Raheem Sterling leaving Manchester City for Chelsea recently came as quite a shock to some in the football world. The England international has enjoyed a stellar stint with the Premier League champions, banking a haul of medals and trophies. But, at twenty-seven, he’s decided to seek out a fresh challenge. However, some are questioning where the former Liverpool man will slot into Thomas Tuchel’s attack.
One of Sterling’s most noticeable attributes, which he certainly developed while at Man City, is his versatility. The seventy-seven-time England cap is not only at home playing down the left and cutting inside on his favoured right foot, but he’s also got the speed and guile to play on the right and get past opposition players on the outside. But, Sterling’s abilities in attack don’t end there, as under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage, Raz, as he’s affectionately known, can also operate as a false nine.
And, when you dig into the numbers, it doesn’t matter where Sterling plays; he delivers the goods – goals and assists. On the left for City, Sterling weighed in with seventy goals and forty-one assists in less than two hundred games. And there were forty-three goals and forty-six assists on the right in just over one hundred outings. So, there should be no worries on this front for Chelsea, and it won’t be a gamble like when you’re playing a football-inspired slot game online.
In terms of how Chelsea will play under Tuchel next season, there are several ways things can pan out to accommodate Sterling’s arrival. If the German goes with a 3412 system, it could see Sterling deployed in one of the central roles, either as a striker, akin to how Timo Werner played last season, or just in behind the front two. He’d arguably be stronger as the left-sided forward in a front two, as he could use his speed across the grass to turn defenders, cutting in on his right foot.
But, what Tuchel could also do, which may be ideal, is to move to a 343 formation. If Chelsea went with a three-pronged attack, similar to that of Man City, Sterling could occupy and deliver in any of the three positions. He could play right, left or through the middle. But it obviously also depends on the other members of personnel in Tuchel’s thinking and how they fit into the equation.
Mason Mount has been excellent for Chelsea, but whether he works in a midfield two is still questionable. He’s more used to playing in a three or a more advanced central role. Then there’s Kai Havertz. Again, another player who has shone under Tuchel, and the central striker role is where he fits. It’s not really going to come down to if Sterling will fit into the Chelsea team. It’s where. And it will happen because he’s still one of the Premier League best.