Prolific striker Sergio Aguero has opted to contest a charge of violent conduct in a bid to avoid a potential three-match suspension – and be available for Pep Guardiola’s maiden Manchester derby.
Aguero was slapped with the charge by the Football Association (FA) after allegedly elbowing West Ham defender Winston Reid during Manchester City’s Premier League clash with the Hammers on Sunday.
The incident was not seen by referee Andre Marriner or his assistants, while the FA took retrospective action and a three-man panel decided that the 28-year-old should be charged. An FA commission is expected to meet on Friday to discuss the case.
If found guilty, Aguero could be suspended for City’s next three matches, including the eagerly-anticipated Manchester derby at Old Trafford on 10 September, during which Guardiola and United boss Jose Mourinho will renew their rivalry.
A three-match ban would also force City’s top-scorer to sit out their home Premier League tussle with Bournemouth a week later, and the club’s EFL Cup tie at fellow top-flight side Swansea.
The loss of Aguero would leave Guardiola with a selection headache ahead of the derby. The Argentine has been in blistering form this season, scoring six goals in four appearances and helping City win their opening three league matches.
Aguero’s potential absence is likely to be welcomed by the red half of Manchester given he has netted eight goals in nine Manchester derbies, boosting United’s bid to extend their own unbeaten start to the campaign.