Raheem Sterling will rejoin England's World Cup squad on Friday ahead of the quarter-final against France after a whistle-stop trip home.

The Chelsea forward travelled to be with his family after an apparent burglary at their house that saw a number of valuable items stolen.

The 28-year-old was not involved in England's last-16 win against Senegal on Sunday, with manager Gareth Southgate saying Sterling was heading home.

An investigation has been launched by Surrey Police after the raid was reported on Saturday.

The force said there had been "no threat of violence... as the items were discovered stolen retrospectively".

The Football Association said in a statement on Thursday: "Raheem Sterling will return to England's World Cup base in Qatar.

"The Chelsea forward temporarily left to attend to a family matter but is now expected to rejoin the squad in Al Wakrah on Friday ahead of the quarter-final with France."

It may mean his return comes too late for Sterling to stand any chance of starting Saturday's game against the defending champions, given he has missed several key training sessions.

Sterling, who turned 28 on Thursday, has scored 20 goals in 81 senior appearances for England. He has one goal so far at this World Cup, netted in the opening 6-2 win against Iran.

Surrey Police has confirmed it is investigating a report of a burglary as England and Chelsea forward Raheem Sterling returns home from the World Cup in Qatar.

The 27-year-old was not involved in England's last-16 win against Senegal on Sunday, with manager Gareth Southgate saying Sterling was heading home and telling ITV: "clearly the priority is for him to be with his family and we're going to support that."

England officials put it down to "a family matter" before kick-off, with the BBC reporting a break-in at Sterling's London area home occurred on Saturday night.

A statement released by Surrey Police on Monday confirmed an investigation was underway into a burglary in Oxshott, Leatherhead.

"Police were contacted just before 9pm on Saturday December 3rd after the occupants of the property came home and discovered a number of items including jewellery and watches had been stolen," the statement read.

"Enquiries to establish the circumstances are underway and the investigation is ongoing.

"No threat of violence was involved as the items were discovered stolen retrospectively. Enquiries into the circumstances are ongoing. No arrests have been made at this time."

Surrey Police did not confirm if the incident was related to Sterling when contacted by Stats Perform.

It remains to be seen whether Sterling travels back to Qatar in time to feature in the Three Lions' quarter-final against France on Saturday.

Raheem Sterling missed England's World Cup last-16 match against Senegal after travelling home following a raid by armed intruders on his home, Stats Perform understands.

The Chelsea forward was absent from Gareth Southgate's squad for the 3-0 win over the Africa Cup of Nations champions on Sunday.

England officials put it down to "a family matter" before kick-off, and it remains to be seen whether Sterling travels back to Qatar in time to feature in the quarter-final against France next Saturday.

The BBC reported the break-in at Sterling's London area home occurred on Saturday night.

Manager Gareth Southgate said after England's victory: "Raheem is having to deal with a family situation. He's going back to England. We have to give him time to try to resolve that, or be there for his family. That’s the most important thing; we are going to give him that space.

"It didn't impact team selection. I spent a lot of time with Raheem this morning, so you have days where events happen and you have to deal with them. He's on his way home. We are obviously mindful of him being allowed space and respect his privacy, so we don't want to talk about it in too much detail.

"It's not ideal for the group ahead of the big game, but it pales into insignificance – individual is more important than group in these moments."

The scorer of England's opening goal, Jordan Henderson, told ITV: "I hope everything's okay with Raheem's family at home and I hope he goes back and can sort everything out. Hopefully he can then come back, but I suppose he'll have to assess when he gets there. All our thoughts and support is with him."

England defender Eric Dier was asked by Stats Perform about Sterling's absence, and said: "We all wish him and his family well. We hope everyone's okay.

"I just found out before the game. I don't know more than that, just wish him all the best."

Midfielder Declan Rice indicated the day had begun as any other, with Sterling in camp.

"I literally saw him at breakfast this morning and then the manager said he's had some difficulty with his family at home," Rice said. "We'll send him a message and wait to hear more."

Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden have been chosen to support Harry Kane in England's World Cup last 16 clash with Senegal.

It means Marcus Rashford, the scorer of two goals in England's 3-0 win against Wales in their final group game, has to settle for a place on the bench alongside Jack Grealish. Raheem Sterling was unavailable as he is dealing with a family matter.

