2021 is Pep Guardiola’s best Premier League year with Manchester City


Manchester City’s victory over Brentford on Wednesday puts them eight points clear at the top of the Premier League at the end of the year.

While there are still many twists and turns in this season’s title race, Pep Guardiola is set to celebrate New Years Eve as 2021 has been his most successful year as Manchester City manager.

With the win over Brentford, Manchester City have accumulated 110 points in 44 Premier League games this calendar year. They have won 36 games, drawn two and lost six. Once adjusted for the number of games, they would have collected 95 points over a 38-game season.

It’s not as much as in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons, but it’s more than in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 calendar years.

If those years are adjusted to 38 games, City would have collected 93.1 points in 2017, 90.4 points in 2018 and 92 points in 2019.

Around the same time last year, Manchester City were eighth in the Premier League, but with two games down. But their phenomenal run in early 2021, when they won 13 straight games, propelled them to the top of the rankings. They ended the year in a similar form with ten straight league wins.

City achieved this feat despite having played more Premier League games than any other team this year.

They have played 44 times in the Premier League alone, mostly due to the on-the-go games City had at the start of the year. No other team have made more than 42 league appearances, and Burnley, following their game against Manchester United, are said to have only played 39.

But each team has played more times this calendar year than they would in the regular season, as the 2020/2021 season started late due to the impact of Covid-19 on the sporting calendar. Manchester City may have played the most games, but the depth of their squad perhaps makes them better equipped for a busier schedule than their rivals.

Many teams would see their form drop without their star midfielder, but Kevin De Bruyne has only played in 26 of Manchester City’s 44 league appearances this year. “Ever-present” defender Ruben Dias missed five of those 44 games, and Phil Foden hasn’t played at all in 13 games and only played the full 90 minutes for 15 games.

Manchester City’s dominance this season can be seen in the stats as well as the standings. They lead the league when expected goals are used and have the highest possession, passing accuracy and shots on target per game in the league, as well as second in shots and dribbles per game.

While Manchester City have huge financial backing, their dominance means Pep Guardiola must be considered Premier League Manager of the Year.

Mikel Arteta of Arsenal, David Moyes of West Ham United and Graham Potter of Brighton and Hove Albion are also said to be in contention with Guardiola for such an award.

In the 2021 calendar year standings (adjusted for matches played), Arsenal would have finished fourth, just one point behind Liverpool, while West Ham are said to be sixth and Brighton ninth. Despite finishing second last season, Manchester United’s poor form since briefly dominating the Premier League in January puts them in fifth place in the 2021 table.

Manchester City are hoping 2022 will be just as successful as 2021, but one thing is for sure: they won’t have to play 44 Premier League games in 2022.

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