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Manchester Derby: The 2-3 Loss

With the Manchester Derby looming on Monday night, it's time we started ramping up the coverage of a game that may mean little in the title race but still has plenty of intrigue and questions surrounding it.

Before I begin to preview the upcoming Manchester derby and get into the how's and why's each team has collected their respective points totals, I want to rewind slightly.

9th of December 2012: Man City 2-3 Man United. We know the result, we know the hurt of seeing RvP score from a needlessly conceded free-kick. What I want to do now is go back in time and have a look at just how that game played out. Who was the dominant side, what did the flow of the game look like and just how ruthlessly efficient Man United were in converting their shots in to goals (a recurring theme).

To do this I am going to go back and look at the two Manchester teams' performance in that said derby game. We will look at In-Game TSR, Shots Frequency and the Shots Breakdown.

This (link) may give you an idea of what the following will look like.

In-Game TSR

This graph shows how the momentum of the shot battle played out. It also shows the impact of score effects.


City had the early lead in the shots battle which is evident by their higher TSr%, but that didn't matter. United got two goals from high quality chances against the run of the shots battle.

United then find themselves 2-0 up (should of been 3 with the erroneous call on an offside decision) and from the 33rd to the 61st minute the shots battle is even, save the odd blip.

City then register 4 shots in one attacking sequence that results in City's 1st goal. from that point on the shots battle wasn't close: United tried to protect their game position, City were attacking in waves and the shot ratio's between the two teams never really closed. Just as man City were pushing for a winner, RvP scores a deflected free-kick on the 92nd minute. Game over.

City despite leading in the shots battle at all game states had given themselves too much to do. The two goals conceded was almost insurmountable. City, shell shocked at 0-2, registered just one shot in nearly half an hour of football. At 1-2, City were in the ascendancy and out-shooting United by an increasing margin.

Bottom Line, you will rarely win a game giving the opposition a +2 handicap, especially not a team of United's caliber.

In-Game SoTR

Now let's look at the shots on target battle.


For a start United had just 3 shots on target in this game (the vertical spikes) and scored with every one of them. This has happened just 14 times this season, it's a super rare event (just 3 times with 3 goals having been scored).

The shots on target was only ever close at a tied game state and once United were winning by scores to nil. City stormed back with shots on target, but this was always likely to happen given United were two goals ahead and could afford to try and sit back and tighten up defensively. Credit to City for fighting through United's set-up, but those all important shots on target came far too late in the game.

In-Game Total Shots Frequency

Let's look now at the frequency of each teams total shots as the game wore progressed.


I think this shows some pretty cool information. This is each teams Shots per Minute as a moving average and it tells us Man united took until the 16th minute to register their first shot of the game( they scored). From that point on United had a strong 17 minute spell where their frequency of total shots picked up markedly;but it leveled out and remained consistent thereafter.

For City we saw a team who raced out of the blocks early, then saw their number decrease between the times of falling 2-0 down and scoring to make it 1-2. Following City's first goal we can see a spike of shot activity as City relentlessly chased the game.

Shots Breakdown

1st Half


I have decided to split the shots breakdown into the two halves to further emphasize what the previous charts have already highlighted: City's game state influenced dominance.

Both teams recorded 2 shots on target in the first half, City having a higher number of shots recorded as missed.

2nd Half


forgive the size, formatting issues with SBnation.

The second half shows us information that is staggeringly different to the first half.

Firstly, United's registered the same number of shots in each half (5) but those shots are of a very different type: 1 on target and 4 missed.

City meanwhile went great guns in the second half recording a very high number of shots on target (7), just 2 missed shots and 3 blocked shots. City's shot numbers for the 1st half versus the 2nd half are chalk and cheese.

Obviously United trying to protect the game position (lead) can explain away some of the differences in the totals, but credit must go to City who out-shot United at -2, -1 and evens.

City may have been unlucky to not gain a point once they wriggled back into the game, but once again i have to say that you cannot give Man United a 1 goal start let alone a 2 goal start.

Food for thought for Monday nights game.