Gabriel Jesus Or Sergio Aguero? Who Should Be Man City’s First Choice This Season?
Sergio Aguero or Gabriel Jesus? Who should be Manchester City’s first-choice striker? The debate has been going on for months now, since City boss Pep Guardiola decided to sensationally drop the Argentine in favour of his much younger Brazilian teammate last season.
Aguero eventually made his way back into the team, and finished the season as the No.1 striker in the team, with Jesus playing on the right flank. But with the new season right around the corner, the question presents itself once again to the manager. Should he stick with the experienced pro or does he go with one of the brightest rising stars in the world of football?
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Gabriel Jesus took the Premier League by storm in January earlier this year. The 20-year old, signed for £27million from Brazilian club Palmeiras in August last year, and joined the club in the winter window and made such a huge impact upon his arrival and made everyone sit up and take notice.
After netting his first goal for the club, on his first start against West Ham United, the Brazilian then went on to score a double in his home debut against Swansea City – including a stoppage time winner, cementing himself as the new fan favourite. He eventually finished the season with 7 goals and 5 assists in 11 games in all competitions. And that tally could have been much better if not for an injury in February.
Aguero, on the other hand, is a legend at the Etihad. The cornerstone of their recent success, the 29-year old has been tormenting Premier League defences for years now. He is the Citizens’ leading goal-scorer in the Premier League with 122 goals and is the second highest goal-getter in the club’s history with a 169 strikes, just a few behind Eric Brooks (178). Since he arrived in England, back in 2011, no other player has scored more goals than him in the Premier League.
Last season, he once again finished as the top-scorer for the Citizens with 20 goals in 31 league outings and scored 13 more in European and domestic cup competitions, indicating that he has a big part to play in any success that City want to achieve under Guardiola.
So what was it that made the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich gaffer to bench Aguero, a proven goal-scorer in the league, in favour of a young and untested Jesus soon after his arrival and persist with him?
The answer is fairly easy to spot. Jesus offers much more dynamism at the top with his relentless running and movement. His work-rate off the ball is another huge asset, especially in the way Guardiola sets his teams up.
The way Pep likes his teams to operate depends heavily on recycling the possession at the earliest and for that to work effectively, the players are required to press the opposition hard and fast. And when the striker acts as the “first press”, it does not give the opposition defenders the requisite time and hampers their attempts at building up play. This is where Jesus makes a huge difference for the team, when compared to Aguero.
He is always on the run, trying to hustle and harry his opponents and press them high up the pitch when his team are not in possession – acting as the first line of defence for Guardiola. Aguero, on the other hand, isn’t the most willing to perform those tasks, which makes Gabriel a much more natural fit in the scheme of things under Guardiola. Jesus can cover much more ground at a higher speed compared to the Argentine international, which sits very well with the style of play that the manager is trying to bring in at the Etihad.
But can he match the goal-scoring exploits of his senior teammate? Last season’s stats definitely show that he can. His 7 goals in the league came at a rate of one every 93 minutes, whereas Aguero scored one every 120.25 minutes. The Brazilian sensation also managed an assist more (4) than his teammate (3), despite having played only about a quarter of the total minutes that Aguero played in the Premier League.
Jesus is someone who will get City the goals and will do so by fitting in very well with the manager’s footballing philosophy. There are no questions over Aguero’s ability and status at the club, but it could very well be the 20-year old who will be preferred to the Argentine come next season and rightly so. Aguero can still contribute in a huge way and should still be the No.1 choice when it comes to Champions League fixtures owing to his vast experience, but Jesus has shown all the right signs and deserves a shot at starting as the first-choice for Man City.