Manchester City

Raheem Sterling Is Up There With City’s Best

 • by James Nalton
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Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are a team of expensively assembled stars who’ve started this season in scintillating fashion. They are yet to lose a game so far this campaign, with their only blips coming in a 1-1 draw at home to Everton in the second game of the season and a 0-0 draw away to Crystal Palace.

City look well on course to lifting the Premier title at the end of the season. The only way it doesn’t happen is if something goes terribly wrong in the remaining 16 matches of the season.

They topped their Champions League Group and conceded just the five goals in their six matches on the way to winning five matches.

A number of players have been credited with being the driving forces behind the club’s ascent, as has the manager, who himself is one of the highest paid figures in the division.

Kevin De Bruyne is now widely considered the best player in the league at the current time, Sergio Agüero is back in great goalscoring form after a slow start under the new manager, John Stones has become the classy ball-playing centre back he was often predicted to be, and Ederson is in form which means he’s up there with the best goalkeepers around despite barely having had to make a save.

Leroy Sané is also a player who has eventually found his top form this season, but while previously praising the German winger Guardiola said that he, and one of his team-mates, still had room to improve.

“Sane is a guy with a special talent and he scored a fantastic goal but always I say to him and Raz – again another goal – they still have a big, big gap to improve,” he said.

“I would like to tell them to be calm. Scoring goals is so important, playing well is so important, but still they can do better – I have no doubt about that.”

Raz, or Raheem Sterling as he is known outside of Manchester City, has been one his club’s most consistent and productive players so far this season. While he has not always featured from the start in all games, he’s played a vital part in his club’s progress even if this has been from the bench.

He was the player who came on as a substitute to score the goal which rescued a point against Everton at the start of the season, which is currently responsible for their unbeaten record being intact. He also scored a 97th-minute winner in injury time against Bournemouth to give his side a dramatic last-minute victory to continue their run of league wins which now stands at 30 games.

Not only has he made an important impact in games such as these, but his manager also tends to save him for the big games. He played the full 90 minutes in the win at Stamford Bridge, and started the Champions League home game against Napoli before being withdrawn on the 70th minute with his side already 2-0 up.

He only missed the game against Liverpool through suspension having been sent off after picking up two yellow cards in those dramatic late scenes at Bournemouth.

As Football Whispers reported previously, he is one of the most effective forwards in the Premier League. His current record in the league and Champions League combined stands at one goal per 90 minutes, and when factoring in assists this means he has 1.12 contributions to goals every 90′. On top of this he makes 1.9 successful dribbles and 1.6 key passes per 90′.

That City have more in the tank when it comes to finishing chances, at least where the English winger’s assists are concerned, is a scary thought for opposition sides, and suggests that Guardiola is right when he says he has a “big gap” to improve.

Even though the Spaniard will be speaking in terms of overall performance rather than goals, assists, or the expected versions of these stats, there’s no doubt that he values Sterling highly. The Man City manager will be desperate to get Sterling tied down to a long-term deal and The Guardian claim he’s set to be offered a new one to reward his form.

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