence of how he is so much more than a mere poacher in this team. He has adapted to the demands and has made himself indispensable.
No wonder Guardiola took him off after 63 minutes once the tie was won. He knows that he needs to protect Aguero if City are to maintain this improbable push on four fronts.
The No 10 has shouldered the burden so well in recent weeks.
If there is a concern it's that Aguero is being pushed to his limit. He has now played 999 minutes of football since January 20. That's a 52-day period in which he has had to play 13 times and been pressed into midweek action six times. It's been a big ask.
Gabriel Jesus has been sat on the bench for the vast majority of those games, biding his time. The Brazilian will surely be used against Swansea in the FA Cup on Saturday and there is then a two-week break before City are back in action in the Premier League at Fulham.
The rest will be crucial for Aguero because Guardiola will need him to go again for the run-in. He has long since won the battle with Jesus to lead the line. If he can stay fit, it would be no surprise if City win the battle with everyone else to make history this season.
Paul Dickov's verdict
"People are talking about the quadruple. Are they going to prioritise the Champions League or the Premier League? The most important thing for me about Manchester City is it's all about the next game.
"They're not talking about winning either the Champions League or the Premier League. That group of players' mentality is to just go and win the next game and see where it takes them.
"Pep will be thinking about the FA Cup on Saturday, that's what City do. Knowing what they're like within the club, what he's like, the players are like and the staff are like, they'll want to win them all. They know it'll be difficult.
"Can they do it? Yes I think they can. It's going to be really difficult, but with the squad they've got, I think they can do it."