Statistical Analysis: Manchester City Stun at Cardiff City Stadium

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After a disappointing mid-week performance in the Champions League, which saw City lose to Lyon, they looked to redeem themselves on Saturday with their Premier League fixture away to Cardiff. With Pep back in the dugout and a strong away following behind them, City looked back to their normal selves as they fired home 5 goals to take 3 points from a Cardiff team, who are struggling to adapt to life in the Premier League.

Having just signed a contract extension, keeping him at City until 2021, Sergio Agüero headed onto the pitch to make his 300th City appearance. He topped it all off by showing why he’s the best and scoring his 205th goal for the club.

Where Did It All Go Right?

Much similar to the statistics pulled from their loss to Lyon, City dominated 70% of the possession and their passing accuracy was again on top form averaging 90%. So what made the difference, this week?

Firstly, they were up against a Cardiff side, who have been struggling to find their feet in the top flight. Having yet to win a match, the only points they have picked up have come from goalless draws. Scoring only 3 goals in their opening 6 matches, they weren’t exactly the most challenging of teams for City to face. 

Secondly, it’s not really something that is specific to this match, but something I definitely want to look at is the diamond. We recently looked at Pep’s diamond formation in one of our other articles and when looking at their passing diagram, you can clearly see that diamond shape, and how well it allows them to pass the ball. It really is incredible, especially, when compared to Cardiff’s, you can see how organised they are as a team.

Finally, starting Sane and Agüero really had a positive impact on the team. Both were involved in either the goal scoring or the run-up to the goals, and their class on the field really showed. Between them, they created 7 shots, 4 of which were on target, and won 50% of the offensive duels they were involved in. However, the standout players for City were definitely Gündoğan and Mahrez.

Star Players

Gündoğan was brilliant in the middle of the park, constantly looking to create chances and push forward. His intricate passing and energy led him to both assist and score before being taken off the pitch. He won 100% of his offensive duels, 67% of his defensive duels and averaged 91% passing accuracy.

Despite only being on the pitch for 33 minutes, Mahrez made sure he was up to the task of taking over from Agüero. Not only did he score his first goal for City just 6 minutes after coming on, but he went onto score another in the dying minutes of the match. In total, he had 3 shots, all of which were on target.

A Word On Defence

In my analysis of the mid-week clash, I criticised both Delph and Fernandinho for not shutting down moderately threatening attacks and making fatal errors that lead to goals. While Cardiff didn’t score and were not all that threatening in attack, Fernandinho did, once again, lose the ball in a critical position. This led to Cardiff’s only shot on target all game. You can see below where he loses the ball and how it leads to the shot.

This is only a minor nit-pick, but if not improved upon, it could become a big problem for City. It’s hard to tell if the defence really improved since their defeat, seeing as they were not really tested.


Overall, it is great to see City come back from that Champions League defeat in such style. They’ve given themselves confidence again and have really improved in front of goal, which was something I criticised them for against Lyon. They still need to work on their defence, however, as bigger teams will be more testing than Cardiff and problems could potentially arise.