Manchester City hold an English record for the most goals scored in five different seasons. The team has scored a hundred or more goals in those seasons, the most recent being in the 2013/14, 2017/18 and 2019/20 campaigns. The Blues netted a staggering 102 Premier League goals on those occasions. The last two have been under Pep Guardiola. As a result, the team has created a reputation for finding the back of the net with relative ease.
But the picture has looked quite different this time around, and surprisingly so. For a side that had already hit 27 goals past opposition goalkeepers in eight league games last term, the figures are nowhere near this term with just 10 strikes. In fact, City have failed to score more than a goal per game in five of the last six league matches.
It was particularly disheartening in the latest one against Tottenham where the team failed to score a single goal despite shooting 22 times with five shots on target. Compare that to Jose Mourinho’s men who had just four shots the entire game with the only two on target producing goals. Some have put the blame on injuries as City’s main strikers Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus have been mostly on the sidelines.
But not even their presence could make a significant difference in the latest Champions League fixture against Olympiacos as the team laboured to secure a 1-0 win. A similar pattern of creating so many chances yet failing to find the back of the net continued. It’s something many City faithful find concerning, especially as the team remains in 13th place on the league table.
But former City midfielder Owen Hargreaves believes that will soon change. The former defensive midfielder spoke while analysing the team’s performance against Olympiacos.
“You’re used to Man City scoring goals, but me and Joleon were talking about it… maybe this is the new Man City whilst they’re still trying to fit all of the pieces together,” Hargreaves said.
He believes that Guardiola is reconfiguring the team after a leaky defence derailed City’s title ambitions last term despite being very potent upfront.
“I think he’s still getting the balance of the team right, I think defensively they’ve sorted it out - especially today. Going forward, when they get everyone back, that chance conversion is gonna go way up. 22 shots against Tottenham, and again today, but those numbers are gonna come back up.
“The attack will sort itself out when the personnel is there.”
Former City central defender, Joleon Lescott echoed his thoughts saying: “The conversion rate isn’t what we expect but as long as they’re creating the chances, that will change in time.”
The return of Aguero to the team is a welcome development. Fernandinho and Benjamin Mendy also returned against Olympiacos. The squad is now at full strength and having already secured a place in the next round of the Champions League, it’s time to get the team back on track in the Premier League.
That will require precision in front of goal while keeping things tight at the back. The balance Hargreaves was referring to.