Talking Tactics

Sane threat on the rise for trip to Chelsea

By Adrian Clarke 6 Dec 2018
Leroy Sane

Adrian Clarke says Man City winger is a more complete attacker this season ahead of trip to Stamford Bridge

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Adrian Clarke looks at the key tactical battles in Matchweek 16.

Chelsea v Man City

Leroy Sane has become the best left-winger in the Premier League and the in-form German could be Manchester City's key player for Saturday evening's trip to Chelsea.

The 22-year-old is playing with great confidence and his end product has been staggeringly good.

Across his last five starts Sane has scored four goals, produced four assists, attempted 15 shots and created 13 chances.

Chelsea right-back Cesar Azpilicueta will have his hands full keeping Sane quiet at Stamford Bridge.

Leroy Sane in 2018/19 PL
Shots (excl. blocked) 20
Shots on target 12
Goals 6
Conversion rate 30%
Mins/goal 128.8
Mixing it up

Sane's quick feet and balance make him one of the most dangerous dribblers in the division, with 3.26 dribbles completed per 90, but he is actually a rather uncomplicated winger.

His key traits are acceleration and a deadly left foot.

Under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, he is learning how to make best use of those qualities.

Perfect timing

This season Sane has mixed up his positioning very well.

He has kept his width during most of City's build-up play, stretching defences. But he is also timing his surges into the penalty box better.

His average of 10.48 touches inside the area per 90 minutes in 2018/19 is up from 7.4 last season.

Sane's touch map v West Ham
Leroy Sane's touch map, West Ham v Man City

Sane’s touch map above in the 4-0 win at West Ham United last month shows how well he balances the need to provide width, with a desire to make an impact inside the penalty area. 

City's leading men
Mins/goal  Mins/assist  Mins/chance created 
Aguero 120.6 Sane 154.6 D Silva 28.9
Sterling 128.3 Mendy 162.0 Sterling 38.0
Sane 128.8 Sterling 171.0 Sane 38.6
Mahrez 134.2 Jesus 235.5 B Silva 40.7
Gundogan 182.0 Aguero 241.0 Jesus 42.8

Compared with last campaign Sane is also bettering his output for shots, shots on target, goals, chances created, dribbles and assists, and has become one of City’s most productive forwards.

Doubling up

Topping 35.2km/h at full pace, Sane has the speed to surge past Azpilicueta in 1v1 situations, but he may also have to contend with N'Golo Kante.

In his right-sided box-to-box role, Kante slides across to break up attacks.

Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri will likely instruct his midfielder to block the space in which Sane operates.

If Kante can intercept passes aimed for Sane, or squeeze the room in which the German has to receive the ball, it will aid Chelsea's attempts to limit his influence on Sunday.

Also in this series

Part 2: Keita can add to Liverpool's attacking force
Part 3: Doherty can drive Wolves in right direction
Part 4: Deeney and Gray can give Watford firepower

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