Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus have now scored nine goals between them in four league games this season and this deadly partnership could fire Man City to the title. It has been years since the Premiership saw a really strong strike partnership, partly because 4-2-3-1 or 3-4-2-1 have been the predominant formations in recent years, but also due to a dearth of global striking quality. Few teams in the world have one good forward, but Man City are now blessed with two and they are working in tandem to lethal effect. It has fired City to the top of the table and if they can both stay fit then the title should really be heading back to the Etihad.
City have scored 15 goals unanswered in their last three games – a 5-0 win against Liverpool, a 4-0 victory over Dutch champions Feyenoord and the 6-0 battering of Watford at the weekend – and Aguero and Gabriel are leading the charge. Aguero heads the Premiership goal scoring charts along with Romelu Lukaku, on five goals. Next up comes Gabriel and Jamie Vardy on four. But Gabriel has the best minutes per goals ratio and Aguero also has two assists, so they are certainly the two most in-form and effective talents in the league at present.
There was speculation before the season about which striker would lead the line for City on a regular basis, with exciting youngster Gabriel having usurped club legend Aguero in the starting line up towards the end of the previous campaign. Instead Pep Guardiola has played both of them, sometimes with Aguero up top and Gabriel cutting in from the wing, but typically as a strike duo. It is a bit of a retro approach from Pep Guardiola, but Chelsea won the title last season by championing the sort of three at the back formation that had not been seen for a while. The year before, Leicester won the title with a 4-4-2, so throwback formations have been a success of late. Now many teams are copying Chelsea’s formation, but City are going with a similar approach to Leicester.
However, there are clear differences. Riyad Mahrez pushed forward in Leicester’s title winning season and Shinji Okazaki often went wide, and Jamie Vardy spent most of the campaign as Leicester’s focal point. Aguero and Gabriel are playing like an old fashioned centre forward duo and the closest comparison would have to be Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole for Man Utd at the turn of the century. Two players of similar stature and skill set combined again and again to deadly effect and fired Utd to a magnificent trophy haul. Gabriel is just 20 and has his best years ahead of him, and he could conceivably spend a decade banging in goals Ronaldo-style for City. But Aguero, at 29, is by no means a spent force and still has several years at the top ahead of him – providing he can stay fit.
A look at the betting lines shows Man City are now evens favourites to win the title and that is down to their attacking strength. Check out Ladbrokes, a well-established and well-reviewed bookie, and you will see that the betting lines for top scorer this season have shifted dramatically in the past week. Lukaku is still the 11/4 favourite, but then comes Aguero at 3/1, level with pre-season favourite Harry Kane. Next up is Gabriel at 7/1 and both City boys look a good bet. Tottenham are struggling and Kane might not be able to match last season’s tally, while City are a more offensive team than Utd. There is so much creative talent playing behind Aguero and Gabriel, with Kevin De Bruyne currently on fire, that they could achieve a one-two in the goal scorer charts provided they both stay fit. City are already the league’s top scorers and will pull away from the rest if they keep this up.