Sterling – Pep – Sane: City’s future in safe hands

We have started to witness some great displays from youngsters in the Guardiola Era at Manchester City of late and from those performances we can see why Sterling and Sane are touted to be the future of the Eastlands club. Having failed to defend the title in Manuel Pellegrini’s second season after winning it in the 2013-14 season, the Manchester outfit started to cash in once again in the summer window. Two important players were recruited into the squad with one being the former Chelsea midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, the other was ex-Liverpool and England youngster Raheem Sterling.

Spending almost half of one hundred million pounds on the Englishman, Man City brought in a player who at that time was considered to be one of the best English talents. Sterling arrived in the intent of winning trophies but failed to deliver the goods in most occasions though his side reached the Champions League semi-finals in his first season. After a poor start to his career at City and failing to prove his worth of the huge money,  it was expected that Sterling would be replaced by Leroy Sane who was brought an year later, in the 2016 summer. He was praised and admired by many stalwarts of the game including his current coach Pep Guardiola during his time at Bayern Munich. Following an impressive spell at Schalke, Leroy was brought to the Etihad to add some young legs to an aging squad.

One of the most interestingly spoken points about City this term is the width maintained by Pep’s players. This is mainly because of Pep’s positional play and his aim to deploy wingers very wide. In his 2-3-5 at City, the five forward players almost play in the same line and this means that the wide players almost hug the touch line. Sterling and Sane are deployed in the wide areas with Sterling in right and the latter at the left in most occasions. In certain situations, they would be inverted by Pep as Sterling would slot into the left flank and Sane into the right which provides them the channels to cut inside with the favored foot and aim at the goal.

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Image credits: outsideoftheboot.com

From the above two instances we can identify the wingers – Sane and Sterling, staying very high up the pitch and staying very wide as well. This provides the team with more width in the final third and makes the pitch shorter for them to cover. By using this tactic, Pep believes that this helps stretch the play and create space infield for central midfielders to create chances infront of the box. Having played David Villa and Henry as inside forwards at Barcelona and being quite successful at it, Guardiola turned Robben and Ribery into beasts as Bayern were rightly feared for their progressions through both the flanks. After overseeing such great displays and churning the best out of players, one would expect Pep to make Sane and Sterling to follow these players as the both have proved their potential to become world class wingers.

Sterling has been the most beneficial player under Pep as he has rejuvenated from his poor season under Manuel Pellegrini. He can even be stated as one of the consistent players for City and he has excelled for them especially in the cup competitions. Sane after a difficult start at Manchester, has burst into life after a brilliant second half display against Arsenal. Since that game, the two of them have been in form together and has been City’s ever-improving attacking identity.

Sterling has made more contributions to the team in terms of scoring and creating goals as he has directly involved in 17 goals. He has scored nine and further created eight more goals for teammates. Sane on the other hand has been a regular face in the side only from the end of last year. He has made seven goals and three assists since his arrival. But Sane’s form has been impeccable as all his seven goals have come from his last 14 appearances. Over the whole season, Sterling has managed a goal every 4.5 games whereas Sane has scored one in every 3.7 games.

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Image credit: The18

Sterling netting one past Subasic in the 5-3 thriller at Etihad.

Also for a fact, Sterling has taken an average of two shots per game in the League while Sane has been more conservative with averaging just one shot per game. In his 25 PL games for City, Sterling has created an average of 1.5 chances which is quite better when compared to Sane’s 1.2 chances created per game in the 16 games he has played. Both the players have been quite brilliant in the recent games and this is mainly because of Pep’s aim of playing them very wide and supporting them in his tactics to come inside in the right areas at the right time. At the moment Sterling has slightly edged Sane in certain areas but given Sane’s brilliant ability to create and score more goals, one may expect both the players to end the season with more or less the same statistics.

With young talents like Sterling and Sane coming into limelight under Pep Guardiola at the right moment, City can be quite satisfied at the moment to wait for the results to come. Considering Pep’s previous success and accolades won at the highest level, City’s fan base can be happy that the future is in safe hands with the likes of Sterling, Sane, Jesus, Stones and Iheanacho under Pep Guardiola.

Featured image credits: mirror.co.uk

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