City were somewhat back to what we expect of them vs Reading: control, good passing, movement and dominance by the shot count. These are areas City have excelled at this season when everything has 'clicked' in-game, and yes it certainly helps that the opponents were Reading-relegated and short of PL quality.
Let's have a look at just how good City were yesterday.
City were the dominant side as expected. There was no real drop off at +1 goals ahead.
In-Game Shots Frequency
Look at City's shots per minute frequency for the first ten minutes, it was a blitz. It is not a stretch to say City could have been 2 or so goals up in those first ten minutes. It was a nice response to a terrible week.
City had another burst of blitz like activity just before half time as is evident in the spike. City's consistency by the shots frequency measure is mighty impressive. We see a very consistent trend of 0.3 shots per minute which is a shot attempt at Reading's goal every 3 or so minutes.
Intersting points from here are that Reading had just 25% of their shot attempts from a central area inside the 18 yard box. For Man City that figure was 50%. Teams just don't shoot from wide angles under less absolutely forced to, as we have seen many a time this season.
We know City made hay against a weak opponent, but the direction of the City attacks was interesting. After Kolo limped off and Richards was shuffled to CB to allow Maicon to play right back this allowed City to run a very direct 1-2 punch on the right flank. Maicon and Milner, two direct players, simply had too much for Reading's left flank. City probably realized this if not before the game then certainly in-game. 45% on the right compared to 25% on the left is significant. Reading also focused much of their play down the right where Clichy is often isolated.
This may well be the Milner effect, it probably has something to do with playing wide players on their correct side too, and not relying on off wingers. Silva and Nasri too often play on their wrong side (left footer on the right, right footer on the left) and this leads to those players naturally drifting inside, thus emphasising the need for the full backs to provide the width. I do sometimes wonder what City may look like playing a left footer not named Alex Kolarov on the left and Milner on the right.
The direction of City's play is something I am going to look at, amongst other things, once the season has finished.