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Manchester City are ripping up the history books with their demolishing of opponents


Manchester City are ripping up the history books with their demolishing of opponents

The champions are routing sides like no team before them in English football.

ANOTHER day, another merciless annihilation, and Manchester City’s 6-1 walloping of a beleaguered Southampton on Sunday was the fourth time this season they have scored five goals or more in a single game.

Given that we are only a few crunched leaves into November, it is a consistency of prolificacy that staggers and would be unprecedented at this early juncture had Pep Guardiola’s riotous routers not banged fives past Liverpool and Crystal Palace, six past Watford, and spanked Stoke by seven before the clocks went back last term. Prior to that though, well, there is no prior to that. No team on English soil in living memory – even if that memory belongs to a man shrivelled like a prune – has ever put opponents so brutally to the sword with such regularly as this astonishing creation in blue. Frankly, no team has ever come close.

Let’s look at the stats. Let’s absorb the stats and try to normalise them as best we can.

In their last fifty Premier League games City have scored five or more goals on eleven occasions. That’s 22% of the time. That’s also more than Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United have managed combined. Only Arsenal are anywhere in the same vicinity with five ‘routs’ and that of course is still less than half of City’s formidable haul.

On 19 occasions in their last 50 league games – that’s 38% of the time – City have won by a margin of three goals or greater. Let’s briefly pause and reflect on this. In over a third of matches against the best teams that the most competitive league in the world can offer, City haven’t just won but finished up out of sight.

And finally, mainly for lolz in all honesty, but also to illustrate just how exceedingly difficult it is to breach the opposition five times or more in the space of ninety minutes, there is also that wonderful fact flying around Twitter presently. The last time Manchester United scored more than four goals domestically was in May 2013. Since then City have achieved the feat 28 times over.

Well, so what, the cynics and broken, bitter, small scribes may ask. After all, these numbers are hardly a surprise, considering that since Guardiola’s elaborate template has been installed at the club and fully understood by one and all City have unquestionably been on another level to their contemporaries. They have smashed records left, right and centre. Last season they accrued a century of points and conjured up 143 goals across all competitions. All the above proves is that not only do they reside on a different planet they absolutely do not come in peace.

Yet these figures are only to this point being compared to present-day rivals. What if we include the great and legendary Premier League behemoths of the past too?

Even as a Blue, I have to admit that Sir Alex Ferguson’s early nineties United side was a phenomenal machine that was rightfully lauded for their swashbuckling ways. Indeed, so relentlessly attacking were they, that recent managers have come unstuck by not living up to the mythology that spawned from it. Yet judging them by the same fifty-game barometer (by which I mean the entirety of their best season plus the first 11 games of the following season and the last game of the preceding one to round it up to fifty), that genuinely brilliant United team only twice managed to score five goals or more in a single Premier League game. The same goes for Arsenal’s Invincibles. The same goes too for the majestic Liverpool eleven of Barnes, Houghton and Beardsley from the late-eighties.

Only the United treble-winners at the turn of the century are anywhere in the same vicinity, with five ‘routs’ and that, of course, is still less than half of City’s formidable haul.

Which undoubtedly and uncontestably makes this Manchester City side the most ruthless and goal-hungry for generations and that this has been achieved in a period where the total tally of top flight goals has dropped quite dramatically, only makes them – and their systematic batterings – all the more remarkable.

There’s more too. Because so often we have seen a mandate that has them enact an early blitzkrieg that crushes the opposition spirit followed by a cold-blooded capitalisation of tired legs late on. The latter is done in third gear. The latter is done with the intention of husbanding themselves through a long and arduous campaign.

Just imagine the damage done if City actually went for it over the whole ninety minutes?

And this mandate – which in itself suggests a team several miles ahead of the curve – is again backed up by numbers, because from their 17 matches so far across all competitions City have scored 45 times and from that extraordinary high quantity 27% of the goals have come inside the opening quarter. The usual average for that period of the game is 20%. For the last quarter of their games they have scored 20% of their haul. The usual average for that period is 28%.

In short, City are turning the normal scoring patterns in a football match on its head, just like they’re turning everything else on its head: reimaging what is possible and reconceptualising the style in which that unparalleled excellence is attained.

This week there has been a coterie of broken, bitter, small scribes attempting to turn a leaked FFP molehill into a mountain. Their intention is to belittle and unforgivably to outright dismiss the prolific achievements laid out above. This is a great shame for many reasons but mostly for them. Because something very special is happening here and they’re only missing out.

 

 

 

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