No De Bruyne, no problem? (Part 2)

Sandipani Basu
3 min readFeb 5, 2021

Manchester City are the league leaders. Ilkay Gundogan has proved to be pivotal in the few last games. If you look closely Gundogan is playing a very high role. The numbers clearly show how he is being used as an AMF than a DM he had been for the past seasons.

Below is Gundogan’s shot creating actions per 90 which has increased over the past year and is the maximum in his last 3 years at the club. We all know how important shots are in winning matches.

Shot creating actions per 90

If you take a look at the previous season, he had scored only 2 goals in 31 matches or 2020 minutes played. That means 0.09 goals per 90. Cut to the current season and he has already scored 7 goals this season averaging 0.52 goals per 90.

His overall contribution i.e. his goals + assists also speak the truth about his role change this season. He has been involved in close to 0.6 direct contributions each 90 minutes this season. Look at the graph below.

Gundogan’s goal + assists (per 90) over 4 seasons

And to finally validate the fact that Ilkay is the furthest man in line with Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden in any City attack, we can see the number of touches he has in the attacking penalty area this season. To compare we see his defensive penalty touches over the seasons side by side to understand the transformation. See below that his touches in his own box have decreased and a corresponding increase in the opposition’s.

Touches per 90

This is a very well constructed team by Pep and his staff. The absence of De Bruyne has not been felt yet. However, time will tell if that void will cause problems for them at all. Gundogan is on a scoring spree and has adapted to his new role very naturally.

I will keep Mahrez’s analysis aside for a later article. The aim of two parts on was to see how Pep is managing his team after a last season. Bernardo Silva has his advantages and as we saw he is being used as a dribbler who can carry and progress with the ball rather than an attacking RW. Phil Foden has a keen eye for goal and does not shy away from taking shots. And Pep has found an attacking player in Gundogan in this new City team and it’s working well till now.

Data credits —



Sandipani Basu

An aspiring data geek with a keen interest in sports analytics, primarily soccer. I am on a gradual learning curve. But as they say good things take time.