The Premier League is back with a bang on Saturday with Manchester United vs Manchester City kicking things off at 12:30 at Old Trafford. Its Jose Mourinho vs Pep Guardiola in the first round of the battle of Manchester – but without one key ingredient.
City striker Sergio Aguero, banned for three domestic matches for a nasty elbow on West Ham’s Winston Reid, will sit out the clash of the English titans, with fans deprived of the Argentine starting a personal dual with United front-man Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Both men find themselves joint-top of the Premier League top scorer’s charts with three goals from their opening three games, and you can be sure both will be there at the crunch come the latter stages of the season. Without Aguero, Man City go into the match on Saturday already on the back-foot, with Zlatan given the chance to strut his stuff in the biggest domestic match-up so far in the current EPL season.
Ibrahimovic and Aguero are vastly different attackers. The former is tall and powerful, dominant in the air and a long range expert. His opposite number, however, has a low centre of gravity, is fast out of the blocks and always looks for the snap shot. Both are instinctive strikers, of that there can be no doubt, and both are world class. But which would you rather have spearheading your attack?
One of the many heir apparents to the legendary Diego Maradona, Sergio Aguero is a pure goal machine. A regular for Independiente when he was just 17-years-old, the Argentine has never been able to stop hitting the back of the net.
He moved to Atletico Madrid in 2006, and it turned out to be the perfect move for the then 18-year-old, with Aguero going on to score 101 goals in 234 games, winning the 2009/10 Europa League on the way.
His £38m move to ‘New Money’ Man City in 2011 was seen as quite the coup for the Premier League side – and it turned out to be a bargain.
Aguero has won two Premier League titles during his time in Manchester, with the first won by the striker in the dying embers of the now famous match on the last day of the season against QPR. He won the Premier League Golden Boot in 2014/15 and has scored 142 goals in 211 games.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, meanwhile, has won the Ligue One Golden Boot three times with PSG, and was named the Player of the Year in those three seasons. The maverick Swede has played for a whole host of the top clubs across Europe, including Juventus, Ajax, Barcelona and Inter Milan – and has won the domestic title in five different countries.
Also incapable of not scoring, Zlatan has arguably grown better with age. He scored 156 times in only 180 games for PSG, and scored 50 times last season at the ripe old age of 34. A career total of 396 from 681 speaks for itself.
In the 2015/16 season, Sergio Aguero scored 24 goals from 30 games with a shot accuracy of 56%.
Zlatan scored 38 times in 31 games and had a shot accuracy of 60%. He also created 45 chances throughout the season with PSG and boasts a 79% passing accuracy.
Aguero on the other hand made 26 chances and had a passing accuracy of 85%.
It must be said that the French League is considered to be a lesser league when compared to the Premier League in terms of competitiveness – but Zlatan proved his class regardless.
It’s clear that Zlatan Ibrahimovic comes out on top in terms of stats and history, and if both men were in their prime, you’d be hard pressed to waive the chance of sticking the Swede up top for your side.
But Aguero, for all his injury woes, remains the most consistent Premier League striker of recent seasons, and is a horror for defenders to play against. The answer to which is better surely boils down to which would be more suited to a particular team. A fast, counter-attacking lineup would suit Aguero down to the ground, whereas slow and patient buildups would see Zlatan thrive.
Both strikers are enjoying things on the opposite sides of Manchester, and you can be sure both will play key roles in deciding the outcome of the 2016/17 season.