Sterling Forecast Far From Bleak
Raheem Sterling’s underlying stats are just too good to ignore
You might recall that we toyed with the idea of bringing in Raheem Sterling last week, so to say that we have been kicking ourselves ever since is something of an understatement. The 22 year old forward delivered in emphatic style, getting himself on the score-sheet while registering 2 assists in the process. It earned him a WhoScored rating of 9.1 and he followed it up by scoring against Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday.
With the notable exception of Christian Eriksen, our engine room simply hasn’t been firing. Gylfi Sigurdsson blanked again in GW8, as did Robbie Brady and Dušan Tadić, with the latter flattering to deceive yet again. Our 5th midfielder, Reuben Loftus-Cheek, is back in contention for a start this weekend though and we might just need him!
However, our patience with Icelandic international Sigurdsson has run out, so we’re going to replace him with Sterling who has an xG90 figure of 0.78 and an xA90 of 0.37 this season (Expected Goals per 90 minutes/Expected Assists per 90 minutes). Of course, Sterling has only featured in 7 Premier League games, so the sample is somewhat small but to put it into context, Golden Boot winner Harry Kane recorded an xG90 of 0.70 last season, while Kevin De Bruyne, who accumulated 18 assists, had an xA90 of 0.49.
We had intended to bring Álvaro Morata back into the fold but Chelsea have too many injuries to key midfielders at the moment, so we will put that plan on hold. So, our forward line of Roberto Firmino, Romelu Lukaka and Gabriel Jesus remains intact.
Between the sticks, Robbie Elliot and Lukasz Fabianski rotate quite well for the next 5 or 6 gameweeks but we do have some pressing concerns in defence.
Spurs’ Ben Davies has been struggling with an illness ahead of a potential match-up against the lightning quick Mo Salah, while Danny Rose is also available again as an alternative at left-back.
Even though doubling up on Arsenal’s wing-backs paid off to a certain extent, we might need to address that situation before GW11, with Man City then Spurs on the Gunners’ radar.
The Arsenal duo are selected in our ‘back 3’ this weekend but Davies drops to the bench.
We still haven’t taken any hits this season but we’ll retain one free transfer for next week.
Romelu Lukaku regains the armband and despite Guardiola’s reputation for rotation, we are more than happy to bank on Sterling hitting the heights yet again – the forecast is far from bleak!