Jordan Henderson retains his place in midfield alongside Declan Rice, with Jude Bellingham continuing in a more advanced role.

Kyle Walker starts at right-back ahead of Kieran Trippier at Al Bayt Stadium.

Idrissa Gueye misses out for Senegal due to suspension.

Pep Guardiola's new contract with Manchester City will see him remain at the Etihad Stadium until 2025, when he will mark nine years at the club.

The Catalan coach has already remained in the Premier League for longer than he has at his previous roles with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, finding a home within English football and establishing a dominant force with his City side.

Throughout his six and a half years in charge so far, Guardiola has been in charge of numerous superstars and club legends, with an all-time squad that would be of envy for any manager in world football.

But how exactly do you break that down into a full XI? Stats Perform has taken on the task and done exactly that.

Ederson

Guardiola made a bold choice upon his arrival in Manchester, swiftly making it clear England international Joe Hart, a two-time Premier League winner, would not fit into his plans moving forward. After a disappointing season with Claudio Bravo, Ederson arrived in 2017 and has been number one ever since.

All of Ederson's 260 appearances across all competitions have come as a starter, higher than any other player under Guardiola, while he sits fifth in the list for total appearances under the Catalan boss.

Kyle Walker

Signed from Tottenham Hotspur in 2017, Kyle Walker has been a mainstay in the City side that has dominated domestic football over the course of the past five years, ranking fifth for the most starts under Guardiola in all competitions (207).

Walker's versatility has been a key benefit for Guardiola and England, with his attacking play also fitting into City's style of play well. Since arriving at City, Walker has contributed 17 assists across all competitions, behind only Joao Cancelo (20) among defenders.

Aymeric Laporte

Among defenders during Guardiola's spell in charge, only John Stones and Walker have started more games than Laporte (155), with both players having joined the club in the seasons before Laporte's arrival from Athletic Bilbao in January 2018.

A total of 163 appearances across all competitions puts him narrowly ahead of Nicolas Otamendi (161) for most games under Guardiola.

John Stones

Snapped up in 2016 as one of Guardiola's first signings, Stones has had to contend with incredible competition for his spot at the heart of the defence, with the likes of Laporte, Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake all drafted in.

Despite that, Stones continues to be an important player for City and has made 175 starts under Guardiola and 206 appearances overall, ranking second in both among defenders behind only Walker.

Joao Cancelo

The versatile Portuguese full-back moved to City in 2019 from Juventus and has excelled for City, tallying 149 total appearances and 135 starts in all competitions since joining the club, and provides a huge boost in the attacking third.

A total of 20 assists puts him above any defender during Guardiola's spell in charge, even those who have been at the club far longer.

Kevin de Bruyne

Few players fit the Guardiola philosophy more than De Bruyne, who has hit new heights under the former Barcelona boss to stand among the finest players in world football – with a record in front of goal that many would envy.

De Bruyne has registered 117 assists under Guardiola, way ahead of second-place Raheem Sterling (66), while he has scored 73 goals – only behind Gabriel Jesus, Sterling and Sergio Aguero.

Ilkay Gundogan

With 205 starts under Guardiola, the midfielder has been an integral part of the City side since following the Catalan from Germany to Manchester, ranking only behind Walker, David Silva, Sterling, De Bruyne and Ederson in that regard.

Only six players have scored more goals under Guardiola than Gundogan (51), who ranks ninth for the most assists (33).

Fernandinho

The rock of City's midfield for years, Fernandinho started 200 games under Guardiola and made a total of 244 appearances, the latter seeing him rank behind only Ederson, Bernardo Silva, Gundogan, De Bruyne and Sterling.

A total of 12 goals and 16 assists in those matches represents a decent return for a player renowned more for his defensive strength.

Bernardo Silva

Slotting into the attack ahead of Phil Foden and David Silva, both of whom have a stellar record under Guardiola, Bernardo Silva narrowly gets the nod due to his own impressive numbers in the final third.

Silva has 104 direct goal contributions (50 goals, 54 assists) in 273 appearances, starting in 208 of those matches. Only Sterling and De Bruyne have more assists under Guardiola, while Silva is one of eight players to hit the half-century mark for goals.

Sergio Aguero

In the future, Aguero's spot in the team is likely to be under significant threat from Erling Haaland following his blistering start to life at City, but the Argentine superstar retains the edge for the time being.

