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Man City’s traditional and advanced defensive statistics are ridiculous

Ilkay Gundogan whips a clinical low cross directly into Raheem Sterling's path for an easy finish to double Manchester City's advantage against Burnley.

Manchester City’s strong defensive season is on pace to be something really special.

Pep Guardiola’s men have weathered uncharacteristically poor finishing of their chances due to incredible performances at the back.

The latest example came Wednesday versus Burnley, where City stretched its Premier League unbeaten run to 13 matches.

The last nine of those have been wins, including 540-straight minutes of clean sheets from Ederson following Callum Hudson-Odoi’s stoppage-time goal past American backstop Zack Steffen in City’s 3-1 win over Chelsea.

[ MORE: Three things from Burnley - Man City ]

The 2-0 win over Burnley on Wednesday included a ridiculous total of 0.05 expected goals for the hosts, the second-lowest mark produced by any team in the Premier League this season.

How miserly is the 0.05 figure? The second-worst figure of the week was 9-man Southampton’s 0.51 v. Manchester United.

Only 27 times this Premier League season has a team been held under 0.30 expected goals.

Eight of those occasions have seen City as the opposition. And six of those eight are in the top 15.

Now surely part of that success boils down teams bunkering down in a low block against Pep Guardiola’s men, but all the powerful clubs face that. It doesn’t explain why Manchester United’s only on the list once, or why the second-most appearing defensive unit is a tie between Liverpool and Chelsea with three.

Worst 15 single-game xG performances this season (Understat)

0.04 - West Brom in 3-0 loss v Aston Villa, Dec. 20
0.05 - Burnley in 2-0 loss v Man City, Feb. 3
0.05 - Crystal Palace in 4-0 loss at Man City, Jan. 17
0.10 - Tottenham in 3-1 loss v Liverpool, Jan. 28
0.10 – Crystal Palace in 4-0 loss at Chelsea, Oct. 3
0.12 - Southampton in 0-0 draw at Fulham, Dec. 26
0.13 – Fulham in 3-0 loss v Arsenal, Sept. 12
0.14 – Sheffield United in 2-1 loss at Arsenal, Oct. 4
0.15 - Sheffield United in 1-0 loss at Man City, Jan. 30
0.16 – West Brom in 2-0 loss at Southampton, Oct. 4
0.17 - Newcastle in 3-0 loss at Arsenal, Jan. 18
0.18 - Brighton in 1-0 loss at Man City, Jan. 13
0.20 - Newcastle in 2-0 loss at Man City, Dec. 26
0.21 - West Brom in 1-1 draw at Man City, Dec. 15
0.22 – Sheffield United in 3-0 loss at Southampton, Dec. 13

Here’s Understat’s xG chart from Wednesday.


Those are some lonely dots in the City 18-yard box.

Some other things to note if you’re keeping score at home:

  • City’s first in xG for per game and xG conceded per match.
  • Ederson’s 13 clean sheets are equal to City’s total 13 goals conceded through 21 matches.
  • The 13 goals allowed are eight fewer than anyone else.
  • More than half of those goals (7) came in the first three matches of the season; More than a third (5) came in Week 2 versus Leicester City.
  • City also leads the PL in possession (62%), passing (88.9%), shots per game (15.8), and shots conceded per game (7).
  • But what about the Champions League? City conceded one goal in the group stage. Insanity.
  • Of the top 20 players in passes per 90 minutes this season, City has six including three in the top five.

One more thought: City’s 13 goals conceded in 21 matches makes for a 0.62 per game total. That amounts to a ridiculously-low 24 over a full season. That would be good fifth all-time, ahead of 2005-06 Liverpool’s 25.

Follow @NicholasMendola