First of all, lets just say that 78 points isn’t a bad total by any means. In 1996/97 it would have been enough to win the title. And it would have taken something extraordinary to beat Manchester United this season considering that they had already reached 80pts by the conclusion of game 31.
City’s season began well enough for a title-winning year, keeping pace with United until about game 15 when they followed up a home draw against Everton with a 2-3 loss to United and then a few games later experienced a disappointing away loss to Sunderland. A few more stutters were evident along the way – in particular a 3 game run from the end of January which included a draw with QPR and Liverpool and an away defeat to Southampton. This season the margin for error at the top was too small for these slip-ups to be turned around triumphantly.
The above graphs show that City struggled a bit in front of goal for much of the season, not quite hitting the heights expected of such a expensively assembled squad. Defensively, however, they were generally brilliant and had the best goals conceded record for the season.
Not much wrong with their home record this season, although it is hard not to compare it negatively to their unbelievable record of the season before. I’d look to the low goals scored away from home as a problem to that needs to be addressed next term.
Here’s a stat that is possibly of no use: City had the heaviest team in the league last season weighted by playing time. This is despite their team being slightly under the average height, so may be something to do with the kind of nutritional/physical conditioning City are pursuing behind the scenes. It could potentially affect player speed and reaction times although I’m sure they test these things so perhaps it’s of no significance!
In terms of City’s return from each segment, more than anything it looks like they didn’t score enough against teams destined for the top half (6-10th). They’d probably expect to gain an additional 0.5pts per game from these teams (against Everton in particular they only took 1pt).
City fielded a lot more players who played only between 1600-2000mins than the league average – this group of players quite crucially included Aguero, who City really did miss for a large part of the season. Joe Hart and Yaya Touré were also the only players that City fielded for more than 2800mins.
If they had been able to field Aguero, Silva and Kompany in maybe 5 more games each I have little doubt that they would have improved their points total.
- Highest proportion of tackles won: 79.5%
- More total chances created than United or Chelsea (509)
- Lowest goals per shots on target ratio out of the top 4
- Second lowest number of goalkeeper saves (78)
- Second lowest number of fouls won
- Highest number of final third passes attempted (6931)
- Lowest total long balls attempted (1612)
Shall I say it again? City missed Aguero and Silva. People might be inclined to think that these players just weren’t as good this season – I disagree, their stats remained impressive. Richards also made a great contribution to the team when he played but again City missed him through injury for a large part of the season. Nastasic actually outperformed Kompany according to TPOEM, and Zabaleta was brilliant at right back – but we knew that already, didn’t we?!
The overall summary of this review is that City needn’t make any rash decisions and sack Mancini. Oh, wait… Fine, in that case Pellegrini (or whoever comes in to manage City) will only need to have Aguero, Silva and Kompany at his disposal more often next season to improve on this year’s points total in the league (ceteris paribus). And of course, additional attacking options will always be welcome.