NCD SPORT: Aubameyang, Sterling, Havertz: How Chelsea’s three striking options compare

NCD SPORT: Aubameyang, Sterling, Havertz: How Chelsea’s three striking options compare

Chelsea completed the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from FC Barcelona on deadline day.

The deal set Chelsea back £12m, with Marcos Alonso heading in the opposite direction.

With Aubameyang now in, Thomas Tuchel will be hopeful that his former player can provide Chelsea with that much-needed clinical edge in front of goal.

Kai Havertz and Raheem Sterling have been the men tasked with providing/creating most of Chelsea’s goals up until this point in the season, which has so far not gone too well.

The west Londoners have an xG of 6.8 after five games. Comparatively, Manchester City top the xG charts with 12.8, followed by Arsenal (10.5) and Liverpool (10.1). Tottenham (7.8) also have a higher xG than Chelsea, with Manchester United (6.3) the only top-six side below the Blues.

But as all of Havertz, Sterling and Aubameyang can play in multiple positions, Tuchel must now decide who is main central striker will be for the forthcoming campaign.

Given Aubameyang has taken up the ‘cursed’ no.9 shirt at Chelsea, that suggests he will be the man to replace Havertz at the heart of Chelsea’s attack. But how do the trio stack up against one another in the Premier League?

As already mentioned, Havertz, Sterling and Aubameyang are capable of playing in multiple positions across a front-three but for the purposes of this piece, we are focusing on how each player has done when operating through the middle.

Given Aubameyang has spent by far the most time playing as a striker (6,407 minutes) in the PL, he is bound to beat Havertz (2,389 minutes) and Sterling (1,935 minutes) when looking at most stats.

So, to get the best idea of who is truly the premier option, it makes sense to instead focus on per 90 stats.

In terms of pure goalscoring, it is, not too surprisingly, Aubameyang who comes out on top. The Gabonese star averages 0.54 goals per 90 when operating as a striker in the PL, compared to 0.37 for Sterling and 0.34 for Havertz.

Aubameyang (0.57) also tops the xG stats per 90, but Sterling (0.51), is not too far behind, whilst Havertz is bottom of the list again with 0.37 xG.

The former Arsenal man then heads up the list when looking at shots per 90 with 2.54, but it is Havertz (2.11 shots per 90) who has the highest shooting accuracy with 53.6 per cent compared to Auba’s 43.1 per cent.

Where Aubameyang begins to fall down, though, is in the build-up/off-the-ball categories.

Raheem Sterling averages 5.21 dribbles per match and completes 45.5 per cent of them, followed by Havertz (2.86 and 51 .3 per cent) and then Aubameyang (2.25 59.4 per cent).

Both Sterling and Havertz are much better at winning the ball back in the final third as well.

Sterling averages 14.2 offensive duels and wins 31.4 per cent of them. Havertz averages 9.38 with a win rate of 32.1 per cent. Aubameyang, meanwhile, averages just 5.4 and wins 38.4 per cent.

Havertz and Sterling also best Aubameyang by some distance when looking at how often a player recovers the ball in the opposition half – Havertz 2.71 one times per 90, Sterling 2.51 and Aubameyang just 1.46.

Finally, Aubameyang (1.12) has made the least progressive runs compared to Sterling (1.77) and Havertz (1.62)

So, in terms of pure goalscoring, it seems obvious that Aubameyang should be starting up top for Chelsea.

But if Tuchel wants his team to press from the front to prevent a side playing out from the back, it may be worth utilising Sterling through the middle as he is much more likely to close down opponents and attempt to win the ball back.

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