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Manchester City & The Race For The Title

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Strong form, goals galore, players returning to full health and an improving defense are all positive arrows in Manuel Pellegrini's debut season. But how are Man City tracking for the title? Are City on pace for the top spot and what will be required to get to the 85 point mark?

Lot's of questions in that teaser, the most important question, and the one which needs addressing immediately, is why 85 points?

I don't have a good answer, only gropes and dumb, fumbling guesses have helped me to settle on that figure. James Grayson ran some numbers which points to the title winning side having averaged 89 87 points over the past few seasons. It is sound work, but I get the feeling that 2013/14's title winner may record a points total just shy of 89 87 points.

With just 16 games left, the numbers are simple:

To get to 89 points the big three (Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City) would need to record ~2.43 points per game.

To get to 85 points the big three (Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City) would need to record ~2.18 points per game.

2.43 points per game sounds a touch high for 1st place in a league which, depending on whose opinions you trust, runs deep with 6 or 8 quality teams at the top. In theory, increased league parity should equate to a slightly lower points total being required to win the league.

Anyhow, in order to discover how Man City have been tracking and projected title win we take City's points per game and plot it against an 85 point pace. Visually it looks like this:

Man_city_race_for_fourth_medium

A slow start, bang in line for fourth place after 10 games and then whoosh! An upturn in form and some real consistency has seen City slightly above the 85 point pace.

So, with 16 games left in the season and City requiring 35 points to reach a total of 85 we are looking at a run of     W 11 D 2 L 3. It is a weird result line, but it is possible and here's why.

Home Fixtures

If Man City manage to beat Chelsea in their next home fixture then it becomes a very real possibility that the club could win all 19 home fixtures in league competition. And that may be some kind of record.

Manchester_city_fixtures___whoscored

A record of 6-1-1 for 19 points? More? Less...

Away Fixtures

Aways_medium

This isn't pretty, although I believe Man City are starting to find an away form groove. I think Man City need 5 wins here. A minimum of 5 wins, even.

Final Thoughts

The away schedule skew is a bitch. But, I would rather this away schedule skew at the end of the season when Pellegrini's tactical input has bedded in than at the start of the season when the away form was a fucking mess.

Depending on the home form, Man City may need 5 wins from these fixtures. That means City are going to have to turn over some very good teams when on the road.

Man City can definitely, maybe, probably, possibly...hopefully get those five road wins that may well be required in order to get to 85 points and win the PL title.