Aguero scored 124 goals under Guardiola, more than any other player, with Sterling the only other to have broken the century mark. Those goals came in just 183 appearances with Guardiola in charge, displaying his deadly ability in front of the net.

Raheem Sterling

An unsung hero of the Guardiola era, Sterling played 292 times under the Catalan boss, more than anyone else, while only Aguero scored more goals than Sterling (120).

Sterling also contributed 66 assists under Guardiola, sitting behind only De Bruyne, and is the only player to have scored over 100 goals and added over 50 assists under the Catalan boss.

Bukayo Saka scored twice as England made a flying start to their World Cup campaign by thrashing Iran 6-2 at the Khalifa International Stadium on Monday.

Saka – whose penalty miss proved decisive in the Euro 2020 final last year – netted a stunning volley to help Gareth Southgate's side take a 3-0 lead into half-time, before he doubled up after the break.

With Iran crumbling after goalkeeper Alireza Beyranvand suffered a nasty head injury early on, Jude Bellingham set the tone by scoring his first international goal, while Raheem Sterling prodded home England's third.

Mehdi Taremi denied England a clean sheet with a powerful finish, but substitutes Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish responded as the Three Lions sent out a message to their Group B rivals despite Taremi scoring a very late second from the penalty spot.

Harry Maguire was a nuisance in the opposition box and saw an early penalty appeal waved away before powering a header against the crossbar in the 32nd minute.

Three minutes later, Bellingham diverted Luke Shaw's hanging cross into the top-right corner with a fine looping header.

With Iran struggling to contain the Three Lions, Maguire nodded a corner into the path of Saka to unleash a fierce volley into the top-right corner and double England's lead.

Southgate's rampant side then made it 3-0 in first-half stoppage time when Sterling cutely diverted home Harry Kane's right-wing cross.

There was no sign of England slowing down after the break, as Saka clinched his brace by cutting inside to drill a low finish beyond Iran substitute Hossein Hosseini.

Taremi denied England a clean sheet by firing in off the crossbar, but substitutes Rashford and Grealish produced composed finishes as the Three Lions extended their lead to 6-1.

There was one last piece of action when Taremi converted from the spot at the end of stoppage time after a VAR check contentiously ruled he was fouled by John Stones.

For Newcastle United and Chelsea, their respective outlooks heading into the final fixture before the World Cup couldn't be much more different.

While Eddie Howe's side are enjoying a brilliant season that at this point looks set to end with a European spot at the very least, Chelsea have endured a difficult few weeks and are on the slide.

Essentially, the World Cup break comes at the worst possible moment for Newcastle, but for Chelsea it's perfectly timed as it can potentially act as a circuit-breaker.

Nevertheless, there's still time for Chelsea to improve their collective mood heading into the break – though Saturday's trip to St James' Park is going to be a real test.

Newcastle a different beast

In the world of football, people love to look back for omens. Chelsea and their fans might be able to trick themselves into some confidence if they reflect on the club's record against Newcastle.

The Blues have won three of their past four Premier League away games against the Magpies – if they rack up another, they'll make it three victories in a row at St James' Park for the first time since 1958.

Similarly, Chelsea have won seven of their previous eight league games against Newcastle (L1), including the past four in a row without conceding.

But this Newcastle is obviously a rather different proposition. They'll be playing a Premier League game after starting the day in the top three for the first time since November 2011, and it'll be the first time they've faced Chelsea while above them in the table in 12 and a half years.

Newcastle also head into the game knowing a win will see them tally five top-flight triumphs in a row for the first time in eight years. 

Chelsea have the blues

Graham Potter made history after going unbeaten in his first nine games at the Chelsea helm, but since then they've lost three out of four matches.

Wednesday's 2-0 loss to Manchester City in the EFL Cup third round was hardly a major shock, but it'll have done little to improve their state of mind after the team's confidence took a battering – literally and figuratively – in the 4-1 defeat to Potter's former side Brighton and Hove Albion and a 1-0 reverse at home to Arsenal.

The latter two were both in the league and were only separated by a slender Champions League victory over Dinamo Zagreb, meaning defeat on Saturday would see them lose three top-flight games in a row for the first time since November 2015 when Jose Mourinho was in charge.

