What is Causing Manchester City’s Travel Sickness?

They are third in the Premier League, trailing Arsenal and Leicester City by a single point,  but remain favourites to win the Premier League, in what has been a most bizarre and topsy-turvy season.

But if Manchester City are to see off the challenge from those around them, they will need to improve their away form dramatically, where they’ve only hit the back of the net 10 times in 10 games and incredibly only three times in their last six games.

Compare that with the 2.75 goals that City have scored per game at the Etihad and clearly they appear to suffer from some form of travel sickness.

Man-City-vs-Newcastle

Kun Agüero has scored nine of his 10 goals at the Etihad, De Bruyne all but one of his goals at home, whilst neither nor Bony have scored away from home.

So what’s the big deal with City and why are things so different when they play away? SportsMatrix decided to see if they could come up with some answers, with the data revealing the following:

Although City maintain slightly higher levels of live ball possession at home (58.5%) than on their travels (55.1%), this is not in any way significant. What stands out is that despite high levels of possession regardless as to where they play, they carved out considerably fewer open play chances per game away from home (10.9) than at the Etihad (15.3).

Not only are they creating fewer chances on their travels; but are considerably more profligate in front of goal. At home they successfully converted 11.9% of their chances into goals, whilst away from home this figure is a feeble 6.4%.

Is there a difference in the quality and quantity of chances between home and away games? Absolutely!

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At home City averaged two gilt-edged chances a game, converting just over 40% of these into goals. Away from the Etihad, they averaged just over one high quality chance a game, only managing to convert a quarter of these opportunities into goals.

It’s even worse for City from the slightly less good (medium level) chances. Here City averaged 2.8 chances a game at home, converting 19.4% into goals; however away from home they averaged only one of these medium level chances a game, failing to score from any of these situations.

Another significant difference between Manchester City home and away is the style of play used to reach a chance. A quarter of the chances reached at the Etihad followed a pass 25%, with a considerably higher percentage (39.9%) following a dribble. Away from the Etihad the figures are reversed, with City reaching a chance from just over 29.4% of dribbles, but from 37.6% of passes.

So does the data suggest that City are less confident playing their natural game when away from the comfort of the Etihad, or that perhaps their opponents approach games against City on their own patch with far less trepidation?

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