THE SHARPE END: Man City's slump has been coming, the stats don't lie!

THE SHARPE END: Man City’s slump has been coming… teams know they don’t like it up em’! They’ve got the best players, they’ve got the best manager, but they are a bit wobbly…

  • Manchester City have failed to win in their last four Premier League outings  
  • Pep Guardiola’s side are facing more shots per game from their opponents   
  • Man City have dipped, but Gary Neville is WRONG to say they’re complacent – Listen to It’s All Kicking Off

Let’s get this out of the way first: Manchester City will probably win the Premier League this season. 

Yes, they’re seven points adrift of Liverpool. Yes, they’ve not won in four. Yes, Pep Guardiola has never failed to win five on the trot. Yes, a team as bad as Manchester United are only three points behind them.

Taking all that into account, yes, City will most likely go on to make it four titles in a row.

They’ve got the best players, they’ve got the best manager, they’ve got the know-how. They’re still the bookies’ favourites for a reason. 

None of that, however, changes the fact that City are a bit, well, wobbly.

Manchester City have failed to pick up a win in their last four Premier League matches

It comes as the Cityzens are also facing more shots from opposition teams than they ever have done under Pep Guardiola

They suffered a 1-0 defeat by Aston Villa on Wednesday with Villa now above City in the Premier League standings

Your browser does not support iframes.

It’s not just the Aston Villa defeat, which was a 1-0 battering by Unai Emery’s side. It goes beyond that. 

The trends are there. Guardiola knows it too. He’s accused his players of grinning like Cheshire cats and needing a shake-up.

This, as you’re about to see, has been coming.

City are facing more shots this season

Three of the five games in which they have faced the most shots under Guardiola have come since May.

City have faced the most shots under Guardiola in three games that have come this season 

They are also facing more shots per game this season and have also had their fewest number of shots taken this season too compared to any other season under Guardiola 

City are conceding their highest expected goals per game has also risen this season to be their most under Guardiola

City are conceding their highest Expected Goals (xGA) per game than the last time they failed to win the title in 2019-20 and the gap between their xG and that of their opponents is the tightest it’s ever been under Guardiola. 

As well as having the most shots (and conceding the fewest) against a City team under Pep, Villa also won the ball in the final third 13 times — the most in the PL against Guardiola’s City. Again, it’s not a one-off.

The three times when teams have most won the ball in City’s third in a PL game — and four of the top seven — have come since May.

Teams are starting to realise that City don’t like it up ‘em. Sit back and let them play, they kill you in the end. Go for them and, who knows, you might just stand a chance. Just look at Spurs.

Aston Villa won the ball in City’s final third 13 times during their 1-0 win on Wednesday  

They also won the ball inside City’s final third more times than any other side has done against Pep Guardiola’s team since he took charge at the club

The departure of Ilkay Gundogan has seen Julian Alvarez make less touches and less passes

With Gundogan no longer at the club, Alvarez has failed to make as many touches and passes this season but has scored four goals in 15 Premier League appearances 

Rodri is key to this, of course. The three games when City lost the ball most in their back third came when Rodri either wasn’t playing or was at centre-back. The last five games City have lost, Rodri hasn’t been playing.

It’s not just Rodri. Kevin De Bruyne’s injury and the departure of Ilkay Gundogan have been vital. Without Gundogan, City lose control. Julien Alvarez is a forward in midfield. He’s more direct on and off the ball.

It means City take more risks with the ball. They used to bore teams to death with relentless passes but can’t right now because they don’t have the players to do it.

Against Villa, two centre-backs played in holding midfield. It’s over to Pep, once again, to make a new way work.


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify

Your browser does not support iframes.

Source: Read Full Article