Shot-shy Chelsea

Part of Chelsea's problem has been their struggles in front of goal, which perhaps shouldn't be seen as hugely shocking given they let two strikers in Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku leave in pre-season.

Only five clubs have had fewer shots in the Premier League this term than Chelsea (151), with their average of 11.6 shots per game their lowest on record in a single campaign (since 1997-98).

By comparison, their hosts are having no such issues.

Only Liverpool and Manchester City have had more shots than Newcastle (208), with their average of 14.9 attempts per game their highest since 2013-14 (15.2).

Chelsea do at least have two players who've enjoyed facing Newcastle in the past. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been involved in nine goals in as many meetings with them in all competitions, his best return against one team in English football, while Raheem Sterling has recorded six goal involvements in his past six league games against the Magpies.

However, neither could be considered in a rich vein of form – that's certainly not something you could say about Newcastle's Miguel Almiron.

Almiron's on fire

Almiron's turnaround at Newcastle has genuinely been quite heart-warming, particularly against the backdrop of those disparaging comments made by Jack Grealish earlier this year.

The Paraguayan has been utterly lethal for Newcastle this season, and his form received the recognition it deserved on Friday when he was announced as the Premier League's Player of the Month for October.

But his excellence hasn't just been localised to October. Almiron has eight goals in 14 Premier League games this term, just one fewer than he managed in his first 110 in the competition combined.

Clearly, though, he's really found his groove in the past few weeks, as a goal against Chelsea will see him become the first player to net in five successive league games for the club since Joe Willock's remarkable run of seven at the end of the 2020-21 season.

Graham Potter is one of the best coaches in the Premier League, and Chelsea will be rewarded for sticking with him, according to Pep Guardiola.

Chelsea face Guardiola's Manchester City in the EFL Cup third round on Wednesday – a task Potter is unlikely to relish given recent results.

After a nine-match unbeaten run to start his Stamford Bridge reign, Potter lost 4-1 at former club Brighton and Hove Albion last month.

A narrow defeat to Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday was a second in a row domestically, and pressure is already building on the coach.

But Guardiola thinks highly of his opposite number, and he said ahead of their meeting: "I'm not the right person to say that because it's not my business. But if Chelsea accepts my humble advice, with no intention, give him time and he will do well."

The City boss added: "I have a lot of admiration for his work. What he did at Brighton is beyond exceptional, and I'm pretty sure with time he will do a good job.

"I don't have any doubts about this. It's the same with Roberto De Zerbi at Brighton.

"When they start losing games, it's a question of time. If they are patient, he will have an impact in England and he will have it as Graham has done in this country.

"He's one of the best managers, from my point of view, we have in this league."

Guardiola will encounter another man under pressure on Wednesday as former City star Raheem Sterling returns to the Etihad Stadium with Chelsea.

Sterling scored against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League last week, but that was only his fifth goal for Chelsea. He netted 17 for City last season.

"No, no, I cannot judge," Guardiola said. "In the case of Oleks [Zinchenko], Gabi [Jesus] and Raheem, I want the best.

"So, my gratitude to all of them, especially these guys, is immense, immense for what they have done for this club. Just hats off.

"Thank you so much, and I wish him all the best and, hopefully, he's happy there.

"I definitely hope [Sterling gets a good reception]. I always like clubs when they welcome the guys who had been here many years and have been key figures and important roles in our team in all these years.

"Because maybe you forget what happened in the last month, but that is not a reality [of] what happened in a period of six, seven years he was here.

"He deserves it, of course. The same is going to happen with Gabi. When the game starts, of course, you want to beat them. But I think in England, people appreciate that."

Chelsea head coach Graham Potter thinks it is unfair for Raheem Sterling to be the focus of criticism when the whole team is failing to match expectations.

The Blues had enjoyed a solid start to Potter's tenure in charge, going unbeaten in his first nine matches, but a chastening 4-1 defeat away to his former club Brighton and Hove Albion saw the honeymoon period end in abrupt fashion.

A slender 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb followed in the Champions League, but Arsenal inflicted a second successive Premier League loss on Chelsea at the weekend as they left Stamford Bridge with a 1-0 victory.

Chelsea's performance in that London derby was desperately underwhelming, but Potter does not want one player taking the brunt of criticism, with Sterling – who struggled against the Gunners – coming in for a lot amid a muted start to life at the club that has some questioning his England future.

