Sergio Aguero was added to the Football Association’s list of suspensions Monday, with the Argentinian receiving a four-match ban for his melee-inciting tackle on David Luiz in Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat to Chelsea.
The Manchester City striker was given an additional game on top of the standard punishment for a red card, likely since it represents his second disciplinary proceeding after his retrospective three-game suspension for elbowing West Ham United‘s Winston Reid in August.
This means City’s punished pair will sit out upcoming Premier League meetings with Leicester City, Watford, and title rival Arsenal. Aguero will then miss Boxing Day’s trip to Hull City before he joins Fernandinho back in contention for the New Year’s Eve wrangle in Liverpool.
“It’s a pity it finished like this, I don’t like that,” Pep Guardiola said of the injury-time scuffle. “I apologise for what happened.”
Aguero’s dangerous, two-footed, high challenge on David Luiz sparked a brawl that eventually involved several members from both City and Chelsea shoving one another. Nathaniel Chalobah ran into the tumult and pushed Aguero over – becoming a candidate for retrospective action from the FA himself – while Fabregas’ soft slap on Fernandinho resulted in the latter grabbing him by the throat while the Spaniard stepped backward over the advertising hoardings.
The timing is far from ideal for Guardiola: Saturday’s loss cast City four points adrift of leader Chelsea after 14 games, and the season’s now running into its busy festive period.
Kelechi Iheanacho would be the immediate replacement for Aguero in attack unless Guardiola opts for a false nine, a role both Kevin De Bruyne and Nolito are capable of filling. Fernando, Yaya Toure, and the now-fit Fabian Delph offer depth in the central midfield positions.
City plays Celtic on Tuesday in the last match of its Champions League group commitments and, with progression into the final 16 already secured and next Saturday’s visit to Leicester looming, Guardiola is set to make changes to his lineup.
Aguero and Fernandinho will be available for the midweek continental tie.
“There will be changes. I am happy to give minutes to players who deserve it. Whether Sergio will play, I will decide today or tomorrow,” Guardiola told reporters at Monday’s press conference.