Manchester: Sergio Aguero will miss the Manchester derby after being punished with a three-match ban for violent conduct despite his club arguing that referee Andre Marriner should have seen the incident in which he was accused of elbowing West Ham defender Winston Reid.
Manchester City also said the “standard punishment would be clearly excessive”, with other film footage apparently inconclusive as to whether Aguero attempted to make contact with Reid during last Sunday’s Premier League match. After Aguero contested the Football Association charge, an independent regulatory commission was set up to consider the case. It rejected Aguero’s argument — and City’s that a three-match suspension was harsh — with the striker now missing the fixture away to Manchester United next Saturday lunchtime, another Premier League match against Bournemouth, and the EFL Cup tie at Swansea City.
“The club denied the charge and submitted further that, if it was to be found proven, the standard punishment would be clearly excessive,” the FA said in a statement. “On finding the charge proven at a hearing today, an independent regulatory commission went on to reject the club’s further claim to decrease the three-match ban.”
Once Marriner had stated in his referee’s report submitted the day after the match that he did not see the 76th-minute incident between Aguero and Reid, it was always going to be difficult for the City striker to escape punishment given the apparent evidence. One angle of TV footage appeared to show Marriner looking towards the players as they contested the ball but the referee insisted he had not seen the Argentinian’s elbow.
The loss of such a vital player to City for the Manchester derby will be a huge setback for manager Pep Guardiola in what is already shaping up to be a key encounter in the title race, with both teams having won their opening three league matches.
Meanwhile Guardiola, having sent several senior players on loan including Joe Hart, Wilfried Bony, Eliaquim Mangala and Samir Nasri during the transfer window, has left out Yaya Toure of his Champions League squad. City could not include more than 17 overseas players and Guardiola still has 18 on his books, despite the raft of departures, with the 33-year-old midfielder deemed less vital than the others.
It represents a remarkable decline in importance for the Ivorian, who is in the final year of his contract at City. He told the club he did not want to leave — and would only depart if he stayed in the Premier League — and is prepared to sit out the remainder of his deal. City are understood to have accepted this.