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Are Manchester City set to axe two of last season's top goal scorers?

Wednesday 5th July 2017
Sergio Aguero (20 goals) and Raheem Sterling (seven goals) were the top-two goal scorers for Manchester City in the Premier League last season but could find their place up for grabs given the starting XI manager Pep Guardiola is likely to field including their new summer recruits.

Bernardo Silva a considerable upgrade on Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling lost his place in the Manchester City side at the tail-end of last season and faces a tough task to regain his spot in the starting XI after the £43m signing of AS Monaco winger Bernardo Silva. The two players are the same age (22) but are coming off the back of contrasting seasons for their respective clubs.

Silva scored and created 17 goals in 33 Ligue 1 starts as Monaco won the title ahead of perennial champions Paris Saint-Germain. He scored and created three goals in 11 Champions League appearances as his side reached the semi-finals of the competition. In all competitions, Silva scored and created 21 goals, making 96 successful dribbles and created 74 chances.

Sterling would eventually lose his place in a Manchester City side that finished third. His goal and assist output was impressive but performance levels left a lot to be desired. There remain question marks over his decision-making in the final third and he's clearly suffering from anxiety and a lack of confidence when put through on goal.

Bernardo Silva would operate in the right-wing slot Sterling occupied for a lot of last season, which would be very bad news for the Englishman. City paid £50m to sign Sterling from Liverpool in 2015 but may not consider him good enough for regular first-team football next season.

Pep gave this appraisal on Sterling in March 2017, reports the MEN: “He is a guy who still needs to improve. I would not like him to believe or think that it's already done, that he's good enough. He can be better, especially in the simple things. Still, he makes mistakes in the simple and easy things and when he improves that ... Wow! You have to start with the simple things and then work on dribbling the ball, scoring goals, these kind of things. But he has the talent.”

Gabriel Jesus more-fancied than Sergio Aguero by Pep

Sergio Aguero has a similar problem to Sterling with his direct rival for a starting place out-performing him last season. Gabriel Jesus has been a revelation for the Sky Blues since his January arrival, scoring and creating 11 goals in 10 Premier League appearances. The Brazilian international admitted himself that he expected the English top flight to be much more difficult but has quickly settled in and looks every bit the £27m player.

Guardiola agrees and dropped Aguero in favour of the 20-year-old striker last season and was instantly vindicated. But with 20 goals in 31 games himself, Aguero was still the club's top scorer for the season and ended the campaign on fire – eight goals and three assists in last 10 games in all competitions. The manager's qualms with Aguero were to do with his work rate and his off-the-ball runs, something Jesus has thrived at.

Manchester City was brilliant at turning defence into attack last season and having pace and industry in the forward line is key to this being a success. The Sky Blues are expected to line up with a trio of Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva next season, meaning Aguero and Sterling – Manchester City's top two goal scorers from 2016/17 – could be set to miss out.
Crippy Cooke

Crippy is a long-suffering Aston Villa supporter and weekly football accumulator enthusiast.

Stealing a living, the balding 27-year-old boasts a wealth of writing experience - Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post, Zoo Magazine, Daily Mail, ITV Football, MSN Sport, Yahoo Sport, London 24 and Bleacher Report.

Total articles: 318

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