Pat Nevin impressed by Raheem Sterling who caused several problems for Arsenal star Oleksandr Zinchenko
Raheem Sterling is a versatile attacker who gives Chelsea an edge in using either side of the wings, and the England international operated as a right-winger against Arsenal in a 2-2 draw with the Gunners.
Ukrainian international Oleksandr Zinchenko came up against him, and the 28-year-old frequently outpaced his Gunners marker. Sterling caused plenty of trouble for Zinchenko and actually gave him a hard time on the right wing.
The former Manchester City attacker was effective throughout the entire game, and his cross for Mykhaylo Mudryk led to the penalty when it struck William Saliba on the hand. Sterling when on form is a joy to behold and a difficult player to keep down.
Sterling was among our biggest threats and created several goalscoring chances. He terrorised Zinchencko so much that Mikel Arteta assumed the left-back couldn’t keep Sterling at bay and had him replaced at halftime. Arteta then brought on Takehiro Tomiyasu, who was tasked with nullifying Sterling but struggled all the same. If not for the erratic finishing from Nicolas Jackson, Sterling might have earned himself another assist.
The 28-year-old was later replaced in the 84th minute after putting up a top-class performance, and Nevin, who assessed Sterling’s display, gave his verdict on the BBC, where he said:
“Zinchenko has a real problem on his hands. A nominal left back that we know likes to step up into midfield, but every time he does, Sterling has him in behind. Add a yellow card to that now, and it’s going to be tricky for him today in this rain.”
Sterling was industrious in the opening 15 minutes, and his danger on the right wing helped us take the lead when his cross deflected off Saliba’s hand and led to a penalty that Cole Palmer calmly converted. The English veteran has been inconsistent since signing for Chelsea but his performance against Arsenal has been the best we have seen of him this season.
The 28-year-old often got past the Ukrainian star, who typically plays as an inverted left-back. Sterling’s return to form at the right time also worked in our favour because he posed a threat to Zinchenko, who struggled to contain Sterling. Driving the ball forward and creating chances is what the former Man City star excels at and he showed it in abundance on the day.
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An in-form Sterling is a massive asset and Mauricio Pochettino will hope that the winger can keep up his purple patch of form for the coming weeks. Chelsea are slowly building momentum and it is imperative that we put on a steady run of results that can help salvage the campaign.