When Sterling's admission that he needs to offer more was brought up at Potter's pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday's third-round EFL Cup trip to Manchester City, he said: "You can tell by his reaction, he's honest.

"Players go through moments in their career where it isn't so positive and sometimes they go through periods where everything they touch is gold, so to speak.

"I don't think you can zoom in on the individual; the team isn't functioning as well as we'd like. That has an impact on the individuals, and Raheem's part of the team, so the work is for us to improve the team, improve the structures.

"I've no doubt about Raheem's quality, ability. He's a proven top, top player."

Throughout his career to date, Potter has been praised for an ability to get the most out of his players, nurturing them to help them find a level they had not been to before.

This coaching was particularly seen at Brighton, where the club established something of a habit of signing players relatively cheaply and developing them into valuable assets.

Potter feels he has been working a similar way ever since joining Chelsea, but he was eager to point out that a significant overhaul in such a short period of time can take some adjusting to for everyone.

"You have to do that constantly," he continued. "That's what the job entails, not just for [Sterling], for lots of players because like I said, it's been a tough period.

"There's lots of things happening, change, new faces everywhere, trying to get it all to gel and settle down, and trying to develop a new playing style.

"As you can see, we've a lot of work to do, but that's why we came here, to produce a top team. There's a long way to go, but it's exciting."

Potter's excitement about the future at Chelsea certainly does not appear to have been tempered by their recent woes, and he puts that down to never kidding himself that it was always going to go well.

"I'd be lying if I said to you I didn't expect it at some point," Potter added. "When you take this job and challenge on, of course there will be times when it isn't a pleasant road.

"You have to deal with that, be honest. That's my responsibility, to take that on. We'll have a had six-week period in the end where we've had 13 matches, eight of them away.

"It takes a toll on everything. We've had injuries to key players, it can get messy, it's part of the process. I've been through it before, so it is what it is, that's part of what the job is to deal with it.

"I don't think you can ever predict football. When results were good, I was honest enough to say we still have a lot of things to improve.

"It wasn't as if we were sitting there thinking we've cracked football, by any means. Performance wise we can improve a lot. It's exciting, but that's the challenge."

Mason Mount described Ben Chilwell's hamstring agony as "tough to watch" and hopes his Chelsea and England team-mate can recover in time to feature at the World Cup.

Left-back Chilwell was forced from the field during stoppage time in the Blues' 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League on Wednesday.

With the Qatar 2022 finals less than three weeks away, Chilwell faces a race to prove his fitness for England boss Gareth Southgate, deepening what is already becoming a defensive crisis for the Three Lions.

Mount was left fearing the worst for Chilwell, but he remained hopeful it may not be as serious an injury as it looked at first glance.

"We don't know how bad it is, but that was tough to watch," Mount told Chelsea's official website. "We saw his reaction and that never looks good.

"As soon as you feel something and to not even think about the ball, it's tough. We know what's coming up, hopefully it's not too bad and he can be back as soon as possible because we need him as well."

While Chilwell's place on the plane now looks in doubt, one player who has given his tournament prospects a shot in the arm is Raheem Sterling.

The England winger broke his Blues drought with a goal in the midweek win, and Mount was delighted to see Sterling on the scoresheet for the first time since September.

"It's brilliant for Raz," Mount said. "He took his goal very well. He doesn't think about how many games he goes without scoring.

"He's so focused on helping the team and getting in the right positions. It will come for him, we know how good he is."

Chelsea next play Arsenal on Sunday in the Premier League. England will play their opening World Cup game against Iran on November 21.

Denis Zakaria scored the winner on his Chelsea debut as the Blues recorded a fourth straight Champions League win with a 2-1 victory over Dinamo Zagreb at Stamford Bridge.

Zakaria has struggled to break into the first team since joining on loan from Juventus in the last transfer window but his 30th-minute strike proved decisive after Raheem Sterling had cancelled out Bruno Petkovic's opener.

The Blues had already secured progression to the knockout stages as Group E winners prior to Wednesday's clash, where goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic impressed to keep Dinamo in the game in the second half.

