Whilst the Spanish champions may be considered favourites on the continent given their experience in the competition, there are a number of reasons for optimism at the Etihad…
Manchester City have taken more shots so far this season in the Premier League than the Catalans have in La Liga. City have taken a massive 438 shots, equating to 18.3 shots per league game. Barcelona have taken 356 shots in total, averaging 16.2 per game.
2) Shots on Target
City also manage to get more shots in target than Barcelona – so far the City have had just one shot more than Barcelona on target – 155 have tested the opposition goalkeeper in the Premier League to the Catalans’ 154 in La Liga.
City also get a higher number of shots away inside the 18-yard box. So far this term, City have taken 62% of their shots from inside the penalty area, the highest in the Premier League. Barcelona have taken 59% of their shots from inside the area. City’s ability to penetrate the opposition defensive line is also demonstrated by their higher percentage of goals inside the 6-yard box. City have scored 7% of their goals from that area to Barcelona’s 6%.
4) Aerial Duels
The Citizens are also well poised to exploit the Spaniards’ aerial weaknesses when the two sides meet this month – City have won 367 of their 693 aerial duels in the Premier League, averaging 15.3 aerial duels won per game to Barcelona’s 263 won from 541, averaging 12 aerial duels won per game.
City also make more tackles – defensively the stats would say the Manchester giants are more aggressive and strong in their challenges. City have made a total of 491 tackles this term to Barcelona’s 489.
However, despite Manuel Pellegrini’s side making more challenges on the opposition they have committed fewer fouls than their Spanish rivals. City have committed an average of 10.8 fouls per game to Barcelona’s average of 11.7 per game.
7) Open Play
Despite Barcelona’s infamous attacking flair and total football approach, City have actually scored more goals from open play than the Catalans. City have scored 44 goals from open play to Barcelona’s 42.
8) Set Pieces
Given their physical superiority, it may not come as quite as much of a surprise that City have scored more goals from set pieces than Barcelona. City have scored 14 goals from set plays which is substantially more than Barcelona’s 3 so far.
City have also been more successful with their crossing than the Spanish champions. City have whipped in 24 accurate crosses per game on average to Barcelona’s 18.
10) Long Balls
City are also more adept when it comes to long passes – the Citizens have averaged 55 successful long passes per game to Barcelona’s 54 on average per game in La Liga.
image: © alfonso jimenez