Tactical Followup: City v Newcastle

In my preview article for the match against Newcastle, I wrote about some of the things I wanted to keep an eye on. So how did City perform in these three areas? Unfortunately, one of them was about Stevan Jovetic, who didn’t play yesterday. That will have to wait for the next match. Here’s what the stats show for the other two.

How often does Jesus Navas drag multiple defenders out wide to cover him, and how much space does this leave in the middle and on the opposite wing? 

Here are his completed passes from yesterday, which shows us a few things about his approach.


1. The starting position for almost all of his passes comes from the far edge, right on the touchline.

2. Navas played quite a few balls back and forth along the touchline in a near vertical manner. These were mostly to Pablo Zabaleta. At times it seemed as though the two were running some set plays. Navas would get the ball on the wing and then move until multiple defenders came to stop him. He then stopped, pivoted, and passed a through ball to Pablo. The same happened in reverse.

3. Navas has a reputation of someone who gets to the goal line, and bombs crosses into the box. While he did send in 10 crosses yesterday, he also played a number of smart, well-weighted balls into the penalty area.

4. The number of times he recycled the ball. There were a number of times that he passed the ball all the way back to the back line, rather than forcing the ball into the middle. That is a key in Pellegrini’s system. Don’t force something, because that will put pressure on our defense defending a counter-attack.

How often does Yaya rampage forward, and how often does he hang back? I want to see a good understanding develop between him and Fernandinho.

I was very very impressed with Fernandinho yesterday. I thought that he and Yaya weren’t required to do too much, especially defensively, but they still showed a good understanding between them.

Fernandinho spent a good portion of this time in attacking areas. Here’s his action zones.


Here are Yaya’s action areas.


Fernandinho spent almost a quarter of the match inside the attacking third, and spend 75% of his time in middle-advanced parts of the pitch. He was positioned in a much more advanced role than Yaya was for the most part.

Looking at both of them though, we see that there were times that Yaya also pushed forward, and Fernandinho played more behind. It will be interesting to continue watching the two of them play together in the middle of the field.

Fernandinho played a lot of good passes, completing 90% of them. Here are his completed passes yesterday.


That’s a good spread of passes. many of them are accurate long balls played to both flanks, while others are moving the ball around in the middle of the pitch. I think that Ferna will continue to show why he was such a priority for the Man City brass, and why he is worth the 30 million that was spent to bring him in.