EPL

Man City striker Aguero confirms positive coronavirus test

By Sports Desk January 21, 2021

Sergio Aguero has confirmed he is self-isolating after returning a positive test for coronavirus.

The Manchester City striker has missed four straight games after coming into contact with another person who had contracted COVID-19.

Aguero announced his result on Twitter and it is not known when he will be free to return to training.

"After a close contact, I've been self-isolating and the latest test I took was positive for COVID 19," Aguero wrote.

"I had some symptoms and I'm following doctor's orders for recovery. Take care, everyone."

Aguero has played in just five Premier League games and nine matches in all competitions in a stop-start campaign.

Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne and Ferran Torres have all been utilised as a central attacking option at times this term.

City are unbeaten in their past 16 matches in all competitions and are just two points off leaders Manchester United in the Premier League with a game in a hand.

Pep Guardiola's men face Cheltenham Town in the FA Cup this weekend and also have league matches with West Brom and Sheffield United within the next 10 days.

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    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's lack of playing time will cause problems for Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, according to Gary Neville.

    The Gabon international dropped to the bench for Monday's 2-1 defeat to Everton, with Arteta instead using Alexandre Lacazette and Gabriel Martinelli in attack.

    Arteta turned to Eddie Nketiah from the substitutes' bench before finally introducing Aubameyang five minutes from time.

    Aubameyang missed a glorious chance shortly after Demarai Gray had fired in what proved to be a superb late winner for Everton to relieve the pressure on Rafael Benitez.

    Arsenal's out-of-form captain has now failed to score in his last six Premier League appearances, which is his longest run in the competition and his longest goalless league run since going 14 without a goal for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga between February and August 2014.

    Former Dortmund striker Aubameyang has had 15 shots across that barren spell and has failed to find the net from an expected goals (xG) return of 3.1.

    Neville does not believe Aubameyang will react well to being left on the bench for so long, with the Manchester United legend predicting a possible parting of the ways between the player and club in January.

    "I think there will be a problem with Aubameyang off the back of this game," Neville told Sky Sports. "I don't think he'll like the idea of Eddie Nketiah coming on before him. I don't think he'll like the idea of being a substitute, full stop.

    "There's always that little bit of a bug there between Arteta and Aubameyang. I know he's the captain but he leaves him out and it just feels like something that's a little bit awkward, and it's going to cause a problem.

    "I suspect, if Arteta could probably get money for Aubameyang and he could get someone else, they probably would. And I bet if Aubameyang could move on he probably would as well because it could maybe turn a little sour."

    Aubameyang failed to find the target from his two efforts against Everton and now has a big chance conversion rate of 33.33 per cent in the Premier League this season.

    That is down from 46.2 per cent last season and 63.0 the season before when registering 22 goals in 36 games, matching his tally from 2018-19.

    Arsenal, who had taken the lead against Everton through Martin Odegaard's strike before late goals from Richarlison and Gray, are seventh in the league after losing three of their last four games.

    The Gunners have named the youngest average starting line-up in the English top flight this season and Neville believes a lack of experience is costing Arteta.

    "I think when we talk about this being a young team in terms of the average age, when you go to places like Old Trafford and Goodison Park in a night game one or two of the young players won't have experienced it too many times," he said.

    "I remember my first game going to Anfield and it was tough, going to Arsenal at Highbury. You need experience to get you through those difficult moments when the crowd go up and a few decisions go against you and you can feel something happening.

    "You need comfort in there. You need that spine. Arsenal's senior players are not really massive characters. They are not really leaders. They don't get those young players through those difficult moments in the game so the other players just go under a little."

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    TOP STORY – DYBALA EMERGES AS LIVERPOOL TARGET

    Liverpool are interested in signing soon-to-be Juventus free agent Paulo Dybala, according to Calciomercato.

    Dybala is out of contract at the end of the season and while there have been negotiations, the Juve star is yet to re-sign in Turin.

    The situation has reportedly alerted Premier League giants Liverpool.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - El Nacional claims Real Madrid are eyeing Rennes sensation Lovro Majer as the successor to fellow Croatian Luka Modric at the Santiago Bernabeu. Modric is out of contract at season's end and has been linked with Premier League champions Manchester City.

    Ousmane Dembele wants to rebuild his career away from Barcelona, reports Mundo Deportivo. The Frenchman has been linked with Manchester United, Newcastle United, Tottenham and Chelsea.

    - United forward Edinson Cavani is an option for Barca as they look to bolster their attack, says Mundo Deportivo. Basel's Arthur Cabral has emerged as a possible January option.

    Jose Mourinho's job at Roma is not in danger, according to Fabrizio Romano. Roma have only won three of their past nine Serie A fixtures.

    - Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana is still set to join Serie A champions Inter despite interest from Barca, per Romano.

    - Former RB Leipzig head coach Jesse Marsch is an option to join Ralf Rangnick's coaching staff at United. Marsch was sacked by Bundesliga side Leipzig earlier this week.

