Manchester City: Player Minutes & Usage

Alex Livesey

Which Man City players played the most minutes in the Premier League this season? Were certain players used more at home rather than away? And how did Man City perform when the "core 4" players played together?

Below is a list of minutes played, home and away, and a ToP% (minutes played/total minutes available) number for each player.

It may startle the odd reader that modern PL players routinely play less than 75% of the available minutes but injury, rotation and rest are a big part of managing the modern football squad who are battling for honours on four fronts.

Home Away Total ToP%
Zabaleta 1620 1459 3079 90.0
Toure 1423 1504 2927 85.6
Hart 1350 1440 2790 81.6
Fernandinho 1275 1333 2608 76.3
Nasri 1209 1289 2498 73.0
Demichelis 1170 1260 2430 71.1
Kompany 1185 1180 2365 69.2
Silva 1184 989 2173 63.5
Dzeko 909 1083 1992 58.2
Kolarov 1078 892 1970 57.6
Navas 965 809 1774 51.9
Negredo 987 737 1724 50.4
Clichy 670 990 1660 48.5
Aguero 830 709 1539 45.0
Garcia 654 873 1527 44.6
Milner 578 780 1358 39.7
Nastasic 551 476 1027 30.0
Lescott 585 199 784 22.9
Pantillimon 360 270 630 18.4
Jovetic 156 204 360 10.5
Richards 161 161 4.7
Rodwell 16 93 109 3.2
Boyata 55 55 1.6

If we take the information in the chart above and visualize it, we get this:


Not much consistent usage among the forward group, although injury and form are major issues here. Man City's defense and midfield wasn't that affected by injury and loss of form with two groups of four hoovering up the majority of the minutes.

The Core 4

What of Kompany, Toure, Silva and Aguero? A few weeks ago I tweeted this:

Aguero's constant injury issues were the main cause of the "core 4" having played so few minutes together. Fittingly, on the last day of the season these core players played together for just the 6th time this season. The numbers mentioned in the tweet above are now up to 292 minutes, or 8.5% of the available minutes.

Frankly, Manchester City have done remarkably well to cope so well without Aguero for extended periods and the sporadic injuries to Kompany, SIlva and Toure. But when the "core 4" have played together this season the small sample results have been spectacular:

Shots F Shots A Goals F Goals A
Newcastle 13 4 3
Everton 6 3 1 1
Arsenal 11 4 2 1
Cardiff 3 1 2
Tottenham 12 2 1
West Ham 22 3 2
Total 67 17 11 2

5 of the 6 games were played at home where Man City are truly dominant, and 6 games is a mighty small sample. All told, it doesn't make for a clean analysis.

Manchester City were able to overcome injury to key players this term and win the Premier League title for the second time in three years. They did so with much of their core not featuring together. Kompany and Aguero look to have underlying fitness issues going forward, and while Toure is mighty durable, overplaying him to the extent that Man City did this season will likely lead to more injuries as the great midfield colossus ages.

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