Manchester City v Arsenal: surprising statistics and a result prediction




Arsenal and Man C compared this season

By Bulldog Drummond

The top team in the away games league table is Arsenal.  The top team in the home games league table is Manchester City, which makes this all very interesting and potentially all very balanced.

Manchester City edges the difference between the clubs when measured on home and away form by 0.04 points per game – which is too small a difference to count for anything.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts PPG
1 Arsenal away 10 8 1 1 20 6 14 25 2.50
1 Manchester City home 11 9 1 1 38 12 26 28 2.54


But when it comes to goals the situation is different.  Arsenal away score 2.0 goals per game and concede 0.6 goals per game.  Manchester City at home score 3.45 goals per game, and concede 1.09.   So on those figures Manchester City are going to win 3-2, or Arsenal are going to win 1-0 – or any combination of those figures!  Sorry about that; it’s not clear-cut.

Thus both clubs are doing incredibly well in their respective venues as our regular home v away table shows, and the big difference is the centre forward that Manchester City have, who it seems is now back on form.

But on the other hand Arteta is a genius and a magician, so one never knows and there are some other statistics to look at which turn up a surprise…

Manchester City have picked up 11 yellow cards at home compared to Arsenal’s 20 yellow cards.  That’s not good.

Thus we are asked to believe that either Arsenal transform themselves from being the second lowest transgressors when it comes to yellow at home, into a club performing in the manner of Leeds and Everton when playing away from home.  Is that likely?  Or is it a referee issue?

I think the latter, but that is the reality and so with Manchester City at home,  we can expect one yellow for them and two for Arsenal.

Manchester City at home average 65% possession.  Arsenal away average 53.8% possession.  Clearly something is going to have to give and I suspect Manchester City will come down to about 54% possession, and Arsenal to 46% possession.

As for tackling, Manchester City tackle less than any other club (that’s where Arteta got the idea from when he transformed Arsenal) and their home and away figures are not much different – it is the same style of play wherever they are. 

So let’s compare the usual tackles, fouls and yellow card statistics. And for the first time, let’s also take account of the home and away figures.


Club / venue Tackles pg Fouls pg Yellows pg
Manchester City home 12.5 8.9 1.0
Arsenal away 16.1 10.4 1.0


This approach away from home has been working for Arsenal this season with eight wins, one draw and one defeat, and the next table shows why.


Club / venue Tackles per foul Tackles per yellow Fouls per yellow
Manchester City home 1.40 12.5 8.9
Arsenal away 1.55 16.1 10.4


Suddenly we find a ray of hope in the statistics.  Arsenal away are committing slightly more tackles before a foul is called, a higher number of tackles before a yellow card is waved and also a higher number of fouls called before the yellow card comes out.  There’s not going to be too much worrying about changing the style of play to meet this opposition.

Of course there is also the issue of the games between the Big Seven clubs this season – which in this context means, are Arsenal and Manchester City both used to winning each time they play another member of the elite group?

I’ll take a look in the next article – and I think you might find it waiting for, because there is a pleasant surprise on the horizon.

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12 Replies to “Manchester City v Arsenal: surprising statistics and a result prediction”

  1. arsenal will win.manchester city are very rough and their players are going to receive yellow cards .

  2. As I’ve done some statistics recently on % possession and goal scoring efficiency I thought I’d try to predict the score based on the figures I produced recently.

    I’m assuming the match lasts 94 minutes

    Tonys possession prediction for tomorrow is:

    Man Ciity 54% that = 50 minutes they will have the ball.
    Arsenal 46% that = 44 minutes they will have the ball.


    Average Home possession = 65%

    That = 61 minutes per match.
    They’ve played 11 home games.

    That’s a total of 671 minutes played at home.
    They’ve scored 38 home goals.

    That means they score a goal every 18 minutes.

    So if Man City have the predicted 50 Minutes possession divided by a goal every 18 minutes that means I predict Man City will score 2.77 goals.


    Average away possession = 54%

    That = 50 minutes per match
    They’ve played 10 away games.

    That’s a total of 500 minutes played away.
    They’ve scored 20 away goals.

    That means they score a goal every 25 minutes.

    So if Arsenal have the predicted 44 minutes possession divided by a goal every 25 minutes means I predict Arsenal will score 1.76 goals.

    So my percentage possession to goal scoring efficiency equates to Man City 2.77 goals Arsenal 1.76. Which in real terms should end up very much as per one of Tony’s two predictions. My theory predicts:


    We shall see.

    PS: Like Tony, please forgive any errors.

