Passing network map shows the gulf in class between Man City and Man United

A passing network map underlined the gulf in class between Manchester City and Manchester United last weekend.

The two sides faced off in a Manchester derby clash at Old Trafford, which City won 2-0. Following Eric Bailly’s own goal, Bernardo Silva struck before half-time.

Pep Guardiola‘s side controlled the game. They never looked like relinquishing the lead when Bailly’s own goal put them ahead on seven minutes.

Let’s take a look at what passing network maps are, and how the map shows City’s overall control on the game:

What are passing network maps?

A passing network map shows the average position of a player during a game. It also shows how many passes they complete between team-mates.

A player marker on a passing network map reflects teams that play higher up the pitch and those that may drop deeper.

When it comes to the volume of passes, a connection between two player markers shows this. The more passes two players complete between each other, the denser the link looks visually.

How does the passing network map show City dominance over United?

A post from Reddit user Spectario shows just how dominant City were in their possession of the ball at Old Trafford.

In United’s network on the left, you can see that, surprisingly, Luke Shaw was set highest up the pitch on average of all United players.

City’s intense control over possession effectively pushed United further back towards their own goal. That’s reflected in the chances created. United had five shots on goal; City had 16.

What can also be seen in the graph on United’s side is their passing areas. Most of the passes are completed between centre-backs Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire.

When it comes to City, much more of their play is focused higher up the pitch.

Gabriel Jesus and Phil Foden regularly pushed forward to spearhead attacks, whilst full-backs Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo used the additional space in midfield areas.

Bernardo Silva, who began the game as City’s most advanced player, regularly dropped deep to support the midfield. Accordingly, that allowed Ilkay Gundogan to push further forward.

The overall performance compared to their great rivals was disappointing from a United perspective.

Guardiola City United
Image Credit: Getty

“If you don’t finish the attack you will be attacked much, much quicker and that is where they [United] are so good,” Guardiola said after the game.

“That is why we needed a game with a thousand million passes. We need a game like with the ball in the fridge, keep it there.”

“When you see it, an extra pass, an extra pass. There are moments that you will find it. And we did.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty