One of the blogs I've recently picked up on is Soccer Quantified, and it was this post on the subject of leverage in the Premier League this season that got me thinking a little more about not only when City score and concede (which I looked at in this post) and the effect of it (that I looked at here).
The interesting aspect of looking at leverage is how sides respond when either in front or behind in games. We know how effective City have been when scoring first in games, but how successful are they at holding leads or managing to overturn deficits at various stages of games?
As an introduction into this, a quick snapshot from Football 365 shows the breakdown of how City fare when leading, drawing and losing at half-time:
Winning: W12 D2 L0 F35 A 6 (4th in Ave PPG and 2nd Total PPG)
Drawing: W4 D5 L3 F12 A12 (8th in Ave PPG and =11th Total PPG)
Losing: W0 D1 L4 F3 A9 (17th in Ave PPG and =last Total PPG)
Taking this further then, I broke down at each ten minute point of games, where City were either leading or behind:
The tables back up what the stats I've referenced at previous stages of the season (links in the first paragraph of this post) in that not only gain a large number of wins from scoring first, they do not throw leads away once the get into a position of strength in games - impressively winning 14 of 16 (with no defeats) when ahead at the hour mark.
Equally - and although the sample size is lower - the difficuly in working their way back into games from losing positions is evident, with not even a single point taken from a (Premier League) game where they have trailed at the hour mark.
But as we saw against Sunderland, when the side starts quickly and scores early they do not drop points, let along lose games. Although the issue of not being able to overturn deficits (and for that matter get ahead when drawing late in games - a separate post I'll have up shortly) with City needing around 11 points to secure 4th spot this season, it is clear that the strengths in getting into this position for the final stretch are those that will be achieve it.