Sterling’s match winner on Sunday was his fifth Premier Leage goal this season, with only five midfielders netting more goals than him so far this campaign (Eden Hazard, Sadio Mane, Michail Antonio, Adam Lallana and Leroy Fer). With the help of data provided by EA SPORTS, it’s no surprise to see that Sterling was finding himself in the right area to pop up with the decisive goal as the winger has had more touches in the opposition box than any other Premier League player so far this season.

Player Minutes Played Touches In Opposition Box Touches in Opp Box per 90mins
RaheemSterling 1213 128 9.5
Diego Costa 1501 121 7.3
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 1440 121 7.6
Alexis Sánchez 1437 120 7.5
Sadio Mané 1296 108 7.5
Sergio Agüero 1008 98 8.8
Roberto Firmino 1337 96 6.5
Christian Benteke 1335 95 6.4
Theo Walcott 1347 94 6.3
David Silva 1250 86 6.2

As per the above data, you can see that Raheem Sterling has had a Premier League best 128 touches in the opposition box so far this season, and is also averaging 9.5 touches in the opposition box per 90minutes so far this season – again, more than any other Premier League player so far this season, showing it was no surprise to see him pop up in the right area to notch the winner for Manchester City yesterday.

Player Minutes Played Successful Dribbles Successful Dribbles per 90mins
Wilfried Zaha 1374 71 4.7
Eden Hazard 1342 70 4.7
Adama Traoré 600 59 8.9
Raheem Sterling 1213 48 3.6
Michail Antonio 1375 47 3.1
Alexis Sánchez 1437 46 2.9
Paul Pogba 1439 44 2.8
Dimitri Payet 1264 41 2.9
Riyad Mahrez 1345 40 2.7
Nordin Amrabat 1243 40 2.9

In addition to his positional play, Sterling has also completed the fourth most dribbles in the Premier League so far this season, beating his man an average of 3.6 times per 90minutes so far this season. Again, it’s no surprise to have seen him both take on and beat Nacho Monreal to net the winner in Sunday’s crunch tie at the Etihad with the confidence he clearly has with the ball at his feet.

Season Minutes Played Successful Dribbles Dribbles Attempted Successful Dribbles per 90mins Dribbles Complete %
2015/16 1117 22 54 1.8 40.70%
2016/17 1213 48 78 3.6 61.50%

More compelling still is to compare Raheem Sterling’s statistics from this year to last season, with Sterling completing double the amount of dribbles per 90minutes on average this season to last. Whilst Sterling was completing just over two in every five dribbles last year, this season has seen him complete over 60% of his dribbles, with a 20% increase on this point of the season last year. In terms of the sheet quantity of dribbles, Sterling appears to be playing with more freedom, having attempted 44% more dribbles so far this season than he has last year.

Data Courtesy of EA SPORTS, the Lead Partner of the Premier League