  3. Further to the above.

    Assuming the goals to minutes of possession ratio is maintained I have calculated how it may finish in 2 different scenarios:


    We allow Man City to maintain their average home possession percentage of 65%. That would mean:

    Man City 65% = 61 minutes divided by 18 means expected goals will be 3.3
    Arsenal 35% = 33 minutes divided by 25 means expected goals will be 1.3

    In this scenario of allowing Man City their normal possession we are likely to lose 3 – 1 with a very slight possibility of 4 – 1 or 4 – 2


    We manage to maintain our average away possession percentage of 54%. That would mean:

    Man City 46% = 43 minutes divided by 18 means expected goals will be 1.72
    Arsenal 54% = 51 minutes divided by 25 means expected goals will be 2.04

    In this scenario where we manage to maintain our average away possession we are likely to get a 2 – 2 draw, with the very slight possibility we edge the game 1 – 2.

    Or maybe that’s all just nonsense and we just keep catching them on the break and win 3 – 0.

    Either way it is fascinating.

  4. @Nitram,

    one issue that I don’t know if it matters. Arsenal have taken in 16 goals, City 20.
    Furthermore, if I am not wrong, City have won 2 or 3 games with lots of goals.

    So in the end, IMHO it will be a tie or an Arsenal win.

  5. Having considered Manchester City v Arsenal from all the stats presented by Untold Arsenal we also have to consider the match fixer in all these deliberations . Will his orders from on high be in favour of Mansour City or the less influential fairest team in the Kingdom?
    Anyway, just because I can’t find it in me to back anyone but Arsenal I’m going for 1-0 to those jolly magnificent chaps in red and white and that despite having a decent goal chalked off for some weird arbitrary bad decision or those wonderful chaps in their workman’s red and white striped tent doing what VAR people do.
    UP THE GUNNERS 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

  6. Chris

    Yep, it’s a nightmare to predict. I didn’t even look at the against stats.

    And as you say, 2 big wins can distort the data. Outliers do that, which is why some average calculations top and tail the stats. The freak win and the freak loss. I think they do this with Olympic judging?

    But as I say, it’s not an exact science. Take these 2 Man City matches.

    These are the stats for game one:

    54% Possession
    22 Shots
    10 On target

    Well bellow average home possession. Only average shots. Slightly above average shots OT. So only 53% possession yet this match was:

    Man City 6 – 3 Man Utd.

    These are the stats for game two:

    75% Possession
    29 Shots
    6 On target

    Well above average possession. Above average shots. Average shots OT. So a massive 75% possession yet this match was:

    Man City 1 – 2 Brentford.

    So, taken in isolation possession alone is not a predictor. But neither is shots OT. 10 for 6 goals versus 6 for 1 goal.

    But over a season I still maintain you will win many more matches with 75% possession than you will with 54% possession.

    But no, it isn’t an exact science.

  7. @Nitram,

    I don’t have the stats, nor the time to chase them, yet I have this gut feeling that Arsenal have become far better ‘going vertical’ and scoring more often then last season when not having most of the possession.

    The other issue is that Haaland has 50 % of the goals scored or pretty much : 25 goals. They have 10 goal scorers.
    The next goad scorer is Foden with 5, then 2 players with 4, one with 3. So a goal signature of 27,5,4,4,3,2,2,2,2,1

    For a team that is hailed as having the best squad, being able to replace a WC level player by another WC level player, I personally feel that they are FC Haaland.

    On the Arsenal side, we’ve got less goals scored, no big score games like City, 11 goal scorers and a signature that reads 8,7,7,5,4,3,2,2,2,2,1

    So the spread of goals is totally on the opposite. Haaland does not have any ‘deputy’ taking over the goal scoring duties. Visibly, and I’m not particularly watching them so I can’t give an ‘i’ve seen it’ comment, if he has a bad day at the office or is covered well, they stutter. Which means there is not really a plan B in case Haaland does not deliver.

    Now, sure enough, if you’re defensively sound, he scored on 54 % of his occasions, and pretty much each game, you can maybe limit the damage to one goal. Yet defensively. City are far from perfect, Arsenal know how to score, are quick vertically, can spread any counter offensive and have multiple players who are proven scorers, so the game should be interesting.

  8. It certainly will be that.

    Even though we score slightly fewer goals per game I would much rather have our spread of goal scorers, as opposed to the one mega scorer City have.

    Logic says it has to be harder to set up against a team that comes at you from all directions than a team that has one focal point. That’s in theory anyway. We will soon see how that works out in practice wont we.

  9. I think Arsenal are top of the home table, too. Man. city have dropped 5 points in 11 home games. Arsenal have dropped 2 points in 9 home games.

  10. @Nitram

    Maybe not tomorrow, but I think it is certainly possible that Arsenal will have more possession than City in the PL match at the Emirates on February 15th.

    Tomorrow night will probably see City have the lion’s share of the ball, but that will be dependent upon the teams selected.

  11. I just hope Arteta fields the best team. It’s not like the Gunners are playing twice a week, and this is the FA(rsenal) Cup. Losing is not an option. Winning breeds winning. Facing the best is the perfect way to know how good you are.

    If Arsenal lose, it should be having given all and more then that. Not playing chicken. All guns blazing was the old saying.

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