Manchester City’s sparkling performance against Manchester United on November 11 won them plaudits from all corners of the footballing community. In the wake of City’s resounding 3-1 victory, some fans suggested that they could win an unprecedented tally of four trophies this season meanwhile others have additionally suggested that Pep Guardiola’s side are the best team to grace the English Premier League. But, what do the statistics suggest about Manchester City’s quality and how do they compare to Manchester United’s famous treble-winning side of 1998/99?
What do the statistics say?
Statistically, it is difficult to pinpoint any weaknesses in Manchester City’s setup. The 2018/19 season has seen them score a mesmeric league-high haul of 36 goals in 12 Premier League matches. They also top the clean sheet ranking, and are only second to Chelsea in the passes-made category. Manchester City players dominate the individual statistical rankings too. Good examples of this include Sergio Aguero’s number one rank on the top goal scorers chart, and the inclusion of Benjamin Mendy, Raheem Sterling and Aguero at the top of the assist ranking.
Manchester City’s impressive early season statistics and form almost directly mirror the start that they enjoyed in last year’s Premier League title-winning campaign. The club lost just twice in the Premier League last term, scoring the most goals, taking the most shots and achieving a goal difference of +79. City’s statistical superiority and easy-to-watch artistry have seen City labelled as favorites to lift the Premier League trophy. Manchester City possess tantalizing quality and no doubt have the ability to defend their domestic crown, but to be called the Premier League’s greatest ever team, they will need to dominate beyond that competition. For Manchester City, that means emulating or even bettering the achievements of Manchester United’s team of 1998/1999.
Are Manchester City capable of bettering Manchester United’s 1998/1999 achievements?
Manchester United played 63 matches in the 1998/1999 season in all competitions as they won the UEFA Champions League, Premier League and the FA Cup. Manchester United had an admirable record during their 63 games, winning 36, drawing 22 and losing just five. During the season, United used 29 players, with goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel appearing the most amount of times and with Dwight Yorke leading the scoring chart.
Manchester United’s exploits are, of course, a difficult feat to replicate but they of all teams are perhaps best positioned to do so. After all, their manager Pep Guardiola has won three trophies in one season at both Bayern Munich and Barcelona. Moreover, Manchester City has a wealth of talent in their squad, including an elite bunch of 26 players that include World Cup stars like Kevin De Bruyne and young starlets like Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, Aymeric Laporte and Phil Foden, and we already know how statistically strong Manchester City are.
It will not be smooth sailing for Manchester City to win the treble, and Guardiola’s high tempo style could risk injuries to key players like Aguero, Silva, and Ederson that would derail any possible treble or quadruple challenge. But if any team can win the treble or the quadruple, Manchester City can.
Photo credit: @joshboimcfc10