A calf injury keeping leading scorer Sergio Aguero sidelined until the end of January wasn’t the kind of early Christmas gift Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini would have had at the top of his list to Santa.
The Argentinian’s knock comes ahead of the traditional clutter of fixtures English football experiences over the festive period and could prove pivotal in their run at sealing the Premier League title this season.
Aguero, who has banged in 19 goals in all competitions, has missed six games for City so far this term. While the stats show that the Citizens have only lost one of those matches, their confidence is falsely boosted by facing weaker opposition in the Capital One Cup.
But when it comes to the serious stuff in the English top flight, Pellegrini’s side have failed to win both times they’ve taken the field without their diminutive talisman.
A 0-0 draw away to Stoke early in the season was followed by a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa a few weeks later and the former Malaga manager will surely be fretting over his side’s ability to cope without their main goal threat over the Christmas period.
City, who are the 6/5 favourites with Ladbrokes to win the league, travel to Fulham for their first Aguero-less outing and, given their troubles on the road when he’s actually been available, must be wary of slipping up.
Alvaro Negredo, who will likely pick up the goal scoring slack in Aguero’s absence, only has one away strike to his name this season while Yaya Toure has just three. It therefore makes Fulham at 2/1 on the double chance market as juicy a bet as any turkey you’ll likely tuck into this Christmas.
With Liverpool and a resurgent Crystal Palace visiting the Etihad before a trip to Swansea is required, City’s Christmas could be a sorry one.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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