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Man City 2 – 0 Bolton | Full-backs analysis | EPL Opta Stats

On the opposite flank Gael Clichy provided solid support to Toure, posting a similarly successful completion rate and whilst his final third passing numbers were lower (completing seven of eight), he did have six final third entries and the shot on goal from distance (that took a deflection) that put City ahead in the game:

Both graphics display the involvement of both Toure and Clichy from an attacking sense, demonstrating exactly on the pitch where their passes were attempted to show how well they link with the attacking game.

Where City have been impressive this season is in utilising both full-backs in games and although it has taken some time under Mancini’s tenure, he now has full-backs and a system he can trust to execute his game plan. Although Toure stepped in at right-back on Saturday City have rotated (to some degree) their full-back pairing, predominantly opting for Micah Richards and Gael Clichy but comfortable in the quartet as the following table shows:

The numbers in the table do show some interesting points, with all posting impressive passing numbers in the opposition zones and in particular showing that Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov (the left backs) being heavily involved in the final third (137 and 61 entries and 53 and 61 crosses ). All four have also created a number of chances for the side and whilst not hitting too many goals (or even shots for that matter) as a unit, Micah Richards has contributed five assists.

It is easy to overlook some of the less-heralded areas within City’s line-up given the outstanding play they have received from an attacking and defensive sense, but what Mancini has instilled within the side is a very disciplined and controlled style of play and one where the team very much functions and operates as a whole: shown by the integral part that the full-backs within City’s side play.


Managing Editor of SBNation's Manchester City blog 'Bitter and Blue' and author of 'Man City 365'.
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