Consecutive Win Records – Facts or Fiction?

Manchester City’s victory over Swansea last night in the FA Cup (3-1 on 10th February 2021) caused a number of fans, media outlets and statisticians to question the record set by City in 2017. Between August 26 and December 3, 2017 Pep’s Blues managed a 20 game winning run that included a League Cup penalty shootout win over Wolves in in October 2017. 

In 2017 the International Football Association Board (IFAB) – the body that is the ultimate rule maker and sits above FIFA – stated that wins via penalty shootouts count in sequence records, hence City establishing the record at 20 consecutive wins. Some statisticians argue this point but IFAB are the rule makers while statisticians, fans, the media and historians are merely observers. We may have views but ultimately IFAB are the ones who set the rules regardless of whether we like them or not.

So where does this leave last night’s record? Well, to solve all future debates and arguments it’s fairly simple to me. Last night’s win means that City currently hold two records that no one can quibble with. These are:

Most Consecutive Wins (including penalty shootouts): 20, 2017.

Most Consecutive Wins (excluding penalty shootouts): 15, 2021.

Over the coming weeks hopefully the record established last night will increase and, who knows, it may even overtake the 2017 record but, for common-sense sake, it’s clear to me that regarding it as two records resolves the issue.

One point worth making though concerns Pep’s 200th win. This was regarded as last night’s game by many of the same organisations who do not count the 2017 record due to the penalty shootout. Well, we can’t have it both ways. If 2017 does not count at all because of the penalty shootout then Pep hasn’t yet reached 200 wins – that’s a nonsense of course. I’d love to see what happens when someone from the media, a rival club or a statistician tells him that his single game wins via shoot-outs don’t count. Anyone who thinks differently should have a chat with Pep and tell him what they think.

Incidentally, back in 2017 when City’s penalty shootout win v Wolves was counted as a win by IFAB there had also been a few precedents, for example concerning a consecutive away record Arsenal had (see https://www.arsenal.com/news/features/consecutive-away-wins for the details) and Sir Alex Ferguson’s own win records. These predated City’s 20 game record and remained classified as records. These are clearly precedents that were widely reported at the time.

There are anomalies – people widely point to two-legged ties that are ‘won’ on penalties or extra-time – and whenever people raise these they really should speak with IFAB and seek a definitive decision. Ultimately, as I said earlier, statisticians, media and fans are observers not rule makers.

Statistics hey? 

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Swansea and City

It’s Swansea v Manchester City tonight in the FA Cup and so I thought I’d put together a few historical facts and stats about games between the two clubs.

Game One: The first competitive meeting between the two teams came in Division Two on 25 September 1926. The Blues had been relegated the previous May and the historic first meeting with Swansea Town (Swansea was not a city at this point) ended in a 3-1 City victory at Maine Road, before 24,314 fans. George Hicks, Tommy Johnson & Frank Roberts netted for the Blues.

The return game also ended in a 3-1 win on 12 February 1927. Hicks and Johnson both scored again, with Johnson netting twice. A Swansea crowd of 20,345 watched on.

The first top flight game between the sides didn’t come until 21 November 1981 (following Swansea’s promotion) and saw two each from Kevin Reeves and Dennis Tueart (the first a penalty 4 minutes before half time) help City to a 4-0 win. Here’s film of that game – see if you can spot the fan carrying two pints (presumably of Greenall’s or Grunhalle!) back to his seat (the days when we were allowed to drink in our seats or on the Kippax – well, not quite all of us. I was just 14 at the time!):

The first Premier League meeting came on 15 August 2011 – another 4-0 City win. This time Dzeko, Aguero (2) and David Silva each scored at the Etihad before 46,802. Film of that game here:

https://www.mancity.com/citytv/match-highlights/2011/august/city-v-swansea-60-seconds

Incredibly the first FA Cup meeting didn’t come until 16 March 2019 and this saw City win 3-2 at Swansea (OG from Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Bernardo Silva & Sergio Aguero). City had been losing 2-0 (a penalty from Matt Grimes in 20th minute and Bersant Celina netted the other in 29th minute) up until Silva’s 69th minute goal. The action from this game can be viewed here:

https://www.mancity.com/citytv/match-highlights/2019/march/swansea-v-city-highlights-extended

Prior to tonight’s game of course: In terms of all time record the two teams have met on 36 occasions:

Played 36; City won 25; Drawn 4; Swansea won 7.

