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Disciplinary Letdown: Manchester City face tough Premier League schedule without two key players

Who will fill in for Aguero and Fernandinho?

Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

An undeserved defeat for Manchester City culminated with a deplorable finish when two of our most influential players received straight red cards and lengthy bans.

Agüero will now miss four Premier League games while Fernandinho is set to miss three matches after they were both sent off during the final minutes of the Chelsea game, which we had already lost. It is difficult to defend either player’s actions. Agüero’s tackle was horrific, premeditated and completely shameful with no thought for his teammates. Fernandinho’s pushing and grabbing of Cesc Fàbregas was provoked and instinctive but nonetheless mindless.

Gary Neville’s immediate comments were headline-grabbing, yet nonsensical. "I can't like the Agüero challenge. I can't. But what I saw at the end, and it may be the wrong thing to say, I liked that.” Neville said incidents such as the fracas on the pitch at the Etihad make football worth watching. But they don't.

Agüero made no attempt to go for the ball and could have instead broken David Luiz’s leg. If that possibility had happened the FA could have thrown the book at the Argentinian and he could be facing far worse than a mandatory four-game ban. The tackle might be great publicity for the Premier League — and maybe Gary Neville's media career —, but the indefensible action leaves a sour taste in the mouths of most City fans.

This reckless move means our number one striker will not play in the upcoming league games against Leicester City, Watford, Arsenal and Hull City. Add those to the three Agüero missed for the elbow during the West Ham game and the total equates to 40% of games this season so far. Pep Guardiola needs to intervene on this issue as a matter of priority or face the rest of the season unravelling.

If Antonio Conte can get the best out of the much-maligned Diego Costa, who has become infamous for his lack of discipline, then Guardiola should be able to do the same for Agüero. If this issue is left unresolved, then Agüero could find himself left on the bench, particularly since Gabriel Jesus is set to join soon and Kelechi Iheanacho is waiting in the wings to prove himself.

Fernandinho’s red card will probably stay under the radar because Agüero is a higher profile player, but there is a strong chance Guardiola could be more concerned about the Brazilian’s absence over the next few games. Fernandinho has been a golden goose this season and there is no obvious replacement for his position in the team. Guardiola could play Iheanacho, Nolito or Kevin De Bruyne as a false nine, but Fernando or Yaya Touré are no match for Fernandinho’s play.

Going forward, a packed midfield will be required to cover Dinho's role. Iheanacho will get the game time he deserves and we can also expect to see more of Touré in an attacking position.

The Arsenal game is set to be the toughest match ahead of City during Agüero and Fernandinho’s suspensions. It is likely Fernandinho will walk straight back into the team after his punishment, but we could see Guardiola teach Agüero a lesson in humility and hold him back, especially if the team does well while he is banned.