On Monday the streets of Manchester City Centre were littered with blue flags as a victorious Guardiola, alongside his band of brothers, danced and fist pumped on top of an open top bus – well aware of how good they have been this season.
In case you didn’t know, City have just completed an unprecedented treble after the 6-0 hammering of Watford in the FA Cup Final last Saturday.
Producing what has never been done in Premier League history, City have only further asserted themselves as one of the best teams this country which has seen them, in all truth, complete what seemed for quite some time this season as an inevitable achievement.
Contrast this with the red half of the city and a different picture is painted.
United have become a sort of tragic comedy. A club in disarray, a shadow of their former selves and in need of entire overhaul in almost every department.
Looking over at their neighbours this surely feels like a dark time indeed.
Winning their last title in 2013 in Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season at the club, the slow but steady momentum change has been there for all to see and this season was perhaps the most telling of that harsh reality with the gap wider than ever between the two rival clubs.
With the domestic season now at an end, MM breaks down some of the key numbers of the Premier League season to highlight the clubs’ varying fortunes.
32 – The differential in points between City and United in the 2018/19 season.
In what was yet another disappointing campaign for United, there was a growing sense that this kind of differential had started to become all too familiar.
Finishing runners up last year, you couldn’t be blamed for thinking that that was the best it was going to get.
Prior to his sacking last year, Mourinho was quoted to have said that finishing second with this with the squad with “his greatest achievement in football” and, as United limped across the finish line to a sixth placed finish with a 2-0 defeat to already relegated Cardiff City on the final day of the season, perhaps that statement rung true more than ever.
City, on the other hand, were celebrating on the south coast following a comprehensive 4-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion.
Unfazed by an early set back after a Glenn Murray opener, Guardiola’s men kicked on for a second successive title successfully waving away the strong challenge of a fierce Liverpool outfit.
These results sealed a comprehensive 32-point gap between the two clubs – the biggest City have ever completed over their neighbours in the Premier League.
It was also a larger differential than United had to the top-flight winners when they were relegated in 1973-74 (30 points).
In fact, United ended the season just as close to the relegation zone than to the champions with the same point’s differential between themselves and 18th-placed Cardiff who finished with 34 points.
201 – The amount of goals City have scored over the past two seasons.
Admittedly this stat spans over the last two seasons but it shows more than anything where the two lie regarding their proficiency in front of goal.
Over the last two seasons City have scored a record breaking 201 league goals – highlighting the immense quality of their forward line as well as the strength and depth of the squad. This total is more than United have managed in the previous three (187).
2 – The amount of clean sheets Manchester United have kept in the Premier League – their fewest at Old Trafford in a top-flight campaign since 1962-63.
This season United have looked particularly leaky at the back thanks to a rather stale, leaderless and inconsistent back four.
On the whole, most of United’s rivals have got more deals right than wrong. A few years ago, you could’ve spluttered at the thought of £50million plus being spent on defenders, but recent acquisitions such as Walker, Stones and Laporte for the Sky Blues, and notably Van Djik for Liverpool, have made all the difference as City, alongside Liverpool, were practically impenetrable at the back as they went toe to toe for this season’s title.
United, on the other hand, have been culpable of failing to clear out the ‘dead wood,’ indeed criticised for rewarding mediocrity rather than being ruthless.
Although there have been some promising signs from Lindelof and Shaw, the likes of Young, Jones and Smalling, who all featured when United were dumped out of the Champions’ League group stages against Basel eight years ago, were rewarded with new contracts.
Delving further into their defensive woes, only relegated duo Fulham and Huddersfield kept fewer clean sheets than United this season with five shutouts each over 38 games – two less than Solskjaer’s side.
53 – The amount of Premier League Goals Manchester United conceded in 18/19.
Perhaps this stat most encapsulates United’s defensive frailties.
United conceded 53 goals across the season which is more than double City’s tally for the season of just 23. In fact, even if you combine City’s and Liverpool’s total of goals conceded together (the latter conceding just 22), United would still top their rivals in that regard by a differential of eight.
66 – United’s points haul this season
United accumulated 66 points this season which is their joint worst in the Premier League – equalling their 2015/16 campaign under Louis van Gaal when they finished fifth.
The only season they accumulated a lower total in the Premier League era was in 2013/14 when United finished seventh with 64 points in the year that David Moyes failed to see out the season after replacing Sir Alex Ferguson.
Chopping and changing the mangers certainly hasn’t helped with five managers over the past five seasons.
In that time City have had just the two with Pellegrini and now Guardiola.
25– The number of points Manchester City picked up against top six opposition (out of a possible 30).
Whether your aim is to win the league or avoid relegation, beating the teams in and around you is essential.
On their way to the title, Manchester City recorded eight wins against top six opposition whilst scoring twenty goals and only conceding five in the process.
Compare that to United, and once again the stats are far bleaker. Winning no games against top six opposition at home, United accumulated just seven points from a possible thirty.
United’s only league win against top six opposition came in January when United beat Spurs 1-0 at Wembley – another embodiment of the difference between the two sides.
4 – The number of Premier League titles Manchester City have won.
More than anything this is the stat that fans will point to as a measure of success.
After winning the league title, Manchester City have now accumulated four Premier League titles. More than Arsenal and only one fewer than Chelsea.
Although United’s total of thirteen Premier League titles dwarfs the total of their nearest challengers, recent years suggest that this differential could slowly start to close if the trajectory of the two city rivals continues as it has done over this season.
Image courtesy of Manchester City via Twitter, with thanks.
Sources of stats:
The Official Premier League Website: https://www.premierleague.com/stats