Sergio Aguero will miss Manchester City's heavyweight Premier League clash against fellow title contenders Arsenal on 18 December after confirmation that he has been handed a four-match ban by The Football Association (FA). Such a punishment relates to the latter stages of Saturday's feisty 3-1 defeat to Premier League leaders Chelsea, during which the prolific Argentine striker sparked ugly scenes of confrontation and was rightly dismissed by referee Anthony Taylor after launching into a horrendous challenge on David Luiz.
While an act of violent conduct usually carries a three-game suspension, Aguero has, as anticipated, incurred an extra match after being retrospectively banned for elbowing Winston Reid during August's victory over West Ham United. In addition to that aforementioned home clash with Arsenal, the top-flight's third-highest goalscorer will also be sidelined for next Saturday's (10 December) trip to reigning champions Leicester City and the subsequent visit of Watford. He can also play no part on Boxing Day as City travel to Hull, but will be eligible to return for the New Year's Eve meeting with Liverpool at Anfield.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference held prior to tomorrow's Champions League Group C tie against Celtic, City boss Pep Guardiola said: "We are going to accept the ban from the Football Association and work with other players for the games."
Fernandinho was also heavily involved in that late fracas and joined Aguero for an early bath after clashing angrily with Cesc Fabregas. The Brazilian midfielder will serve a three-game suspension, ruling him out of those matches against Leicester, Watford and Arsenal. Centre-back Nicolas Otamendi is also set to miss the trip to the King Power Stadium after accumulating his fifth yellow card of the season and a one-game ban with a robust sliding tackle on Chelsea wing-back Marcos Alonso.
With those suspensions only applying to domestic competition, Aguero, Fernandinho and Otamendi are all available to face Celtic. However, Guardiola is yet to decide if the former in particular will feature against Brendan Rodgers' Scottish Premiership leaders.
"There will be changes," he added. "I am happy to give minutes to players who deserve it. Whether Sergio will play, I will decide today or tomorrow. I like all the players to play. I want to involve all the players. When we play every three days, the players must be rotated."
Last season's Champions League semi-finalists City, who qualified for the last 16 for the fourth season in succession courtesy of a 1-1 draw against Borussia Monchengladbach a fortnight ago, head into their meeting with Celtic with both sides already assured of second and fourth place respectively in a settled group that will be utterly devoid of any late drama or exciting permutations. The first meeting in Glasgow in September produced a thrilling 3-3 draw that ended Guardiola's 100% start to life at the Etihad.