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3 reasons Raheem Sterling is thriving for Man City this season

The winger is in sensational form

Manchester City passed arguably their biggest test of the season on Wednesday night with flying colours. After going 1-0 down to Napoli, they fought back to win 4-2 away at the Serie A leaders.

They now look like genuine contenders for the Champions League. Pep Guardiola’s side are now second favourites at 9/2.

One of their most impressive performers this season has been Raheem Sterling. The winger sealed the win against Napoli with a driven finish in injury time.

Sterling is the first City player to hit 10 goals this season. He’s only one goal off his best-ever return of 11 goals in a single campaign already.

The 22-year-old has often been criticised during his time at the Etihad. But he’s becoming a key member of the team.

The Coral News Team have looked at three factors behind his improvement this term…

Full-backs stretching play

Last season, City’s full-backs lacked the athleticism to get up and down the pitch to stretch the play. That meant Sterling and Leroy Sane often stayed incredibly wide to try and open the pitch up.

This year, the additions of Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo mean that the full-backs can make a real contribution going forward.

As they push up, it creates space for Sterling to come inside. His skill and speed cause plenty of problems for defenders on the back foot. In one run against Napoli, the England international beat four defenders before his shot was denied by a last-ditch block.

Added composure

Sterling’s movement and speed mean he’s always likely to get chances. But now he’s starting to look like a reliable finisher. Only Harry Kane (8) has a higher tally of goals in the Premier League than Sterling (7).

He only scored with 16.7% of his shots in the top flight last season. That’s shot up to 36.8% during the current campaign.

His improved strike rate is helping City to make the most of their possession.

Guardiola’s guidance

Guardiola’s spent huge sums of money at City. But one of the themes of his managerial career is how he’s improved individual players.

Sterling certainly seems to be benefiting from working with the former Barcelona boss.

His work with and without the ball this season shows that he’s well on his way to becoming a top-class player.

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