Manchester City were hit by the news on Monday that star striker Sergio Aguero is to miss the next four Premier League games. Aguero was handed the punishment following his red card for a dangerous tackle on David Luiz at the end of a 3-1 defeat to Chelsea.

Saturday’s loss to league leaders Chelsea was damaging for City, but Aguero’s absence is arguably at least as problematic. Aguero has been in excellent form so far this season, scoring 16 goals in 19 games across all competitions. But the Argentine let frustration get the better of him at the weekend – his wild lunge came at the end of a game in which City had seen a 1-0 overturned by a powerful, well-drilled Chelsea side.

Manager Pep Guardiola will now have to rely on talented 20 year-old Kelechi Ihenacho for a goal threat over the next four games.

Not his first offence

Whereas the normal punishment for a straight red card is a three-match ban, Aguero’s extended sanction is more than deserved. His tackle on Luiz was knee-high and potentially career-ending. It naturally sparked anger among Chelsea players, leading to a mass fracas involving players and staff from both sides.

What’s more, it wasn’t his first offence of the season. He was banned retrospectively for two games in September after elbowing West Ham’s Winston Reid. Guardiola will be rightly furious at the prospect of his leading striker missing six games through suspension before the New Year.

Worryingly for Guardiola and City fans, this reckless streak goes further back than this season. Luiz was also the victim of an Aguero stamp in the 2013 FA Cup semi-final, which went unpunished. The Brazilian clearly stokes the red mist inside the Argentine.

Misses crucial period

Aguero’s nasty streak is in stark contrast to some of the wonderful performances he has produced this season.

No-one doubts his ability, but equally the Football world was united in horror at his disgraceful challenge on Luiz.

It is a trait that Guardiola will be keen to get rid of, not least because it leaves him without a world-class player at a crucial time in the season. Following the Chelsea defeat, City are four points adrift of the top of the Premier League.

They will need a strong December to set them up for the second half of the season. Aguero will miss games against Leicester, Watford, Hull and title rivals Arsenal.

He will return for a crunch clash against Liverpool on New Year’s Eve, but will not have played a competitive fixture for at least three-and-a-half weeks. It remains to be seen just how costly his indiscipline will prove to be.