Monday, July 3, 2017

Raheem Sterling is an Average Footballer


As the title of this post suggests, I am arguing that Raheem Sterling is an average footballer. I can already feel the angry Tweets coming my way from Manchester City fans but I feel I need to get this out there as not enough people are willing to do the research.

Is Sterling currently England's best winger?
This season Sterling has got 7 goals and 6 assists in the league. On the face of it this doesn’t look like a bad return when you consider that the bug eyed German, Mesut Ozil, managed 8 goals and 9 assists. But when you dig a little deeper and see that Ozil created 100 chances while Sterling only created 47, you realise that Ozil should have had double that amount.
~ Side note: Those stats actually show that Ozil wasn’t to blame for Arsenal’s dip last season and that they lacked a next level striker up front. But that’s a post for another day ~

I will say this about Raheem, he is a very talented dribbler. He does have the ability to ghost past defenders out on the right of midfield and has proved it by completing 2.4 dribbles per game in the league, more than Coutinho, Sane, Barkley, Pedro, De Bruyne and many more. Sadly for the former Liverpool man it’s what comes after the dribble that lets him down...

The City winger has completed 80 dribbles this season (2.4 on average per game).
He’s completed 80 dribbles last season but has only created 47 chances. This means that despite his dribbling prowess he only actually creates a chance 59% of the time. This sounds high but just to put that into perspective Alexis Sanchez has a 72% chance creation rate from dribbling while “lower rated” players such as Nathan Redmond (79%), Matt Phillips (67%) and even Adnan Januzaj (60%).

Raheem Sterling can’t cross for toffee which is embarrassing considering he plays on the wing.

As a goalscorer he isn’t much better. Out of 63 shots he scored 7, meaning he has a shots-to-goal ratio of just 11%. Again with a little perspective we see that Alexis Sanchez scores 18% of his shots while Wilfried Zaha scores 14%. Eden Hazard only had a 60% chance creation rate from dribbles (the same as Januzaj) but more than makes up for it with his shots-to-goal ratio of 21% almost double Sterling’s.

What. A. Miss.
Now admittedly the England international is far from the worst in the league stat-wise. That honour goes to Adama Traore. Statistically the Middlesbrough wide man is the best dribbler in the league, completing 5 dribbles per game on average...but out of 135 dribbles he only managed a woeful 19 chances. 1 assist and no goals is a dreadful return and makes Raheem Sterling look like Messi.

I just want to throw out there that I don’t think that Raheem Sterling is shit. He just hasn’t kicked on and began fulfilling his potential yet. An example of this going right would be Eden Hazard; at 20 he scored 7 league goals and got 10 assists for Lille in the league. And amazing return from such a young player. Nowadays the Belgian regularly knocks in double the goals every season!

Dele Alli is another example of living up to potential. He scored 10 league goals in his debut season, an incredibly impressive return for any 19 year old. Last season he continued his development, almost doubling his goal return last campaign. It’s still a little early to cast judgement on Alli but if he keeps up this level of improvement he could be Tottenham’s answer to Frank Lampard.

Is Sterling living up to his potential like Alli and Hazard?
This is the kind of progression we need from the Raheem. When he burst on the scene at Liverpool he was brilliant. In the 13/14 season he was at his best scoring 9 goals, an impressive feat his tender age of 20. Able to skin experienced defenders with ease, you could easily forgiven him if he messed up in the final third.

But that forgiveness wears off with age. If you’re still making the same mistakes in your mid-20’s then you have a serious problem. In my opinion the Manchester City winger needs to start making more of an impact in games. Otherwise he is going to be slung aside like other England rejects like Shaun Wright-Phillips, Stewart Downing and Kieron Dyer…

The style of football City play should really cater to Sterling. Loads of possession, freedom to roam into space and make runs in behind. But he really needs to start pulling the strings in the final third, make key decisions when it really matters.

How long before fans are sick of his average performances?
I’ll be brutally honest and say if he doesn’t improve by the time he’s 24 I think his career will slowly wind down. No way Pep Guardiola will put up with weak links in his team, especially in attack…
Oh well at least he’ll always have a place in the England squad...for some bizarre reason.

~ Anyone who enjoyed this please follow me on Twitter @ThePenaltyKing1 or like me on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ThePenaltyKing1 ~

Cheers for reading.

1 comment:

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