Stats shed light on Guardiola's frustrations at Manchester City

Man City manager, Pep Guardiola
Man City manager, Pep Guardiola

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola cut a frustrated figure on Monday after his side made hard work of beating Burnley 2-1 - and his mood is unlikely to be improved by statistics that suggest City are just short of mounting a sustained title challenge.

While they are among the top four in the major attacking statistics, there is not a single area in which City lead the Premier League as the numbers paint a picture of a side who belong in the chasing pack.

They currently sit seven points off the summit in third, with their 13 wins matching Liverpool for second best behind Chelsea's 16.

Guardiola's Barcelona side drew up the template for possession football before he moved on to Bayern Munich and dominated a Bundesliga challenge led by Jurgen Klopp's Borussia Dortmund team, but this term his City players trail in second to Klopp's Liverpool in terms of passes and touches.

City have made 11,580 passes and touched the ball 15,650 times this season, equivalent to 579 passes and 782.5 touches in each of their 20 games. Liverpool lead them by around 30 per game in each category, with 609.7 passes and 811.7 touches per match.

Looking at the end product, City languish in fourth place in both goals and shots this season with 327 shots (16.35 per game) producing 41 goals, or just over two per game.

Tottenham have taken the most shots, comfortably ahead of City with 354 or 18.63 per game, while Liverpool are just two behind and are also the league's leading scorers on 48.

City's goals tally rivals anyone outside of the Reds, with Chelsea just one ahead on 42 and Arsenal having scored 41 from one game fewer than City as they prepare for Tuesday's clash with Bournemouth.

Signs of potential improvement could come from City's third place for shots hitting the woodwork and fourth for what the Premier League's website defines as "big chances missed".

Both categories are led by Manchester United. After much talk of how the Red Devils' results were not reflecting their strong early-season performances, they have hit their stride in style with six successive wins, and improved conversion from City could easily bring a similar upsurge in results.

Of course, their cutting edge has been blunted by the prolonged absence of Sergio Aguero, the Argentinian missing seven matches through suspension after picking up one of City's league-high four red cards and serving another ban for a punishment via video review.

All five incidents were deemed straight red-card offences and their total of 40 yellow cards ranks only a middling 11th in the top flight, perhaps linked to being 15th in tackles.

Guardiola admitted after City's 4-2 defeat to Leicester that he does not train his team in the skill - memorably adding "what's tackles?" - and it shows, with only 16.2 per match compared to Everton's league-leading 20.05.

Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo has been frequently criticised and City rank 18th in saves with just 36, or 1.8 per game. While that and the tackling stats could be a product of facing fewer attacks, they also trail in joint 13th in clean sheets - alongside Burnley with only four all season.

City look good value for a Champions League qualifying place, leaving no cause for alarm - but there are few signs either of them pushing pace-setters Chelsea for the title.

All statistics from