Sergio Aguero's hopes of featuring in the upcoming derby against Manchester United appear to remain alive amid reports that Manchester City are contesting a Football Association (FA) charge handed down for an alleged act of violent conduct. Such an issue relates to last Sunday's (28 August) Premier League clash with West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium, in which the prolific Argentine striker appeared to catch defender Winston Reid with an elbow during the 76th minute of a 3-1 victory.
The incident, while caught on video, was not spotted by match referee Andre Marriner or his assistants, leading to the FA instigating retrospective action following a referral to an elite panel of three former officials. Aguero was initially given until 18.00 BST on Wednesday to respond to the charge, although he was subsequently granted a 24-hour extension yesterday due to the logistics of transfer deadline day.
Widespread reports - including from the BBC - now claim that City do indeed plan to challenge the charge, with an independent panel set to meet on Friday to rule on the case.
If found guilty of violent conduct, the 28-year-old would be forced to serve a three-match ban encompassing the eagerly anticipated derby at Old Trafford on Saturday 10 September in addition to another top-flight meeting with Bournemouth and an EFL Cup third-round tie against Swansea City. If the appeal is deemed frivolous, then he may risk also missing the league meeting against Francesco Guidolin's side three days later.
While there has been much debate as to whether or not Aguero should be suspended for a derby match that will see bitter old El Clasico adversaries Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola renew hostilities in Manchester, it could actually be injury that eventually scuppers his chances of featuring. The former Independiente and Atletico Madrid forward recently withdrew from Edgardo Bauza's Argentina squad for an upcoming 2018 South American World Cup qualifying double-header against Uruguay and Venezuela due to a calf problem sustained against West Ham.
2014/15 Golden Boot winner Aguero notched 24 Premier League goals during Manuel Pellegrini's final season at the helm as City beat rivals United to fourth place on goal difference. He later suffered the disappointment of another Copa America final defeat to Chile before helping Guardiola to maintain a 100% record with his new club by following up a successful penalty on the opening weekend against Sunderland with a brace at Stoke City. He also hit a hat-trick during the Champions League play-off round first-leg meeting with Romanian outfit Steaua Bucharest despite missing twice from the spot.