The bookies are confident in Manchester City: what data show us that they are right?

Written by: Yiftach Omesi

Most European football leagues are in the midst of another grueling season of extreme overloads, tight schedules, ongoing pressure to meet goals, and continuous adaptation of professional sport while a global pandemic is still raging. However, some things are stable. Manchester City are again fighting for the Premier-League crown, and alongside, the familiar names of Liverpool and Chelsea are in the race.

13 rounds into the season, the Citizens are in second place with more losses than their two rivals, fewer goals scored and an inferior goal difference. Having said that, let's look at the odds of winning the Premier-League title this season as of November 30, according to Oddschecker.

As you can see, Pep Guardiola's team are clear favorites, despite the numbers we’ve just mentioned and a general notion many journalists and fans share (or at least shared) that Chelsea should be the top candidates.

We don’t know what the bookies’ considerations are. Betting operators can sometimes play around with odds, but if we want to try to estimate why the Sky Blues are not only ranked first but with quite a significant margin, we can try to do it using data.

***

We will rely on official Premier League data, and first, examine the difference between Man City’s attack efficiency last season and in the 13 games we’ve seen so far this season. The champions are scoring fewer goals per match this season (2.18-2.08), and a lower percentage of their shots find the target.

On the other hand, City creates more shot attempts this season (17.7 compared to 15.7), meaning the Citizens do shoot more on target per game. In addition, the champs average significantly more crosses this season compared to last year (23.5 to 16.6), a stat that, when connected to the number of shots on target, shows how the team’s number of big chances created grew. Even though it is scoring less, Man City isn’t showing lower attack scores. It has yet to reach its limit, and the bookies understand this.


Attacking key metrics analysis

2020/21

2021/22 (13 rounds)

Goals per match

2.18

2.08

Shots per match

15.7

17.7

Shots on target %

36%

33.7%

Pass accuracy %

89%

89%

Crosses per match

16.6