News Update


Chelsea forward Raheem Sterling teases a return to form

Opponents visibly steel themselves when he’s on it: muscles tighten, shoulders dart back, and eyes narrow. become your head on because this might become messy.

Last Sunday, his every touch caused terror in a West Ham defense line that was twisted, turned, and worn ragged by the Chelsea forward’s pace, drive, and direct action.

He would eventually lose at London Stadium, but his man-of-the-match performance received widespread praise. Micah Richards described him as “scintillating” on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Monday Night Club. According to Garth Crooks, he was the “shining light” in his squad of the week.

Such words have been hard to come by recently when discussing the England international, with his debut season at Chelsea being a failure of fitness and form, giving his worst attacking returns in a decade.

But, after giving his first club Liverpool the runaround on the opening weekend, he now has two high-calibre games in a row to brandish at his seemingly ever-present and emboldened band of doubters.

It’s too small a sample size to get too excited about, but it does point to a refocused, re-energized player eager to prove himself to his doubters and re-establish himself as a major figure for club and country.

Listening to the 28-year-old in pre-season before to this season, it is evident he has not left anything to chance.

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Sterling blamed some of his struggles in 2022-23 on his diet and gaining additional weight, which contributed to hamstring problems in the midst of the season.

He missed six league games, the FA Cup third-round loss to Manchester City (who Chelsea had paid up to £50 million to buy the previous summer), and two England Euro 2024 qualifiers in March as a result of these.

However, he says he has now corrected his food consumption with one simple rule – don’t eat as much – and the early benefits are evident.

“At the end of last season, I changed my diet and went to do something different than I had done before,” he explained. “I’m eating a little less.”

“Pre-season is a good time to get the body right, and I am in a great place.”

That has already been felt by Liverpool and West Ham.

With his intelligent pairing up with the wing-back on the right (Reece James against the Reds, Malo Gusto against the Hammers), Sterling regularly took up space between midfield and defense for zipped passes his way, making him difficult to mark and creating the potential for overloads.

Sterling’s rediscovered confidence to quickly pivot and run at speed with a ball entirely under his spell, beating men or dragging them to him to make place for others, is what makes the plan operate to its full potential.

Sterling’s deft run behind the Liverpool defense and blocked cross set up the corner from which Chelsea equalized on the opening weekend.


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