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Goal machine Aguero could post Messi and Ronaldo-like numbers this season

18:38 GMT+3 12/09/2019
Messi Aguero Ronaldo
The Manchester City striker has struck six times in his opening four Premier League matches and is on schedule to reach his best-ever goal total

Sergio Aguero has been so consistently good for the past decade that his goals almost go unnoticed these days.

The Manchester City ace has already stuck six times this season, scoring in each of the champions’ opening four Premier League matches, but to little acclaim.

As Pep Guardiola alluded to after the striker's double in the 4-0 win over Brighton just before the international break, Aguero's goalscoring prowess is almost taken for granted.

"Sergio scored goals when he was in Argentina at 16 years old and he will die scoring goals," the City boss enthused.

Aguero's statistics remain remarkable, though.

Since Aguero joined City in 2011, he has scored more goals than anyone in England (170) and his ratio of one goal every 106 minutes is better than any other player to have made a minimum of 50 Premier League appearances.

He has scored at least 28 goals in all competitions for the past six seasons, with 20 or more in the Premier League alone for the past five campaigns.

However, at 31, Aguero could be getting even more ruthless.

So far this season, he is averaging a goal every every 44.5 minutes and his second strike against Brighton was his seventh consecutive shot on target to have resulted in a goal.

Only Chris Sutton, for Blackburn in 1997, and Edin Dzeko, for City in 2011, had previously scored six Premier League goals in August.

Not bad considering he was a 69th-minute substitute in the season opener at West Ham and replaced midway through the second half of the 2-2 draw with Tottenham a week later.

If he continues at this rate, this could finally be the season when he goes from a great striker to an incredible striker.

In an era where Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – two of the greatest players of all time – tower over everyone in terms of strike-rates, he could join them at the pinnacle of the game with a season of 40-plus goals.

As a team, City already score as many goals as anyone in Europe – 143 and 169 for the past two seasons, compared to 141 and 138 at Messi’s Barcelona, and 148 and 86 at Ronaldo’s Real Madrid and Juventus, respectively.

But in those two campaigns, Messi scored 45 and 51, Ronaldo bagged 44 and 28, while Aguero notched only 30 and 32.

"We don't have two incredible players like Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi that score 50 or 60 goals a season but, in the past two seasons, we scored an incredible amount of goals,” Guardiola added after the Brighton win.

Consequently, the Catalan has set his side up as an attacking machine rather than relying on one extraordinary individual.

In the Premier League, City have created more big chances than any other team for the past three years and it's a figure that has been rising steadily.

Last season, they made 101 big chances compared to Liverpool’s 78; 95 the previous year compared to 60 for runners-up Manchester United; and 77 in 2016-17, 29 more than champions Chelsea.

They presently lead the standings with 15 big chances already from the four opening matches, compared to Liverpool’s 12.

In previous seasons, City’s goals have been distributed across the team. While Aguero registered 32 last season, Raheem Sterling also scored 25, Gabriel Jesus 21 and Leroy Sane 16.

However, the style of Aguero’s finishes this season suggests he could be getting even deadlier.

He actually started the season slowly, as he often does when returning from a summer endured under the extreme pressures of playing for the national team – Argentina’s long wait for an international title continued as they were knocked out of the Copa America by hosts Brazil at the semi-final stage.

However, after a late penalty in the 5-0 win over West Ham, Aguero started against Spurs and took his one chance to score in what was otherwise a quiet game for the forward.

Against Bournemouth a week later, his goals were decisive. He calmly swept in the opener in a frantic opening quarter of an hour and showed a calm head to poke in a loose ball for the third. It could have been a hat-trick had VAR awarded a penalty when David Silva was tripped in the box.

His goals against Brighton were even more impressive – two sumptuous strikes that gave goalkeeper Matthew Ryan no chance – while he also set up Bernardo Silva for the fourth.

Next up is Norwich City at Carrow Road, where he has scored three times in three visits.

Another goal on Saturday would mean at least one goal in six consecutive Premier League games, which would equal his best ever scoring streak.

And there’s plenty of reasons to suggest the chances and the goals will keep coming.

Kevin De Bruyne once again tops the assists table, with five, and if he can put the injury problems of last season behind him, he will keep supplying opportunities.

The Belgian is only one assist ahead of team-mate David Silva, while another City man, Riyad Mahrez, is joint-third in the table.

Silva has rediscovered his very best form in his farewell year at the Etihad Stadium and he and Aguero have always enjoyed a telepathic understanding on the pitch, one which has produced 43 goals for City involving an assist and goal from one or the other.

A favourable Champions League group of Shakhtar Donetsk, Atalanta and Dinamo Zagreb should offer plenty more goal opportunities, while there is a determination in the squad to better their quarter-final exits of the past two years.

Aguero has always been curiously been overlooked for personal honours. Posting similar numbers to Messi and Ronaldo would change all that, though.

This could be the year.