Over the past few months a lot of comparisons have been made between two of the most impressive youngsters to break through this season – Raheem Sterling and Adnan Januzaj, with both players making quite a name for themselves for their respective clubs: Liverpool and Manchester United.
Whilst Raheem Sterling has been starting every game for Liverpool and performing at a very high standard, impressing against the likes of Arsenal, Januzaj has been finding it difficult to force himself into the starting eleven since the arrival of Juan Mata and return to fitness of strikers Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie.
As both players have spent a different amount of time on the pitch this season we will have to give the comparison some legitimacy by not using the totals for the statistics we are going to use. To make this comparison a fair we will use the percentage and minutes per statistics as these will analyse their performances within the type they have spent on the pitch and give us averages.
Raheem Sterling has been the most creative out of the two players in terms of both chance creation and clear cut chance creation this season, with the Liverpool winger creating a chance 8 minutes more often than Januzaj and a clear cut chance 83 minutes more often than the Manchester United youngster.
Januzaj, however, has put 15 more crosses in than Sterling this season and has a much better crossing accuracy, with 21% of Januzaj’s crosses finding a teammate compared to only 11% of Sterling’s. Januzaj has put an accurate cross in every 84 minutes, while Sterling has put an accurate cross in every 282 minutes.
Sterling has attempted to dribble the ball every 15 minutes this season, while Januzaj has attempted to dribble the ball every 18 minutes, with 60% of Sterling’s dribble attempts and 55% of Januzaj’s dribble attempts being successful. It is also Sterling’s pace and impressive dribbling ability that has led him to win 3 penalties this season, which is more than any other player.
Both players have two assists in the Premier League this season, with Januzaj playing 314 fewer minutes than Sterling.
Both players have very similar passing statistics this season, with Sterling making 0.37 passes per minute and Januzaj making 0.36 passes per minute. Sterling has completed 81% of his open play passes and 75.22% of his overall passes, while Januzaj has completed 80% of his open play passes and 72.05% of his overall passes.
Sterling has made more forward passes this season, with 36% of his passes going forward compared to 30% of Januzaj’s passes but this is more down to their teams’ tactics and their roles in the team than their own individual skill set. Both players have completed 73% of their final third passes, with 44% of Sterling’s overall passes being in the final third compared to 45% of Januzaj’s passes.
Sterling has entered into a ground duel every 5.44 minutes this season, while Januzaj has entered into a ground duel every 5.89 minutes, with Sterling winning 51% of his ground duels and Januzaj winning 50% of his. Januzaj has entered into an aerial duel every 73.07 minutes, winning 13% of these duels, whereas Sterling has entered into an aerial duel every 58.75 minutes and won 29% of these duels.
Sterling has made a tackle 30 minutes more often than Januzaj and has won 78.79% of these tackles, while Januzaj has won 73.33% of his tackles this season.
Sterling has scored 5 times this season at a rate of a goal every 282 minutes, while Januzaj has scored 3 times this season at a rate of a goal every 365 minutes. Januzaj has had a shot every 58 minutes and a shot on target every 137 minutes, while Sterling has had a shot every 59 minutes and a shot on target every 94 minutes, 43 minutes more often than Januzaj.
Sterling has hit the target with an impressive 63% of his shots this season, while 42% of Januza’s shots have hit the target. As well as scoring more goals and hitting the target with more of his shots this season, Sterling has also converted 5% more of his chances.
Januzaj has converted his only clear cut chance, while Sterling has converted 29% of his 14 clear cut chances. The key thing to note about these clear-cut attempts are that Sterling seems to find himself in goal scoring positions a lot more than Januzaj something that the Manchester United youngster will pick up with time but despite Sterling’s failings in front of goal, a clear area that requires improvement for the young man, it’s very encouraging that he’s finding himself in these positions. Once Sterling does improve his finishing he’ll be scoring a lot of goals for Liverpool FC.
Both players have impressed this season and it is easy to forget just how young these two players are. Based on the statistics above; Sterling has had the better season and has made himself a regular in the Liverpool side, however, as always, stats can only show half the story.
Januzaj has a very bright future in front of him and looks set to turn into a brilliant player, with the Belgian already looking like one of the best players on the pitch when he has played. The difference being that Januzaj has played a bit part in a team that has struggled this season, while Sterling is playing with players such as Coutinho and Suarez who supply him with balls in behind the defence to run onto, while Januzaj is given the ball and expected to do something with it.
This is only Januzaj’s first season in the Premier League and if he can get a run in the side then we will see his statistics improve significantly. However, this is not taking away from the fact that Sterling has been brilliant in the last few matches and may just force his way into Roy Hodgson’s squad for Brazil.
BSc Sports Science Graduate, Head of the News Section on EPLIndex and all round football fanatic! Can also be found on Twitter - @jamesamey316
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