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It has been a wonderful start to the season for Manchester City. The Citizens are joint top of the league (along with rivals Manchester United) and have been scoring for fun as it seems, with 21 goals.
One player that has benefited from this is Raheem Sterling, who has netted five goals in five games this season. This is Sterling’s best scoring form to date, which makes one thinks are we seeing his full potential as a player.
Here, we look at an general overview of Sterling’s performance so far this season and possible issues to address.
Blistering start to the season
As mentioned above, Sterling has scored five goals already this season.
His best scoring return in a City shirt was seven, with nine in a sole season coming from his time at Liverpool. He is also attempting 2.2 dribbles per game and has over 82 per cent passing success rate.
Although these stats are only from five games, it does suggest that Sterling is maturing and adapting to Manchester City’s style of play.
Additionally, these current stats are similar to Sterling’s final season at Liverpool, where he was an important figure for the reds after the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona.
Sterling performances in the 14/15 season prompted City to pay then a world record 49 million pounds for an English player as they regarded him as a future star in the making.
City’s late hero
Sterling’s goals have been part of City’s early success this season. When City struggled in their earlier games in front of goal, Sterling was the man to get them out of jail.
City’s first home game is one example. The Citizens were trailing Everton when Sterling scored the equaliser to prevent any unwanted scrutiny for Pep Guardiola and his team.
Sterling followed this up by scoring the winner, deep into added time as City came from behind and beat Bournemouth away.
These two strikes gave City the platform to up their antics and improve their form over the next couple of games, which planted them on top of the league.
Issues to address
Although Sterling’s start has been superb, there are certain aspects of his game play to improve on.
One trait is his creating ability for his fellow team members. To date, Sterling has only contributed 8 assists for Manchester City which isn’t a spectacular figure.
Sterling’s key passes has also been low overall, with an average 1.25 key passes in his previous two seasons. This suggest that Sterling needs to improve in this area if he wants to develop into an all and out attacking player.
Secondly, and most importantly, is consistency from Sterling.
Although the start to the season for Sterling has been excellent, City fans will be cautious of how the season progresses for the forward. This is due to Sterling tailing off in his previous two seasons at Manchester City.
Last season for example, Sterling scored four goals in his first six games before netting three in twenty-seven. Prior to that, Sterling scored four in eight before recording two in twenty-four.
These stats suggest that either he burns himself out in the early months of the season or struggles with the high demands of Manchester City.
Overall, Sterling’s start of the season and the relevant importance he offers suggest he is renovating himself into a trustworthy forward that City can depend on.
Although it is early days still and critics will point at his poor end of season performances, the fact remains that without Sterling in the team and scoring in important moments, City would not be sitting top of the pile.
Written by James Reidy
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