  • Liverpool hunt English record, Real Madrid on brink of scoring milestone – Champions League in Opta numbers Liverpool hunt English record, Real Madrid on brink of scoring milestone – Champions League in Opta numbers

    Milan host Liverpool knowing they need a win to keep their Champions League hopes alive in one of the headline fixtures on Tuesday.

    Real Madrid and Inter meet in a battle for top spot in Group D, with both already qualified as the Italian side travel to Spain with a woeful recent record.

    Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are already through in Group A as well, with Lionel Messi aiming to follow in the footsteps of George Weah and Neymar at home to Club Brugge.

    Stats Perform takes a look at the key Opta data behind the next set of matches.

    Milan v Liverpool: Reds eye English record

    Milan are searching for their first win against an English side in Europe since February 2012, while the Rossoneri have recorded victory in just one of their past nine home games in the Champions League group stage.

    In contrast, Liverpool have triumphed in all five of their opening games this season as they look to become the first English side to win all six of their group-stage matches in a single campaign.

    The Reds are also aiming to record victories in six consecutive games in the European Cup/Champions League for the first time in their history, with Alisson on the hunt for three consecutive clean sheets in the continental competition for his first time.

    Paris Saint-Germain v Club Brugge: Mbappe and Messi await leaky defence

    Club Brugge were defeated by five goals in their last clash against RB Leipzig, the third consecutive group game in which they conceded at least four times.

    No team has ever gone four straight games letting in at least four, but the Belgians will have to negotiate with Messi, who could become just the third player – after Weah in 1994 and Neymar in 2017 – to score in his first three consecutive home games for PSG in the competition.

    The visitors will also have to contend with Kylian Mbappe, the France international managing five goal involvements in three matches against Brugge – his joint-most against a single opponent in the competition, along with Red Star and Istanbul Basaksehir.

    RB Leipzig v Manchester City: Guardiola's men out to defend German record

    City are unbeaten in their previous 14 games against German opposition, including a six-game undefeated streak on the road, in a run that stretches back to November 2014 in the Champions League.

    The reigning Premier League champions have won their past nine such fixtures, scoring 28 goals and conceding just nine in return, while Leipzig are winless in their most recent three meetings with English sides.

    If Leipzig fail to defeat Pep Guardiola's side, it will be the first time they have not registered a single home win during the group stages in Europe.

    Real Madrid v Inter: Los Blancos looking for goalscoring milestone 

    Inter have claimed just one win in their past 11 meetings with Spanish opposition in European competition and their last away win against such sides came all the way back in October 2004.

    The Serie A outfit have not beaten Madrid in Europe since March 1967 as Carlo Ancelotti's side look to score their 1,000th goal in the European Cup/Champions League in just their 455th game.

    Karim Benzema could be central to Madrid hitting that milestone if he is passed fit, the forward already with five group-stage goals to his name this term as he sits two behind Raul in the club charts in the competition (66).

     

    Other fixtures:

    Ajax v Sporting CP:

    16 - Ajax have scored 16 goals in their five games in the Champions League this season, with only Bayern Munich (19) and Manchester City (17) finding the net more.

    15 - The previous three meetings between Ajax and Sporting have seen a total of 15 goals scored, at an average of five goals per game. Indeed, neither side has managed to keep a clean sheet in any of their three clashes to date.

    Borussia Dortmund v Besiktas:

    60 - Jude Bellingham has had a direct hand in 60 per cent of Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League goals this season (one scored, two assisted), with the last Englishman to enjoy more than three goal involvements during the group stages of a season before the age of 19 being Jack Wilshere in 2010-11 for Arsenal (one scored, three assisted).

    5 - Besiktas remain the only Champions League side in 2021-22 to lose all five of their matches and are looking to avoid being the first team since AEK Athens in 2018-19 to lose each of their six group games.

    Porto v Atletico Madrid:

    5 - Porto will be aiming to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League for a fifth time in their past five tournament appearances (2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2020-21). The last time they failed to do so was in 2015-16 under Julen Lopetegui.

    786 - Luis Suarez's only goal in 11 appearances for Atletico Madrid in the Champions League was a penalty against Milan in September, giving him a minutes-per-goal ratio of 786. At previous club Barcelona, the Uruguay striker scored 25 goals in 55 appearances, with a minutes-per-goal ratio of 192.

    Shakhtar Donetsk v Sheriff: 

    1 - Shakhtar Donetsk have only won one of their past 11 home games in the Champions League (D5 L5), while they have failed to score in seven of the games in this run, including both in 2021-22 (D1 L1).

    25 – Sheriff's 2-0 victory over Shakhtar in this season's tournament came despite the Moldovan side having just 25 per cent possession – since 2003-04, only Atletico (23) versus Barcelona in April 2016 have won a Champions League game by multiple goals with a lower possession percentage.

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