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Sergio Aguero unpunished after accosting assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis during Man City win

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‘Come on guys, he’s the nicest person I have ever met’: Pep Guardiola defends Sergio Aguero as Man City striker goes unpunished after accosting assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis as he disputes a throw-in during win over Arsenal

  • Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero disputed a throw-in with Sian Massey-Ellis
  • As the striker walked past Massey-Ellis he grabbed her on the shoulder
  • Aguero went unpunished despite rules coming in 2016 protecting officials
  • Pep Guardiola defended his player when asked about the incident after the game

By Joe Bernstein for The Mail on Sunday

Published: | Updated:

Sergio Aguero went unpunished on his Premier League return on Saturday night after grabbing assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis on the shoulder during the 1-0 win against Arsenal.

The Manchester City forward was arguing a throw-in decision given to Arsenal when he put his hand on her shoulder.

Pep Guardiola defended Aguero, insisting the striker’s action was clearly not aggressive. The City boss said: ‘Come on guys, Sergio is the nicest person I have met in my life. Look for problems in other situations, not in this one.’ 

Sergio Aguero complained to assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis over a throw-in decision

Aguero was perhaps fortunate to escape unpunished after he grabbed her shoulder

Though Guardiola leapt to the defence of his player, Ian Wright, speaking on Match of the Day was less impressed, and branded Aguero’s actions ‘unnecessary’ and ‘patronising’.

Aguero was certainly taking a chance. Chris Foy, the former Premier League referee, said: ‘The key words are “aggressive” and “confrontational.” The laws state, “it’s not unusual for players to come into contact with officials. 

‘As long as this is done courteously and not in an aggressive or confrontational manner there is no requirement for a referee to take action”.’

Massey-Ellis was the subject of sexist jibes which cost presenters Andy Gray and Richard Keys their jobs at Sky Sports in 2011.

Raheem Sterling believes City’s performance benefited from the return of Aguero.  

Guardiola leapt to Aguero’s defence, claiming the Argentine is the ‘nicest person’ he’s ever met

The England winger has had to play as a false nine this season with Aguero and Gabriel Jesus missing but the Argentine’s first action since injuring his knee in June gave City a better shape.

‘To have an out-and-out striker to link up with was really good again,’ said Sterling, who missed England’s recent internationals to rest a hamstring complaint.

‘At times in the first half, me and Sergio got in the pockets well. It was an important result for us. We have dropped points early on and needed to kickstart our season.’

The win was a relief for Guardiola who saw his side beaten 5-2 by Leicester in their last home game.

‘The desire to win was impressive against a team like Arsenal that have everything to be a contender to win the league,’ he said.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was aggrieved VAR didn’t look at a high boot from Kyle Walker as he cleared a corner. ‘I asked for the ref to watch it back,’ he said. ‘I don’t think they checked it and I am disappointed with that.’

The match was Aguero’s first of the season for Manchester City following an injury lay-off

Sky Sports pundit Micah Richards said the incident ‘didn’t look good’ on his former team-mate

In Sky Sport’s post-match coverage, Aguero’s former team-mate Micah Richards said the incident ‘didn’t look good.

He said: ‘He didn’t need to do it really. You have to respect the officials. I think she deals with the situation really well. 

‘He’ll know better. I don’t think we need to go over the top on it but he shouldn’t be touching the officials, it doesn’t look good.’  

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