StatView: Manchester City is upfront and alone

2015-16 GW3 – EPL top 5 statistical performance analysis

3 out of 5 top premier league teams earning a goal less draw this game week has raised questions on the capability of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United to compete for the title. Not only were their results, their performance in numbers in simply not good enough. Manchester City with the biggest home and away wins of the season continued to dominate whereas Champions Chelsea won its first game of this season.

EPL GW3 - results
EPL GW3 – results

Red Devils’ frontline effectiveness is a major concern: Yes, they are the only team with maximum number of shots this week but still could not manage to put even one through the goal. Wayne Rooney has not scored for more than 850+ minutes and others are not good enough to lead United upfront. However, it’s a home game as opposed to City, Pool and Blues. It’s understood that playing at Home, United and Arsenal should be playing with a higher desire to win. However, Red devils haven’t shot off the target more – they just had 15%. Their problem is that almost half (9 out of 20 shots) of the shots are blocked by the opponent’s defense. Chelsea and Arsenal were the wayward shooters with around half the shots going off the target.

EPL GW3 - Top 5 - Shots off target
EPL GW3 – Top 5 – Shots off target

Liverpool’s defensive combo shines: Arsenal’s shots on target are the most worrisome with only 1 out of 4 goals reaching or troubling the goalkeeper. This could be attributed to a brilliant defensive performance from Liverpool’s Skrtel and Lovren. Manchester City and Liverpool have an impressive number of shots on target. Part of the reason for Liverpool’s high number of shots on target is the absence of Arsenal’s main center backs Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker.

EPL GW3 - Top 5 - Shots on target
EPL GW3 – Top 5 – Shots on target

Blues were the most clinical team: Chelsea, with the lowest number of shots on target, managed to convert 3 (60% conversion) of them. With Pedro added to the ranks, pensioners’ attack will get better. Liverpool and Manchester United had 8 shots on target but could not convert one. Cech and Krul put on a brilliant display between the sticks to deny Liverpool and Manchester United respectively in all those circumstances. With only 2 goals in 3 games, Manchester United are really not finding answers to how they can boost their goal conversion. Louis van Gaal’s comments on adequate options upfront is plainly ridiculous.

EPL GW3 - Top 5 - Goal conversion ratio
EPL GW3 – Top 5 – Goal conversion ratio

Manchester clubs managed to remain tight at the back: The Manchester heavyweights’ defense had been robust this week. United blocked all shots leaving opponents with no shots on target whereas City blocked 80% of the shots. They are followed by Liverpool with 50% of shots being blocked. Such defensive promptness have helped these three clubs to clinch 3 clean sheets out of 3 games. Chelsea’s once robust defense has been weak and slow this season. They have let opponents’ score 7 goals in 3 games – though they had 2 red cards in these 3 games, they have only themselves to blame for. This is probably Chelsea’s worst defensive record in Abramovich and Mourinho era.

EPL GW3 - Top 5 - Shots blocked
EPL GW3 – Top 5 – Shots blocked

LvG orchestrates a near perfect passing and possession side: Manchester United have epitomized perfect possession and passing game with an empty handed result. They had an 89% passing accuracy with 66% possession. Still, they were not able to convert a since chance to win the game. That’s not typical of how Manchester United is expected to play, but off late the theater of dreams has staged only lazy dramas.

EPL GW3 - Top 5 - Possession and pass success
EPL GW3 – Top 5 – Possession and pass success

In summary, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool are looking like clubs who cannot compete for the title since there is not enough evidence of energy and vibrancy. Chelsea have shown glimpses of motive, but they have problems ranging from aging and slow defense, injury prone Costa to Jose Mourinho’s persistent blame games. At the current stage, only Manchester City has the depth and form in both the attacking and defensive sections to begin the season quite strongly. With a goal difference of 8 in just 3 games and the next closest title rival with a goal difference of 2, no one would think otherwise.

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