Sterling v Sancho

Raheem Stering v Jadon Sancho: Numbers comparison of Man Utd transfer targets

United have been linked with both wide players - how do their stats stack up?

9:00am on Wednesday 3rd June 2020
Team FC

Jadon Sancho has been a long-time transfer target of Manchester United but an Interesting twist arrived this week.

The Independent suggested that Raheem Sterling could be of potential Interest to United if Manchester City were to formally incur the two-year Champions League ban that has been imposed upon them.

Clearly, given the current global situation, United wouldn't be spending money on both (and certainly not with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial on their books), so it could come to a direct comparison.

Let's have a look at some statistics for each.


Sancho v Sterling

Non-Pen Goals P900.840.43
Non-Pen xG P900.430.61

Sancho's performances this season are otherworldly and right position him as one of the best players in the world, no question, therefore it's slightly unfair to make a comparison to Sterling. What should be noted is that Sterling 's Non-Pen xG P90 is actually rather strong and is better than Sancho's.

Indeed Sancho's xG overperformance is such that it has to be worth noting, scoring 17 league goals on an xG of just 9.5. This is a huge jump and probably not sustainable over time, whereas Sterling's totals, while lower, are more consistent.


Sancho v Sterling

Shots P902.23.2
On Target P901.21.1
Shot Accuracy54.5%34.4%
Conversion Rate38.3%15.3%
Touches In Box5.510.8

Which begs the question - is Sancho simply a better finisher than Sterling? Better is a subjective word, but on the evidence of this season the answer is emphatically yes. Sancho hits less shots but his shot accuracy far exceeds Sterling and his conversion rate - shots to goals - is also far superior to Sterling.

Sterling is indeed a player who has always been excellent at getting into good positions, but what he does when he gets there from a decision-making perspective has always been up for debate. Sancho is far more assured in these positions and makes the most of his opportunities.


Sancho v Sterling

Key Pass P902.81.6
Big Chance Created P900.80.35
xA P900.460.26

Sancho is also a patently more creative player. His Key Pass numbers are better, as are the quality of chances he creates (0.8 v 0.35 Big Chances Created P90). He outstrips Sterling on xA and also xA P90 and, well, there's not much more to say here.

Sterling definitely should have more assists - given his xG he's extremely unfortunate to only have a single Premier League provision to his name - but even if his team-mates were converting as expected he would he a lifetime away from what Sancho is doing. Sancho's brilliance in both scoring and converting really cannot be underestimated.


Sancho v Sterling

Decisive4 of 172 of 11
Decisive %23.5%18.1%
First Goal34
Contribution Spread84%39.1%

Here we utilise FC's Decisive statistic to determine how many of each player's goals were decisive to the outcome of a match. Sancho's 4 of 17 gives him a better ratio than Sterling's 2 from 11

But another FC statistic, Contribution Spread, identifies how many separate games a player made a contribution in. This stat is to identify players who fulfil all of their actions in a burst of games, or consistently provide a goal or assist throughout a season.

Here, Sancho's numbers are quite astonishing. in 84% of his Bundesliga outings, he provided either a goal or an assist.

It should be clear that Sterling's drop-off since Christmas contributes to his numbers not being in the same league as Sancho. But if he became a straight shoot-out between the pair, in terms of direct attacking contributions, there really should be only one winner.

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