Joao Cancelo, Premier League team of the season
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Manchester City v Manchester United: How they compare

| 08.03.2022

Pep holds the aces: Man City v Man Utd comparison

Premier League champions Manchester City demonstrated their dominance over neighbours United with an impressive 4-1 win in Sunday’s derby.

City are now six points clear of nearest rivals Liverpool at the top of the table and 1/4 to retain their title, while United are behind Arsenal and Tottenham in the Premier League top-four odds at 7/2.

This season’s Premier League statistics back up the difference in class between the sides as we examine some of the features in our Man City v Man Utd comparison.

Dominance at both ends

The league table shows a 22-point gap between the rivals, City top after winning 22 of their 28 games, while United are battling for a Champions League place after winning only 13 of 28 – on course to win less than half of their games for only the third time in the Premier League era.

Statistics relating to goals at either end of the field make the differences all the more clear, particularly at the defensive end where City have kept more than twice as many clean sheets but required less than half as many saves to do so.

City and Ederson lead the Premier League with 16 clean sheets, with United managing only seven to rank joint 11th even as David De Gea leads the league with 104 saves. He and Leeds shot-stopper Illan Meslier are the only goalkeepers in three figures, according to the league’s official website, with Ederson called into action for only 48 saves and City 50 in total.

City’s attack, meanwhile, ranks second to only Liverpool with 68 goals and 517 shots – respectively three and 11 behind Jurgen Klopp’s side. United rank a respectable third in shots, but a long way behind City with 399, while their 45 goals rank fifth.

Pass masters

The playing style of Pep Guardiola’s team is reflected in the Premier League passing statistics, with their players occupying the top four spots in terms of passes attempted.

Joao Cancelo leads the way with 2,164, averaging over 83 per match in his 26 appearances, with Aymeric Laporte also over 2,000 and fellow centre-back Ruben Dias just nine short. Midfielder Rodri ranks fourth before Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk breaks the monopoly.

There is even a fifth City player, Bernardo Silva, ranked ahead of United’s leading passer Bruno Fernandes and the pattern is repeated in overall touches. Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold ranks second there behind Cancelo, with Rodri, Laporte and Dias completing the top five.

Cancelo’s extraordinary season in a marauding full-back role sees him also lead City in terms of both tackles and, most remarkably, shots where he ranks 10th in the league with 59.

That is one area where United have an outstanding contributor, Cristiano Ronaldo’s 79 attempts exceeded only by Liverpool’s Golden Boot pace-setter Mohamed Salah, while Paul Pogba is tied for third in the league on nine assists – two more than City’s top contributor Gabriel Jesus.

Double delight

Having also won 2-0 at Old Trafford in November, City completed a league double over United for the first time since 2018-19.

United had actually won three of the four league meetings in between those two campaigns, along with a goalless draw at Old Trafford last term, though City finished higher in the table and knocked them out of the Carabao Cup on both occasions.

The last time there was a league win apiece was in 2017-18, with City winning 2-1 at Old Trafford before Pogba inspired United to a 3-2 success at the Etihad Stadium.

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Author

Warren Barner