The Dominant Manchester City

Manchester City are in the midst of a historic season. They are dominating opponents and so far this season, City are yet to lose a game: as of this writing, they have nineteen wins and one draw. This terrific run has seen them take a commanding lead in the league. Right now, City are 13 points clear of second place Chelsea, with a game in hand. Just how extraordinary have City been? Let’s take a closer, statistical look.

(All stats courtesy of WhoScored.com and are accurate as of December 29.)

When you watch Manchester City play, one major thing stands out: their passing. Pep Guardiola classically deploys teams capable of passing the ball at the highest level. This year’s Manchester City team is no different. From goal, with Ederson, to defense, with Otamendi, Delph, and Walker, to midfield, anchored by Fernandinho, David Silva, and Kevin De Bruyne, to attack, made up of Sterling, Sane, Jesus, and Aguero, City are playing some of the most effective, passing oriented soccer in Europe.

As a team, City pass the ball more times per game than any other team in the Premier League. They also average 120.2 more accurate short passes, a Pep staple, per game than any other Premier League team. These accurate short passes make up 85% of City’s total pass attempts, again the highest percentage in the league.

Manchester City’s focus on short passing pays bigger dividends than simply producing aesthetically pleasing soccer. Successful short passes provide a logical benefit in maintaining possession. City lead the league in possession, as Pep’s sides are known to do, with 66.2%.

Because they take the lion’s share of possession, City have more opportunities to score. They lead the Premier League in total shots per game, 18.2, shots on target, 7.6, and their 42% shot accuracy is nearly five percentage points higher than the next most accurate team. This trio of statistics gives some fantastic insight into how Manchester City have been so effective this season. Taking the most shots is not, in itself, impressive; leading the league in shots on target and shot accuracy, however, goes a long way toward world-class efficiency.

Topping the Premier League in possession has added value for Pep’s side on the defensive end as well. Because City see so much of the ball, opponents have fewer opportunities to score. Manchester City have conceded the fewest number of shots per game, 6.1, in the Premier League.

Suffering so few shots, City’s goalkeepers have made a league low 1.5 saves per game, while conceding the fewest goals so far this season, 16.

Now, in terms of goalscoring, Manchester City are, unsurprisingly, at the top of the Premier League. Their goal tally, 61, is impressive, but not nearly as impressive as their 45 total goals in open play. City have scored 50% more goals in open play than the next closest team, Liverpool. In fact, Man City have scored more goals in open play than Swansea, West Brom, Bournemouth, and Crystal Palace combined.

Will Manchester City be able to keep up this impressive pace for the entire season? If these statistics are anything to judge by, then yes. City are Premier League title favorites and contenders for the Champions League crown; we are witnessing one of the most dominant sides in Premier League history.