How Man City’s Defence Compares With Record-Holders Chelsea

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How Man City’s Defence Compares With Record-Holders Chelsea
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Manchester City's 3-1 win at Everton on Wednesday night moved Pep Guardiola's side closer to being crowned champions of England for a seventh time.

City's lead at the top of the Premier League table is now 10 points after Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva scored the goals for the champions-elect.

The only team that looks capable of preventing the Premier League trophy from making the Etihad Stadium it's home for the third time in four years is City themselves. It’s theirs to lose, basically.

There is a difference to how Guardiola's side are going about things this season compared to their recent title wins.

In the 2017/18 football season, they scored 106 goals en route to winning the league by 19 points. The following campaign, they scored 95 times as they held off Liverpool's challenge to claim the title by a single point.

If City are to celebrate a fifth Premier League title on May 23, then their success will have been built on defence. There is a saying in sport that defence wins championships and that looks to be the case this season.

Goals Conceded in City's Previous EPL Title Winning Seasons

SeasonGoals ConcededAverage Per Game

The last time City trailed in a league game was on November 21 when they were beaten 2-0 at Tottenham. Since then, City are unbeaten in their last 24 league and cup games and their win at Goodison Park was their 17th in succession and their 12th straight league victory.

After 24 games, City have conceded just 15 goals – seven at home and eight on the road, so Chelsea's record of conceding just 15 goals throughout their 2004/05 title-winning season is safe for another season. City will have to go the remainder of the season without conceding another goal to equal Chelsea's remarkable achievement.

But there is a Blues record that City have in their sights. Jose Mourinho's Chelsea registered 25 clean sheets in that same campaign thanks to the brilliance of goalkeeper Petr Cech. Cech registered 24 of those with his back-up Carlo Cudicini claiming the other once the title had been wrapped up.

After 24 games that season, Chelsea had 18 shutouts. City currently have 14 clean sheets after the same number of games with their Brazilian keeper Ederson registering all 14.

City will rue the slow start they made to the league programme when they conceded seven of their 15 goals in their opening three matches against Wolves (1), Leicester (5) and Leeds (1).

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The other eight goals have come in their last 21 contests – two of those were penalties and one was a Ruben Dias own goal. Five goals from open play in 21 games works out to be a goal conceded every 378 minutes which is an incredible achievement.

Guardiola's side have been very hard to break down recently with just a Mohamed Salah penalty for Liverpool and Richarlison's goal for Everton the only ones conceded in City's last nine league games.

Midway through Chelsea's first Premier League winning season, the Blues went 10 league games without conceding a goal from round 18 to 27.

The fewest number of goals City conceded during a title-winning season is 23 in their most recent triumph in the 2018/19 campaign. If they can concede seven goals or fewer in their final 14 games, they will set a new club record.

City's Goals Conceded Per Game This Season

No. Goals Conceded In One GameNo. of Occasions

In terms of scoring goals, City are set to register their lowest goals scored in a championship-winning campaign.

Averaging 2.04 goals per game, City are set to end the season with 78 goals scored, which would be 15 short of their lowest total when they won their first Premier League title in 2012.

What makes City's ascent to the top of the table this season all the more interesting has been the fact they have done so without the services of two key players.

Sergio Aguero, the club's all-time leading scorer in the Premier League, has featured in just five league games as injuries continue to plague his final seasons at the Etihad.

And creative midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, who was in contention for a second successive PFA Player of the Year award before a hamstring injury sidelined the Belgian, returned to action at Goodison Park for the first time since January 20.

As a result of these key injuries, City have had to find goals and assists from other sources, and one source has been more of a surprise than others.

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Goalkeeper Ederson has more assists than Nathan Ake, Fernandinho, Eric Laporte, Benjamin Mendy, Ruben Dias and Oleksandr Zinchenko combined so far in the league.

Ederson's inch-perfect pass from 70 yards dropped onto Ilkay Gundogan's foot for the German to score his second goal against Tottenham last Sunday, which was his 11th of the season.

Creating goals is not what City pay the Brazilian for. But if he can continue to provide assists, then that is an added bonus, especially since the player’s form was called in to question at the end of last season.

In the meantime, Ederson's aim is to stop teams from scoring. The 27-year-old won the Golden Glove award last season with 16 clean sheets, and he is likely to surge past that total if City continue to be as hard to score against as they have been in recent months.

Ederson's Record at City:

  • 2017/18 - 16 clean sheets in 36 games
  • 2018/19 - 20 clean sheets in 38 games
  • 2019/20 - 16 clean sheets in 35 games
  • 2020/21 - 14 clean sheets in 23 games
  • Total: 66 clean sheets in 132 games

Since arriving at the Etihad ahead of the 2017/18 season, Ederson has kept clean sheets in exactly half of his 132 games played in the Premier League. Of those 132 matches, he has been on the losing side just 16 times.

With clean sheets and assists on his impressive CV, there is one other achievement Ederson might have his eye on.

Five goalkeepers have scored in the Premier League. Would it be a surprise if Ederson joined Peter Schmeichel, Brad Friedel, Paul Robinson, Tim Howard and Asmir Begovic in scoring a Premier League goal? Ladbrokes are taking bets on the prospect with odds set at just 3/1.

The league has not seen a keeper score since Begovic did so when his 90-yard clearance for Stoke after just 13 seconds bounced over the head of Southampton's keeper Artur Boruc in November 2013.

The way this season is panning out for Ederson, you wouldn't put it past him to join that elusive club.

In the meantime, helping City set a new record for clean sheets remains Ederson's ultimate goal as City close in on another Premier League title.

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Charlie Mullan

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