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.
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:
By my count, the quad of Kompany, Toure, Silva & Aguero have been on the pitch together for just 216 minutes (6.8%) this season. #mcfc— Ben Pugsley (@benjaminpugsley) May 2, 2014
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|
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.