Using Expected Goals, Infogol’s Jake Osgathorpe looks back at how Manchester City have performed so far and predicts what might happen over the rest of the season.
With just over two months of the season left to go, Manchester City are still challenging for an unprecedented quadruple after a come-from-behind victory against Swansea in the FA Cup last weekend.
That result put them two games away from lifting a second trophy at Wembley this season and came just a few days after the Champions League Quarter Final draw, in which City drew Tottenham.
However, while Pep Guardiola’s side were in Cup action, Premier League title rivals Liverpool secured a 2-1 win at Fulham, meaning City entered the international break second in the table. Although that isn’t where they are expected to finish according to the Infogol model.
Infogol is a revolutionary new football product, which harnesses Opta data to power a proprietary Expected Goals (xG) model, which can both analyse results and predict outcomes of forthcoming matches.
According to the Infogol Expected Goals model, City have been the best team in the Premier League.
Premier League Expected Goals Table after GW31
Manchester City and Liverpool are streets clear of their rivals, but City have been even better in terms of underlying process than their current points tally suggests, having been both the best attacking and defensive team in the league according to xG.
In their 30 league games this season, City have generated an average of 2.52 expected goals for (xGF) per game, which is actually an increase on their record breaking 2017/18 season (2.32 xGF per game).
Defensively they are averaging an impressive 0.79 expected goals against (xGA) per game, which is only a small increase on last season’s figure (0.73 xGA per game), which all adds up to something that will be a huge worry for the rest of the Premier League and Europe: Manchester City have got better.
But is the quadruple a real possibility?
As mentioned already, City are currently two points behind Liverpool with a game in hand, and that means that the Infogol model still has the reigning champions as favourites to retain their title.
Using the calculations of points already accumulated, xG performances over the season, Infogol’s raw team ratings and simulating the final matches of the season, Infogol predicts that Manchester City have a 65% chance of winning the Premier League title.
Percentage Chance of winning title
Of the eight games remaining for Manchester City, the toughest according to the Infogol model is the trip to neighbours Manchester United, although the model still thinks City win that game 48% of the time, and avoid defeat 73% of the time.
City are heavily fancied to win the other seven matches, with Crystal Palace away being the toughest (65% chance win, 86% chance avoid defeat), and all others seeing Guardiola’s side have more than a 74% chance of picking up three points.
The only thing that could potentially hamper Manchester City in the run-in, would be the build-up of matches – though they have a big enough squad to cope.
A record aggregate win from an English team saw Manchester City progress past Schalke in the Last 16 of the Champions League, with a 10-2 win sending a statement of intent to the remainder of Europe’s elite.
As mentioned already, they drew fellow Premier League side Tottenham in an all-English encounter in the Quarter Finals, which could help with the fixture pile-up, as it means less travelling in between matches.
% chance qualifying for Champions League Semi Final
In the tie itself, City are strong favourites to progress according to the Infogol model, with a 75% chance of doing so. Should they progress, they will face the winners of Ajax vs Juventus in the Semi Final.
In terms of lifting the big eared trophy for the first time, City are favourites according to Infogol, with a 26% chance of winning the Champions League.
% chance of winning Champions League
The draw couldn’t have been kinder for Manchester City in the FA Cup this season, having played Rotherham, Burnley, Newport and Swansea to get to the Semi Final stage.
They have drawn Brighton in the semi-final, with the model calculating an 88% chance of progressing to the final, where they will play either Watford or Wolves.
% chance winning FA Cup
Whoever progresses, City will be strong favourites to lift the trophy, as prior to the Semi Final’s being played, City are rated as having a 70% chance of winning the FA Cup.
Having already secured the Carabao Cup by beating Chelsea on penalties, City aim to complete what would be a historic quadruple. They are favourites for all three of the other competitions, with Infogol calculating that they have a 12% chance of doing what many thought would be unachievable.
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