Manchester City travel to Le Parc des Princes on Wednesday night to face PSG in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final and Pep Guardiola should axe Raheem Sterling from his starting lineup.
Whilst the England international’s performance against Tottenham Hotspur in the 1-0 Carabao Cup final win on Sunday was a vast improvement on some of his recent displays, he still looked too desperate to score a goal and he was guilty of snatching at chances.
The 26-year-old has now failed to score in any of his last 10 appearances for the Citizens so will be desperate for a goal on Wednesday evening, which may prove detrimental to City’s chances of earning a positive result.
The last thing City want is a repeat of last season’s Champions League quarter-final against Olympique Lyon, where they dominated proceedings and missed a number of chances to take the lead after Kevin De Bruyne’s equaliser in the second half.
They were punished, with Moussa Dembele making it 2-1 with less than 15 minutes remaining, before Sterling was presented with a golden opportunity to equalise in the 86th minute but somehow contrived to put the ball over the bar when faced with an open goal.
This proved to be the vital moment of the game as Lyon pushed up the other end and made it 3-1 to seal their place in the Champions League semi-final.
There is no doubt that Sterling is a superb footballer when he is at his best, with Guardiola describing him as “remarkable” earlier in the season, but the reality is that all of Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva have comfortably outperformed him in recent weeks, so he doesn’t really deserve to start ahead of any of those players.
His worrying record of missing big chances could certainly come back to bite City on a night where they will definitely be looking to score an away goal.
It may be ruthless to drop him after the cup final, but Guardiola should axe Sterling from his starting line-up and leave him on the bench.
And, in other news… Txiki must avoid transfer disaster over 26-goal “winner”, Pep would be fuming