Manchester City is coming off the international break looking to continue their Premier League dominance with a win over unbeaten Aston Villa this weekend. To put this coming match-up in to perspective, I have compared the numbers from the two EPL games Villa and City played last year (I don’t have the data from the FA cup game). The games were split, with each club winning at home. What’s strange is that the game that City dominated in possession, passing and shots, they lost 1-0. In the game where the possession and shots were split evenly, they won 4-0.
What’s the difference? The statistical comparison chart is below:
The first difference is the number of clear cut chances City had. In the game they lost, the team only had 1 clear cut chance. In the game they won, they had 4. This difference highlights something that most fans have noticed all season with City; no matter how much you possess and keep the ball, you can’t win unless you attack the goal, take shots, and take chances. This has been especially pertinent for City, as opponents have tended to sit in to defend their attack. In City’s win over Villa last season, the possession statistics were almost exactly even. The one facet of the game City dominated (besides goals scored) was clear cut chances. If City is able to create a significant amount of chances like they did in their 4-0 win, there is a much better chance they will win. If they don’t, the game could likely end up as a tie or loss on a goal against the run of play by Villa, much like what happened last year.
Simply getting chances is not enough if you can’t finish them. In last year’s loss to Villa, only one clear cut chance was created, and it was missed. In the win, 3 of the 4 clear cut chances were converted. It’s nothing new to say that finishing clear-cut chances that should be scored and not wasting chances is imperative to winning games. Whether it is Balo or Dzeko starting up top, City needs to finish their chances. Otherwise, a win could be tough to pull out. It’s that simple.
All possession, passing percentages, and final third entries aside, City needs to create good scoring chances and convert them, especially against an unbeaten Aston Villa side. These two aspects of City’s play will determine what kind of game we will see this year; the 4-0 win or the 1-0 loss.