Raheem Sterling: Adding a New Dimension to Manchester City’s Attack

Raheem Sterling: Adding a New Dimension to Manchester City’s Attack

Following a long transfer saga, Raheem Sterling made the switch from Liverpool to nearby Manchester. Since then, he has been under the microscope of experts and football fans, holding the tag of the most expensive English player in history. Two games into the new season, Sterling has not registered a goal nor an assist for his new club. However, City seem a rejuvenated team especially in the attacking phase and much of that goes down to their newest signing.

Sterling City Attack

Raheem Sterling was a name that filled the headlines of newspapers for months ahead of his transfer to Manchester City for £49 million. The young winger rejected a lucrative contract extension with Liverpool, which alienated him to most of the club’s supporters and effectively underlined his departure from Merseyside. The deal made sense for all parties. Liverpool got a large transfer fee from oil rich City for a player who made it clear he did not want to stay, Sterling saw his wage demands met as well as a move to a club who challenge for trophies on all fronts every year. Manchester City got the brightest English talent to refresh a squad lacking home-grown players.

What Raheem Sterling brings to Manchester City’s attack is great pace combined with technical ability on the ball down the left wing. Something the club have painfully lacked at times last season when their build-up was slow, lacked movement, directness and especially runs down the left flank. Jesus Navas offers pace on the right but his delivery into the box was the subject of criticism on several occasions. Sterling has no such limitations and we can expect him to come up with a goal of his own every now and then with the likes of David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure around him. Samir Nasri was the man who was to take this role upon himself, however the Frenchman never lived up to the performances he gave under Arsene Wenger at Arsenal due to crippling injuries which have plagued his career at the Etihad.

Sterling’s arrival at the Etihad will most likely spell the end for Nasri’s chances of making an impact at the club. However the young Englishman now has a platform to raise Manchester City to the next level and he has already done that without having a significant impact on the game itself. Sterling’s movement and pace have already created more space for David Silva and Sergio Aguero. The pair aren’t the kind of players that need a lot of time to finish off a game but the addition of Sterling gives them even more time to do exactly that. Together they will bring the best out of themselves. Sterling will bring pace to Aguero’s finishing and predatory instincts and Silva’s passing and creativeness. The new “SAS” trio will be a nightmare for Premier League defenders.

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Playing in the right areas. Raheem Sterling’s heatmap against Chelsea. Squawka.com

On Sunday against Chelsea, Sterling used his pace to give Branislav Ivanovic a torrid time. The Chelsea full-back was often left in a 2 on 1 situation with Aleksandar Kolarov bombing forward on many occasions supporting Sterling, creating four chances in the first half alone. Sterling was not spectacular on the day; he got neither a goal nor an assist but his positioning and runs saw the Citizens creep into dangerous positions down the left, and created several chances for his team mates.

Whether Raheem Sterling will score enough goals and provide enough assists to justify his £49 million price tag remains to be seen. But even if he does not, when put into the full context of the team, he will be worth every penny to City. He will raise the team’s performance and he may prove to be the difference between last season (when the Sky Blue’s fell short of the title) and this season. So far, the Englishman has “only” made Manchester City my favourites to lift the Premier League trophy in May.