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A deeper look at when goals are scored

Setting aside the merits of the performance in last nights defeat in Kiev, what the 2-0 result did further illustrate was some patterns in terms of goals scored and conceded this season - notably when doing so and the effect this has on the outcome of games.

I've touched very briefly in previous posts this season detailing when City have scored and conceded this season and thought it was an area that was worth delving a little deeper into the stats that are available.

It is almost a ridiculuous statement to say that in the context of games goals are important, but looking solely beyond the goals for and against columns I was more interested in looking at exactly when goals are scored, who scores these goals and what it may help explain in terms of City's play and results over 2010/11.

The figures are updated slightly (upto and including the defeat to Kiev last night) from those previously posted and show the breakdown of when City have scored this season is as follows:

01-10: 10
11-20: 11
21-30: 8
31-40: 10
41-50: 5
51-60: 9
61-70: 8
71-80: 11
81-90: 6

And by way of a comparison, the breakdown of when City have conceded:

01-10: 2
11-20: 6
21-30: 5
31-40: 0
41-50: 4
51-60: 4
61-70: 5
71-80: 4
81-90: 8

For those that follow the blog and my twitter feed on a regular basis will now how keen I have been to state the statistics of just who successful City have been when taking the lead this season (contrastingly less so when falling behind), but exactly when have City taken the lead and conceded first this season - and what does this tell us?

City have taken the lead in 28 games during 2010/11, posting a record of W23 D3 L2. The breakdown is as follows:

01-10: 9
11-20: 7
21-30: 4
31-40: 2
41-50: 2
51-60: 1
61-70: 1
71-80: 2
81-90: 0

The first three entries cleary indicate 20/28 of the occasions where City take the lead done so during the first half an hour of games, showing that for the most part City have started fast in games this season and an impressive stat which shows the sluggish starts have been few and far between. This further illustrates that in order to turn around a two goal deficit then a fast start will need to be achieved within the first thirty minutes next Thursday, something that isn't quite the impossible task it may have thought to have been.

But what it does also show is that the longer games progress without City scoring, the less likely it is that they will go on to score and win games late - a hallmark of succesful sides of course. With five goalless draws this season added to the mix, the suggestion that City struggle to beat sides who set up for the draw and perhaps lack a Plan B is a valid one with them winning just four of 11 league games when level at the break.

This is also evidenced by taking a look at the figures showing when City fall behind in games:

01-10: 2
11-20: 4
21-30: 3
31-40: 0
41-50: 2
51-60: 1
61-70: 0
71-80: 1
81-90: 1

The overall record when doing so is W1 D5 L7. (W1 D1 L5 in League games only). Similarly to when scoring first, when City go behind it tends to be early: 50% of the time within the opening 20 minutes and 66% of the time within the first half an hour of games.

The figures also show that City have only fallen behind in the second-half of games on two occasions. Whilst it does suggest that City are adept at not losing games and points late on, they do not tend to fall behind in games late due to their ability to strike early and often.

And finally, to follow up the look at when goals are scored I also looked at who scores and when. For those players who have a quantifiable number of goals this season (ie, enough to form some sort of pattern and judgement) I set the benchmark at five goals; this then includes Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli, David Silva, Yaya Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor and Adam Johnson.

Tevez is of course by some margin the leading scorer this season with 21 in all competitions. Of this total, he is most prolific in the first ten minutes of games (5) and has a third (7) of all goals inside the first ten minutes to assist the team with a fast start. Interestingly too, he has nine goals between minutes 41-70, with two of these being goals that also open the scoring. A further two goals have extended the sides lead from 1-2 goals, providing a further cushion in tight games: both stats underlining the fact that the side has often gone as Tevez has gone.

The rest of the side lags behind Tevez of course, but there is one notable area to pick out in particular: of David Silva's five goals (a surprisingly low total?), three have come in the final third of games, whilst Adam Johnson has netted three of his five in the final 20 minutes. Whilst Johnson's can in some way be attributed to appearances as a substitute, two of the three have put City ahead with the other extending a one-goal lead.

Interestingly, his two other goals (both in the first-half) have levelled and put City ahead; therefore illustrating both the importance of his goals, but also the impact he can have late in games as a 'difference maker' and means that if Mancini can get him back fit ahead of schedule he may have a role to play in the bid for trophies and a top four finish.

Incidentally, there is now a dedicated section page set up on the blog for all the stats related posts that I've been putting together, something that you can access here.