In 2006 the Arctic Monkeys released their debut album and their tales of 19 year old northern life appealed to me as a 19 year old northerner.
The first two albums were Libertines, Oasis inspired rock music with Morrissey-esque lyrical flourishes. They were superb. Then album three. “Humbug” American desert inspired. No more lyrics about chip shops, bus stops and northern life. First listen very unsure.
Was I now to disregard the Arctic Monkeys? Were they another Razorlight, Hard fi, Libertines, Franz Ferdinand? Or were they the greatest band since the Smiths?
I gave them the benefit of the doubt I re-listened to Humbug all summer, it’s stunning, still my favourite album. They then followed it up with two more great albums before last year releasing a piano based album about a hotel on the moon. I again gave it more chances than normal and still love Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino. The Arctic Monkeys continued, proven class deserves sticking with.
All of this laboured analogy* brings us to Raheem Sterling. Off the back off two 200 plus seasons and a 12 million pound price tag Sterling started the season with 34 points in three weeks before slumping to 5 points in the next three. Many are now looking to move off the second highest active points scorer in each of the last two seasons before a run of Everton A, Wolves H, Palace A, Villa H, Southampton H – good luck.
Sterling was denied an assist against Brighton in GW4 when David Silva missed a sitter, a week later two poor Aguero headers from Sterling crosses and a shot against the post denied Sterling a haul v Norwich.
He was then rested against Watford in the 8-0 mauling. Interestingly enough the only six games Sterling played 0 minutes in when available in the last two seasons were Huddersfield H 6-1, Burnley H 5-0, Watford A 2-1, Cardiff H 2-0, Burnley H 3-0, Brighton H 3-1. The obvious pattern there is that Guardiola often rests him for easy games in the knowledge he needs his most consistent, versatile and important forward more often than not.
Sterling was rested in the 6-1 win against Huddersfield last season and followed it with 3 goals, 2 assists and 41 points in the next five games. He followed the Burnley rest with 4 goals, 4 assists and 54 points in the next five games. His rest against Watford was followed by Man City’s dodgy Christmas period although he did tick over with a goal against Everton and assists against Southampton Liverpool and Wolves in his next 6 starts before finding form again in late January. His test against Cardiff in the spring was followed by a brace against Crystal Palace and a 15 point haul and two goals in the Champions League quarter final against Spurs.
In short Sterling responds well to his rests, he scored 41 percent of his season points in two five game spells after rests in GW2 and GW9 and this might be the time to stick with his class if you can afford to.
*more FPL – band crossovers
Salah – U2
Clearly huge and successful but everything they do leaves you cold
Mane – Rolling Stones
Talented, pure quality but hard to shake off the feeling they’re a poorer mans version of their obvious peers
Aubameyang – Coldplay
Huge, successful, the numbers are all their – still not sure they’re actually any good
Kane – Oasis
Between 94 and 97 Harry Kane wrote two of the greatest albums of all time aswell as a b sides album that’s even better
Between 2014 and 2018 Noel Gallagher averaged 30 goals a season and cemented his position as the best number 9 in Europe
In 1997 Kane lets drugs, Meg Matthews and sibling rivalry slowly grip his talent and releases the same album over and over again but with diminishing returns with the odd diamond – Go Let it Out, The Importance of being idle, Lets all make believe,
In 2018 Noel Gallagher smashed his ankle and slowly became a more all round player if less explosive goalscorer and ticked over with the odd diamond – World Cup Golden Boot
Something like that anyway.
Bernardo – The Smiths
Artistic, magical and possibly the best in the league. Dubious views on racism.
Vardy – The Libertines
Speaking of dubious views on racism.
De Bruyne – Led Zeppelin
Monstrous talent, well known and well revered yet still somehow under appreciated.
Aguero – The Beatles
Been the best for years but people still pretend there’s better options out there.
Rashford – The Killers
Early promise unfulfilled, people won’t accept they’re not quite good enough
Pogba – Boys II Men
Souness hates them
Hazard – Girls Aloud
At their best incredible, bang average for the vast majority of the time. Now gone and forgotten.