This, from Bitter and Blue, is a far better and far more detailed exposition of the point I made earlier this month—Manchester City’s problem has to do with a low shot and save percentage, as revealed in the club’s PDO:
As we have seen, Man City control enough of the football in their away games, they control over 3/4 of the shots on target in their away games and are solely being let down by low scoring and save%’s. As we know that those percentages are liable to the influence of luck and regression to the mean, it doesn’t require too much imagination to say that Man City will, at some point, if the shots count stays consistently high, begin to score more goals and gain more points.
Again, this is a lovely use of simple predictive metrics to make a clear case that City’s away form is statistically likely to improve as the season progresses. I would only add the corollary: Manchester United’s equally high sh%, which leads the league near 30%, is also bound to regress. Chances are, the race will tighten over the next several months.
Note that none of this means City will overtake United, or win the title. Just that the team is likely a few points better than their current points total suggests. Despite the happy media narrative about a team in distress, I’m willing to bet that a grouchy Joe Hart or Mario Balotelli is not going to suddenly affect City’s impressive shots ratio.