Old Trafford vs. The Etihad: Scoring the Battle of Manchester's Premier Stadiums
That's right, taking inspiration from SPIKE TV's Deadliest Warrior show, it's time to put the home record of both teams to the test. These behemoths of modern football often eliminate enemies with razor-sharp attacking prowess and impenetrable defences, but who takes the edge across an entire Premier League season?
Of course, the limb-removing weaponry of Deadliest Warrior must be exchanged for the football writer's greatest offence: statistics. We're going to churn the most prominent numbers from the campaign to decipher exactly which club has the better chance of coming out on top.
Will Sir Alex Ferguson's Premier League champions prove exactly why they captured the English crown for an unprecedented twentieth time? Will last year's winners spoil the party? Place your bets now.
Round One: Points accumulated at home
The first round couldn't be simpler. Both Old Trafford and the Etihad are outlined as fortresses that rarely leak points. A total of 57 points are up for grabs across the course of a Premier League season, with 19 games being played on each team's home ground.
Unsurprisingly, both records are rather impressive. Manchester United have won 16 of their 19 home games, drawing zero and accumulating a total of 48 points in front of their own fans. Manchester City post similar numbers, with 14 victories and three draws from 18 matches. This produces a total points haul of 45, rising to 48 if Shiekh Mansour's clan beat Norwich on the final day of the season.
A dead heat? Not quite. Manchester United's greater amount of victories is perhaps more impressive than City's draws against Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool. Even so, Ferguson's team posted losses against Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea throughout the campaign. How are we going to separate the two?
With a greater amount of victories and title-defining wins at the Etihad, United nick it. Robin van Persie's late goal in the 3-2 win over City played a massive part in taking his side to the summit. One could also argue United's losses to City and Chelsea were influenced by the Red Devils taking their foot off the gas as the title was in the bag at this point. It's a close call, but the edge must be given to the champs.
EDGE: Manchester United
Round Two: Goals Scored
Deadliest Warrior is a visual show, so let's take a look at an image that sums up the amount of goals scored at home this season by both teams. Although I can't bring you slow motion decapitations and blood splatters akin to SPIKE's show, I can publish terribly simple graphics.
It's worth noting that these percentages are likely to change slightly with one game remaining. Manchester United average 2.37 goals per game at Old Trafford, while City post an average of 2.17. Although this is identical if we're rounding towards the nearest number, United give themselves a slight advantage here.
Unless City score six past Norwich on the final day, United will have produced more goals in front of their crowd this season. The champions have notched 13 more goals on the road than City with one away game left, hence the Sky Blues' higher percentage at home. Once again, it's difficult to give the edge to anyone but the league winners.
EDGE: Manchester United
Round Three: Goals conceded
It's no secret that Manchester United conceded plenty of goals at home before Christmas. Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to flit between David De Gea and Anders Lindegaard may have been to blame, but it's safe to say the Old Trafford defence lacked a certain solidarity. City had no such problems, and it's here they begin to make a comeback.
United conceded 19 goals in 19 home games this season, averaging one per game. City have conceded 12 goals in 18 home matches, and barring a catastrophic result against Norwich, win this area comfortably.
Exactly 50 percent of Manchester United's 38 conceded goals have come at home. For City, just 38.7 percent of their 31 conceded goals have occurred at the Etihad. Big Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta and friends have just got City back in the game.
EDGE: Manchester City
Round Four: Clean Sheets
Could a famous comeback be on the cards? Now it's time to test each team's last smidgen of armour: the trusty goalkeeper. A clean sheet in football arguably represents getting away from the battlefield with no scars in war, so let's consider who bares the least amount of wounds.
Manchester United have kept seven clean sheets at home, five of which arrived after Christmas. Joe Hart and Manchester City have kept a clean slate 10 times across the season, with six coming in seven games after the festive period.
Putting these numbers into perspective, Manchester United have stopped the opposition from scoring across 36.84 percent of their home games, while City have managed the same across 55.56 percent of their local matches.
EDGE: Manchester City
Round Five: Who wins?
We're tied at 2-2. The battle is almost over, so greater emphasis must be placed on key statistics to determine which team takes the glory. Assessing all of the aforementioned numbers, here's the most impressive victory for each team:
Ultimately, victory must be given to those who deal the fatal blow with greater regularity. Manchester United's 16 wins from 19 home games has played a massive part in not only their points total, but also the impressive amount of goals scored for the Premier League champions.
Although City's defensive record is excellent, United's ability to rack up points—and escape the Etihad as winners at a vital point in the season—outlines Fergie's men as the victors.
I guess you could call that a last minute 3-2.
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