Manchester City FC: Citizens as Good as FC Barcelona?

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Manchester City FC: Citizens as Good as FC Barcelona?
David Ramos/Getty Images
Take Lionel Messi Out of the Equation, and Manchester City Could Be Deemed Better Than FC Barcelona

As La Liga leaders Real Madrid extended their lead with a 7-1 win over CA Osasuna, it could be said they are on a par with FC Barcelona.

However, if there's one team who really could be level with Barca, it's Manchester City.

The Premier League leaders are five points clear of second-place Manchester United and have a goal difference of 29, 13 better than the Red Devils, who are again second-best.

The Citizens have won 10 and drawn once in their opening 11 league matches, scoring 39 goals and conceding just 10.

Barcelona in their opening 10 games have conceded less than City, but also scored less and have won just seven, drawing three.

In their 11th game on Sunday against Athletic Bilbao, Barca would need to score seven goals to match the amount City have scored at the same stage in their campaign.

Considering the Premier League is said to be the most competitive in the world and is ranked top of the UEFA coefficient, it could be said Manchester City have started their season better than FC Barcelona have.

And while they may not have done as well in the UEFA Champions League as of yet, City do have the toughest group, with Bayern Munich, SSC Napoli and Villarreal joining them in Group A, while Barca have the likes of BATE Borisov and Viktoria Plzen in Group H.

The Citizens have arguably had a better season so far than Barcelona, but are they as good as them on the pitch?

Of course they haven't got the magical Lionel Messi, who's got 22 goals in 17 games so far this season.

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But, as far as goalscoring players are concerned, Barca seem to have less than City, with the next-best La Liga scorers for La Blaugrana being Xavi Hernandez and Cesc Fabregas. Both have four, compared to Messi's 13.

And the next-best Barca goal scorer in all competitions is David Villa with seven.

Manchester City, on the other hand, have Edin Dzeko, who's scored 10 in the Premier League and 13 in all competitions, while £38 million signing Sergio Aguero has nine league goals and 10 in all competitions in his first season in English football.

Then there's Mario Balotelli, who's on a par with Villa, scoring seven goals in all competitions, but has done it in eight games, seven less matches than the World Cup winner.

So—at the moment anyway—it seems Man City have more goal-scoring options than Barca.

As far as assist-making goes, both sides have 11 players who have gotten assists so far in the league, but it's City who come out on top, assisting 36 of City's 39 league goals, while Barcelona have only set up their teammates on 24 occasions. 

And for Barca, it's Lionel Messi who again tops the charts, making six assists in La Liga, with Cesc Fabregas in second with four.

For City, meanwhile, Samir Nasri and David Silva share the assist-making honour, both setting up six goals, while James Milner is in third with five assists, with ex-Barcelona man Yaya Toure joint fourth with right-back Micah Richards having both made four assists each—the same amount as Barca's second-best assist-maker.

Michael Regan/Getty Images
David Silva and Samir Nasri Have Both Made More League Assists Than Any Barca Player Apart Messi (Joint With Him on Six)

So it seems the Citizens also have more players able to create goals that Barca do.

However, while Manchester City evidently appear more of a goal threat than FC Barcelona, they are much more leaky in defence.

City have conceded 10 goals—which is very good, but it seems like school-boy defending compared to Barca's four.

And the Citizens concede on average 12 shots per game, which is double the amount of Barcelona.

They also win less tackles, making on average 16 per match (three less than Barca). They also make one less key interception per game and concede two more fouls per match.

Meanwhile, offensively, City create three more chances per game than Barca but don't carry the ball as well, making four less completed dribbles per match.

The Eastlands club are slightly more efficient in attack than their Camp Nou counterparts, having an ever-so-slightly better goals to shots ratio and have been caught offside two fewer times per game.

In the coming months, Real Madrid may well stake a claim to being the best side in Europe.

After all, they have in their ranks Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain, who both have a 100 percent goals to games ratio or better, as well as Angel di Maria, who has a 100 percent assists to games ratio, with 10 assists in 10 league games.

But for the time being, the two best teams in world football, based on overall squad strength and the even distribution of goals and assists throughout the team, has to be Manchester City and FC Barcelona.

And while Barcelona have long since dominated Europe, City are emerging as a contender to the throne.

Are Manchester City as good as FC Barcelona? Only time will realistically tell, but as far as current form and attacking threat goes, they sure are more than a decent matchup to the Champions League winners.

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