I wrote a piece for EPL Index a week or so ago looking at the numbers for both teams so far during the 2011/12 season, and there are some intriguing comparisons between the two sides who currently sit 1-2 in the Premier League table.
In a series of head to heads between City and United, you can see the way the two Manchester clubs have developed equally dangerous but different styles of play:
- Both clubs boast impressive strike forces. Rooney has scored 9 goals this season while Aguero has scored 8. Rooney has averaged a goal every 66 mins 53 seconds while Aguero has got his at a rate of one every 55 mins 30 secs.City's Edin Dzeko has also weighed in with 6 goals at a rate of one every 72 minutes 10 seconds, while Hernandez has scored 3 goals so far this season, one every 115 mins 40 seconds.
- The midfield head to head tells an interesting story as well, showing how City favour passing through the middle of the pitch while United have been running at opponents down the wings. City's midfield stars David Silva and Samir Nasri have completed a pass in their opponent half every 2 mins 42 secs and 2 mins 20 secs respectively. Young and Nani have averaged one every 4 mins 43 and 4 mins 25, but have completed 62 dribbles compared to the City pair's 22, and put in 57 crosses to their 22.
- Young and Nani have also out run their City counter parts, putting in 122.68m and 127.2 metres respectively for every minute they have been on the pitch. Silva and Nasri have put in 119.36 and 96.83 m respectively.
- In defence United's Phil Jones has been taking the plaudits with some great performances, but across the city Vincent Kompany has been anchoring City's defence. Neither player has lost a tackle that they have attempted this season, with Kompany winning 15 and Jones 11. However, Kompany has also contributed 8 clearances, 9 interceptions, and 12 blocks. Jones' stats for those are 6, 1 and 5 respectively. Jones has had more of an impact in launching attacks, completing 78 passes in his opponent's half and completing dribbles compared to Kompany's 38 passes and no dribbles, but Alex Ferguson may be reminding his young defender to do the job at the back first.
- In goal, David de Gea has made headlines for a lot of the wrong reasons this season, but should be awarded credit for a busy start to the season in goal. Looking at Phil Jones' stats and his propensity to get forward, it's no wonder de Gea has been the busiest keeper in the league so far this season, making 58 saves so far (one every 11 mins 39 secs) compared to Joe Hart's 33 saves (one every 23 mins 6 secs). Both keepers have conceded six goals so far this season, but de Gea's has come at a rate of 9.6 saves per goal compared to Hart's 5.5.