Dinamo could not muster a comeback, though, and were eliminated from Europe after finishing bottom, while Chelsea responded in encouraging fashion after a 4-1 loss to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

Petkovic headed Dinamo into a seventh-minute lead after Chelsea failed to deal with Sadegh Moharrami's right-wing cross but the Blues soon levelled.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang flicked for Sterling to dance onto his left foot and coolly find the bottom-left corner.

Sterling missed a great chance when he powered Kai Havertz's centre over from close range, but Zakaria fired into the bottom-left corner from a similar distance after another cutback pass from the German to put Chelsea ahead.

Edouard Mendy pushed away Josip Sutalo's header after the interval, while Livakovic parried over an Aubameyang curler before Ben Chilwell blasted just off target from a tight angle.

Mason Mount's whipped free-kick was denied by another fine Livakovic stop in the closing stages as Chelsea eased to victory.

What does it mean? Good omens for Potter in Champions League

Potter has taken well to life in European football and became the first Chelsea manager to go unbeaten in his first five Champions League games since Roberto Di Matteo in the 2011-12 season.

Di Matteo guided the Blues to European glory that campaign and Potter will be hoping to replicate the feat after Chelsea extended to 11 home games unbeaten in the competition's group stage, last losing to Valencia in September 2019.

While Chelsea have made an underwhelming start in the Premier League, where they sit sixth, they will at least have some confidence in Europe ahead of Monday's last-16 draw.

Super Sterling

Sterling has faced scrutiny for a diminishing role in the Chelsea side in recent weeks, with some questioning whether the forward should be in England's starting line-up at the World Cup.

Yet, while the 27-year-old missed a gilt-edged first-half chance, only Wayne Rooney (30) has more Champions League goals among English players than Sterling (20) after his equaliser.

Away day misery for Dinamo

While Dinamo may not have expected to become just the second side – after Basel in the 2013-14 season – to beat Chelsea home and away in the Champions League group stage, their performance left much to be desired.

Despite Petkovic's opener, Ante Cacic's visitors offered little to trouble Mendy as Dinamo made it 21 away games in the competition without victory (L18 D3), dating back to a 1-0 win over Ajax in November 1998.

What's next?

Chelsea host Arsenal in the Premier League in Sunday's crunch London derby, while Dinamo are at home to Sibenik on the same day.

Chelsea head coach Graham Potter believes his team as a whole must "do better" in attack following Saturday's drab draw with Manchester United.

The Blues had just six attempts and two on target in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, their goal coming from the penalty spot through Jorginho.

Raheem Sterling was quiet again as he waits on a first career goal against United. He has a sole goal involvement in his past six Chelsea matches in all competitions and none in his past four.

Speaking ahead of the midweek Champions League meeting with Salzburg, Potter deflected blame from Sterling, calling on the entire team to improve going forward.

"I think it's more of a team thing. We have to try to do better as a team, improve our attacking play as a team, and then individuals can do better," he said.

"I always want to look at how the team functions, and there is a lot of improvement possible in that area, and that will help Raheem."

Potter was asked what needed to change for Chelsea, but he pointed to the absence of key players.

"It's a simple question to ask but quite a complex one to answer," he replied. "There's lots of things, we've had a couple of issues, losing Reece [James], [Kalidou] Koulibaly and Wesley [Fofana] in terms of stability.

"On the back of away matches in the Champions League, there have been tough places to go, so it's a combination of finding balance, a bit of a process in terms of not too much training time between the games; I think we've played seven games in the last three weeks.

"When players are coming out, to find that stability and the structure is a bit more complex, so that's been a bit of a challenge."

Raheem Sterling's form is something that will improve if Chelsea take steps forward as a team, suggests Blues boss Graham Potter.

The England international has struggled for goals since his move from Manchester City to Stamford Bridge ahead of the current campaign, with the winger looking to cement his place in Gareth Southgate's Three Lions plans.

An injury to club and international team-mate Reece James has seen him take on a positional change, playing at wing-back over some recent games in an unfamiliar role.

That has reduced his direct impact in attack, but Potter has suggested the 27-year-old will get back into the swing of things if the players around him also take steps forward.

"It's something we have to look at not by zooming into one person but as a team," he was quoted as saying on the club's website. "We can do better but if we do better as a team, then individuals will benefit from that so that's where the work is.

"Raheem has the flexibility, ability and quality to play in a number of positions. It's not straightforward with us losing the players we have. We're trying to constantly find the right balance and the right solutions, but he can help us."

