Wednesday 13 December 2017

Manchester City set to learn disciplinary fate after red cards against Chelsea

Sergio Aguero, right, was sent off for his tackle on David Luiz, left, towards the end of Manchester City's loss to Chelsea
Sergio Aguero, right, was sent off for his tackle on David Luiz, left, towards the end of Manchester City's loss to Chelsea

Manchester City are waiting to see how hard they are hit by the Football Association after the fiery conclusion to Saturday's 3-1 loss to Chelsea.

The closing stages of the Premier League contest at the Etihad Stadium saw a wild tackle by City striker Sergio Aguero on David Luiz spark a mass scuffle on the touchline involving players and staff of both sides.

In the melee, City midfielder Fernandinho clashed with Cesc Fabregas, grabbing at his throat, and both he and Aguero were sent off by referee Anthony Taylor.

Aguero has already missed three games through suspension this season for elbowing West Ham's Winston Reid and is now heading for a four-match ban.

That would see the Argentina international sit out league fixtures against Leicester, Watford, Arsenal and Hull.

Fernandinho is set to be banned for three games, and in addition, it is possible both City and Chelsea could face extra disciplinary action from the FA for failing to control their players.

Aguero - scorer of 16 goals this season - being absent looks a particularly damaging prospect for City, but boss Pep Guardiola has not been dwelling on the matter, saying: "He is sent off. We are going to accept the ban and keep going."

The result left City four points behind leaders Chelsea and facing some soul-searching after allowing a game they dominated for an hour to slip away.

City created numerous chances but found the net only through a Gary Cahill own goal. Kevin De Bruyne was guilty of the worst miss, wasting a chance to make it 2-0 by crashing a close-range shot against the bar in front of an open goal.

The game changed after an equaliser from Diego Costa and City's defensive vulnerabilities were exposed as Willian and Eden Hazard secured victory.

Despite that, Guardiola was pleased with the performance and claimed his team had returned to their early-season form.

He said: "I am more satisfied with the way we played than the last two games away when we won and we were happy (only) because we won.

"In that moment there was a worry. I said to the players, 'Guys we have to start to play better, like in the beginning of the season. Be free in your mind, play, take the ball, be aggressive with the ball. It doesn't matter what happens, play in attack'.

"They did it, and did it I think quite well, but we didn't win, so we always have something to improve.

"In football at that level you cannot expect to have 15-20 chances, it is impossible, but we had a lot. The problem is you have to put the ball inside (the goal)."

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