Champions League Group Stage Statistical Report 2013/14

Jack WatsonFeatured ColumnistNovember 20, 2013

The Champions League group stages are well under way as we edge closer to the business end of the tournament—the knockout rounds—and some teams are building up momentum.

Bayern Munich have been rampant, as have Atletico Madrid and their city neighbours, Real. It's been a season of change for many clubs in Europe this season, including Manchester City, Bayern and Paris Saint-German. Improvement in performances and style of play have seen all three easily progress through their opening four matches, collecting 31 points between them.

PSG have gone under a huge reconstruction, and their new style of play shows. The Parisians have completed 2700 passes in the Champions League so far, more than anyone else. Bayern Munich, who have also changed their style of play under Pep Guardiola, are ranked second with 2633.

Thiago Motta holds the highest number of completed passes in the tournament so far, having completed 460 passes at an accuracy of 91 percent. To prove how much PSG have changed, we only have to compare last season to this. 

On average last season, PSG completed 329 passes per game, but this season under Laurent Blanc, they average an astonishing 675 completed passes. A huge change in playing style.

The French champions have also been the most clinical team in front of goal, converting 31 percent of their chances so far. Blanc has transformed PSG, turning them into a real challenger for Europe's biggest prize this season. 

While PSG have been the most efficient, Juventus, the Italian champions, are the complete opposite. Juve have created the second-most chances in the tournament so far (65), only Bayern have created more (79). Despite their creativity, the Italians have a chance conversion rate of 9 percent having scored just six goals. 

Carlos Tevez is the club's top scorer domestically with six goals, but the Argentine is yet to score in Europe this season. In fact, Tevez has not scored in European competition since leaving Manchester United in 2009. 

Juve are clearly struggling in front of goal and it may be down to the fact that their main man is not scoring enough. The Italians are certainly creating enough chances; they need to be more clinical if they're to advance from the group.

Another side, like PSG and Bayern, who have changed things around are Man City. Under Roberto Mancini, City failed to make it out of the group stages on each occasion but, under Manuel Pellegrini, they have achieved it first time around. This is thanks mainly to the form of Sergio Aguero, but their away form has improved dramatically. 

They have already outscored both previous European campaigns, scoring 11 this season, four more than 11/12 and two more than last season. They've done that in two games fewer.

And before this season, City had picked up one win on the road in the Champions League; this time around, they've grabbed six points.

Domestically, City have collected four points away from home, but in Europe they have a 100 percent record. This, clearly, is the key to their success in the group stages so far. The Etihad has always been a difficult place for teams to go but it is their away form that he seen them advance from the group with two games remaining.

Moving onto the "Group of Death" now, where three teams (Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli) are all locked on nine points from their four matches. Nothing has separated them so far, and the group is set to go down to the wire.

One team from the trio could actually fail to make the knockout stages of the competition but finish on 12 points, a figure good enough to win most groups. It is so tight that just 22 goals have been scored which is the average amount of goals in any other group this season.

Marseille, who sit bottom of Group F, have been the team involved in the most entertaining matches, though. In their four matches, 14 goals have been scored. It has been quite a dogged group thus far with Marseille's Andre Ayew receiving the most fouls in the tournament, having been fouled 16 times.

Arsenal have not been very creative so far but have been clinical. They've had to fight their way through matches and the fact that Bacary Sagna has won more headed duels (16) than Robert Lewandowski (15) would back that point up.

Sliding back over to Bayern and Man City's group, though, to find the worst team in the competition is needed.

Viktoria Plzen have been shambolic, conceding 12 goals and scoring just two. They're averaging three goals conceded per game which is the worst in the tournament, alongside CSKA Moscow, the fourth side in the group. Their minus-12 goal difference is, predictably, the worst in the Champions League this season and it looks set to get even worse.

Plzen's duels aren't easy on the eye, either. They've won just eight aerial duels in their own penalty area; only Ajax and Copenhagen have won fewer.  If Plzen do return to the Champions League next season, they'll be praying for an easier group and will be hoping things don't go as badly as this season.

That sums up the quarterly report of the 2013/14 Champions League season. PSG and Bayern Munich are passing teams into submission, while the Parisians are deadly in front of goal—Zlatan Ibrahimovic has seven goals in just four matches.

Atletico Madrid have impressed, too, but Juventus have been completely disappointing. If they do not start converting chances in their next game they will face elimination and humiliation. It is not a difficult group, on paper, so they should be doing much better than sitting bottom without a win.

The competition is well under way, but there is still so much more to come.


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