Sterling figured at the front again for Chelsea in their 1-1 draw with Manchester United, when Red Devils defender Raphael Varane left the field in tears with a potential injury that could scupper his Qatar 2022 World Cup chances.

Potter acknowledged the looming tournament is likely to have an impact on players as they aim to avoid any issues that may prevent them from being in contention.

"I don't think it affects their performances, but they're also human beings," he added. "Somewhere subconsciously, you're thinking that in three weeks' time, there's a World Cup.

"I guess because of how close it is after the games finish, normally you would have a build-up phase and a bit more time, but we're going from competition phase to playing the World Cup within a week.

"It's incredible how it is, but we can't do anything about it. We just have to help the players as best we can and make sure they're not in dangerous situations for their own health."

Chelsea's perfect Premier League record under Graham Potter came to an end in the goalless draw against Brentford on Wednesday, which increases the importance of Saturday's clash against Manchester United.

The Blues sit one point above Erik ten Hag's side heading into the weekend, with both eager for a win in the early stages of the battle for a top-four finish – particularly with Newcastle United and Liverpool gathering steam behind them.

On big occasions like this, Chelsea may look to their star players and marquee additions for an impact, which directs attention towards Raheem Sterling, although the England international has a surprisingly sorry record against United.

Sterling's clashes against the Red Devils have previously always been derby encounters, first with Liverpool and then Manchester City, and in terms of goalscoring he has not risen to the occasion in the past.

Sterling's United stutters

In his Premier League career, Sterling has faced United on 18 different occasions and has enjoyed victory in just a third of those fixtures – with a tally of six wins being the second lowest against an opponent he has played on more than 10 occasions (behind games against Liverpool – three wins in 13 games).

Nine defeats leaves Sterling with more losses against United than he has tasted against any other side, with that total including three losses in his last four appearances against the Red Devils – all of which were Manchester derbies with City.

Sterling's woes have not just been on the final outcome, however, as he has failed to score in the 1,357 minutes he has played against United, despite the fact they are the side he has played the fourth-most minutes against, behind Everton, Southampton and Tottenham.

To date, Sterling's direct impact in the final third against United stands at just two assists, and Chelsea's recent history does not look much better.

United's upper hand

Chelsea head into Saturday's clash against United without a win in the last nine Premier League meetings between the sides, with draws being a regular occurrence (6) and three losses for the Blues.

In fact, 11 of the past 23 clashes between the two sides in England's top flight have finished level, with United securing seven victories in that span compared to Chelsea's five.

Chelsea's last win against United in the Premier League came five years ago, in November 2017, when Alvaro Morata scored the decisive goal of the game.

If that long wait for three points is to end this weekend, the Blues will need to be firing on all cylinders against a United side who have found their rhythm with a five-game unbeaten streak since their drubbing at the hands of City at the start of the month.

Raheem Sterling says England have shown what Gareth Southgate brings to them and insists it is not "time to panic" following their UEFA Nations League relegation.

The Three Lions were condemned to bottom spot in Group A3 after a 1-0 loss to Italy on Friday, marking their fifth consecutive match without a win, their worst competitive run since 1992.

With the World Cup in Qatar looming, expectations for another successful tournament run following a semi-final appearance at Russia 2018 and finishing runners-up at Euro 2020 look to have plummeted for Southgate's side.

Despite his achievements, form under the 52-year-old has come under increasing criticism, but, speaking ahead of Monday's dead rubber with Germany, Sterling has defended his efforts and says he remains the right man.

"[We've made it to] a semi-final and a final," he stated. "We should be trying to put positive messages out there to try and spur the boys on again. With the performances, I get why we're not thinking like this at the minute.

"But I don't think it is time to panic. We've shown over the last couple of years what [Southgate] brings to this team. He's someone that all the boys trust and someone that we want to follow in his direction.

"I don't think these last games change that narrative. I think the narrative needs to be can we go that one step ahead and how we can do it - to try and build positives."

Sterling acknowledged performances have been below par as of late, with England struggling to find a satisfactory formation to prevent defensive fragilities, but remained adamant they can turn the corner.

"In football, there's ups and downs," he said. "I think over the last couple of years, we've been in good form. The game tomorrow is a great opportunity to go out there and take a step in the right direction."

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