While many are already willing to drive the Premier League trophy to the Etihad Stadium before Christmas, but their eight point lead would not be possible if it weren’t for one man, a Mr Raheem Sterling.
The young Englishman has had plenty of detractors since his £50m move from Liverpool back in 2014, and until this season, much of the criticism has been deserved.
The youngster was poor in front of goal, and not much better on the ball, scoring 11 and 10 goals in the last two seasons respectively.
However, after working with Pep Guardiola intensively for over a year, the penny finally seems to have dropped with the 22-year-old. He has now scored 13 goals in all competitions this season in just 19 appearances for the Citizens – and he is single handedly keeping the club at the top of the Premier League.
But it’s not the sheer quantity of his goals that are keeping City at the top of the pile, but it’s the timing of them.
City have blown plenty of team away this season, scoring an incredible 44 goals in their 14 games, an average of 3.1 goals per game. However, their record points tally of 42 is only possible thanks to the goalscoring exploits of the former Liverpool forward.
While Kevin de Bruyne has taken most of the plaudits for Manchester City this season, it is in fact Sterling who has scored almost ALL of Manchester City’s crucial match winning goals this season, with the rest of the games, the league leaders have won by more than a single goal. The only exception was City’s 1-0 win against Chelsea, where Kevin de Bruyne struck the winner.
Sterling’s goals alone have earned Manchester City an impressive nine points. He has developed a knack of scoring vital match winning goals at key periods in the game. Without his goals, it is a fact that Manchester United would be one point ahead of their ‘noisy neighbours’.
Sterling’s Match saving goals
Man City 2-1 Southampton (Sterling 96′)
Huddersfield 1-2 Man City (Sterling 84′)
West Brom 2-3 Man City (Sterling 64′)
Bournemouth 1-2 Man City (Sterling 96′)
Man City 1-1 Everton (Sterling 82′)
As we can see above, Sterling has earned Man City an impressive nine of their 42 points, just over 21%.
Manchester City’s title credentials could rely on their ability to being less reliant on Sterling’s ability to dig them out of a hole.