The flying English attacker began the season in prolific form, but he’s yet to get the internet in 2020 amid fitness and form woes.
Pep Guardiola is convinced Raheem Sterling will get back on the goal trail after a tough run of form in Manchester City.
England forward Sterling enjoyed a successful start to the effort that included hat-tricks against West Ham and Atalanta.
However, he’s now scoreless in 12 matches, with the last of his 20 goals in all competitions coming when he netted a brace in a 3-2 Premier League defeat to Wolves in December.
A hamstring injury further jeopardized the 25-year-old and, although he produced a telling cameo in the seat in City’s 2-1 Champions League comeback win at Real Madrid last month, his paths in the opposition penalty area were again laid bare during Sunday’s 2-0 derby loss at Manchester United.
But similar to goalkeeper Ederson — whose two errors led to United’s goals — boss Guardiola has no worries over Sterling’s degrees of perception heading into Wednesday’s Premier League match against Arsenal.
“He is incredibly positive, particularly in the fact that when he misses one opportunity he tries again,” he said.
“He was hurt for a couple of weeks and sometimes you will need slightly more time, but he is coming back.
“I never was so much concerned about these sorts of actions, such as Ederson’s last moment. It happens.
“These are the men who suffer the most. When it happens they’ve been supported and we try to allow them to feel we’re here for them.
“Sometimes you talk with them and you leave them free. They’re so mature to know what they need to do.”
City’s assault was unusually toothless from the Old Trafford derby, using a left-sided berth for Gabriel Jesus one alternative available to Guardiola in relation to freshening things up.
A centre-forward by commerce, the Brazilian worldwide has played on the flank for his nation and churns out wide before scoring in the Santiago Bernabeu.
Deploying Jesus on the left of the front could give Sterling an opportunity to freshen up on the best of City’s all-time high scorer Sergio Aguero, even though the specific qualities of competitions and the identity of his full-backs — Benjamin Mendy and Oleksandr Zinchenko offer different interpretations of this left-back role — are also factored into Guardiola’s thinking.
“I believe Gabriel can accommodate perfectly in this way, especially because he does not play broad, wide,” he explained.
“He can play a little bit more inside like how Arsenal play Aubameyang. Gabriel can play flawlessly in that place and in the games that he played he played really well.”
Leroy Sane, a professional on the left-wing, could make his long-awaited return from knee pain operation against Arsenal and Guardiola added: “Sometimes we need more specific winger in that place, it is dependent upon the quality of our full-backs also.
“To attack a defense with five players at the trunk and so deep, you need to create the pitch wide. If you don’t it’s more challenging.”