Pre-season projection preview – Manchester City

To enhance my 2016/17 Premier League projection I’m reviewing factors that may impact each team’s strength compared with last season, as explained here. Next up Manchester City.

Last Season

Manchester City have been the dominant Premier League team over the last few seasons in terms of underlying shot numbers – although trophy return doesn’t quite reflect this superiority. Last season was a similar story, City were highly rated by my shot based assessment (only bettered by Spurs), yet finished in a comparatively disappointing 4th position. This under-performance cost Manuel Pellegrini his job.

One possible weakness identified by the numbers is a relatively low save percentage of shots on target, which may highlight Joe Hart as an area of concern – especially after Euro 2016 performances.

Player Turnover

To illustrate the relative strengths of key players joining and leaving, the numbers below compare defensive, passing and attacking strength against the average premier league player in 2015/16 (0% means at the same level as the average premier league player, greater than 0% is better and less than 0% is worse). Defensive assessment is the sum of defensive actions (tackles, interceptions, clearances and blocks). Passing is number of completed passes, and attacking strength is goals plus assists (all measured per match). This isn’t a robust statistical analysis, and can be skewed due to acquisition from a weaker league or lack of minutes played – but the purpose is to simply indicate the comparative strength of incoming and outgoing players.

ManC

Manchester City have, as usual, invested heavily over the close season. The signings so far appear to add to City’s abundance of creative talent – when it’s the defensive part of the team that’s probably more in need of strengthening.

European Competition

Yes. Champions League. No change compared with last season.

Management 

Yes! Pep Guardiola. Another superstar manager in Manchester.Although Pep Guardiola has no Premier League experience, expectations will be high that he (unlike other recent managers) can truly harness the undoubted underlying strength of the City squad.

Overall assessment

Stonger – Manchester City were already very strong, the combination of Pep Guardiola and further investment should make them even better.

06/08/2016

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