Breakdown by competition is:

League P34; City won 23; Drawn 4; Swansea won 7

FAC P1; City won 1; Drawn 0; Swansea won 0

League Cup P1; City won 1; Drawn 0; Swansea won 0.

The highest scoring game between the teams came in August 1927 when City beat Swansea Town 7-4 in Division Two. 34,316 watched a hat trick from Tommy Johnson and other goals from Peter Bell, Charlie Broadhurst, George Hicks and Frank Roberts.

Here’s hoping tonight’s game brings as much entertainment as that one did.

While you’re here, it’s worth taking a look at something else already posted on http://www.GJFootballArchive.com. It’s a profile of Tommy Hutchison who was a cult hero at MCFC and also spent time with Swansea City:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2020/12/30/the-starting-eleven-tommy-hutchison/

A Remarkable Comeback – Spurs v MCFC 2004

On this day (4th February) 2004 Manchester City managed a remarkable comeback in the FA Cup away at Tottenham Hotspur. The story of that game (and film of it) is available here:

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Ten Year Ago Today – Dzeko’s First Goal!

Ten years ago today (30 January 2011) Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City team faced Notts County in the FA Cup. Edin Dzeko’s first City goal came on this day too!

In the build-up to the Notts County tie much was made of the fact that County were the world’s oldest League team and that they were facing the world’s richest club – as usual ignoring the hard fact that it was City’s owner that was wealthy not the club itself. Who’d have thought then that ten years later we’d still be hearing this same old claptrap!

Television, in particular, liked to build up the David and Goliath aspect to it.  For neutrals it added to the interest perhaps, but for the Blues it continued to give a false impression of the stage they were at in their development.  

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On This Day – Over 74,000 Watch Managerless Manchester City At Home

On this day (30th January) in 1926 managerless Manchester City faced Huddersfield Town in a FA Cup tie at Maine Road, watched by 74,799. The following article, for subscribers to GJFootballArchive.com, provides the background story to the tie and film of the game.

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On This Day: An All-Manchester FAC Tie (Story and Film)

On this day (29th January) in 1955 –goals from Joe Hayes and Don Revie give Manchester City a 2-0 victory over Manchester United in the FAC in front of 74,723. Here’s the story and film of that game:

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Law’s Expunged Six!

Today (28th January) in 1961 Denis Law’s six goals for Manchester City against Luton in the FAC were wiped from the records when the game was abandoned.  City were winning 6-2. Here for subscribers to the blog is the story of that game and the ‘typical City’ replay that followed.

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If you would like to read this and the blog’s in-depth, longer articles (including the entire Manchester A Football History book) then please subscribe below. It works out about £1.67 a month if you take out an annual subscription (£20 per year) or £3 a month if you’d like to sign up for a month at a time. Each subscriber gets full access to the 150+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

Ipswich Town 1 Manchester City 4

On 27th January 2002 Manchester City’s fourth round FA Cup tie at Ipswich saw Kevin Keegan’s side thrill live on TV. City impressed the nation with their spectacular 4-1 fourth round cup demolition of Premier League side Ipswich Town. It is worth remembering that City were in the second tier at the time, hoping for promotion. Many of us felt that the Blues were not only good enough to find success in the League but also stood a genuine chance of FA Cup success (mind you, some of us felt that every season – nine years later it finally happened!).

The City scorers against Ipswich were Eyal Berkovic, Shaun Goater (2) and Darren Huckerby.

After the Ipswich match Keegan said: “Our fans know we can play but I think we showed the rest of the country that we are a good team. I believe the FA Cup needed a game like our tie with Ipswich where the atmosphere was tremendous and both sides picked their strongest available sides and really set out to win.” 

In the fifth round, Keegan’s Blues travelled to Newcastle for another thrilling performance against the manager’s old club. The media hype focused on Keegan, but the match ended with national recognition that the Blues were clearly a force. Although City lost the match 1-0 after Richard Dunne had been sent off, the general view was that ten-man City were more than a match for the Geordies. City impressed the nation once again.

The Newcastle tie, like the Ipswich game, came at a time when many were questioning the status of the FA Cup. City’s performance in both ties were seen as major boosts for the competition. According to Henry Winter of the Daily Telegraph: “Keegan returned with his magnificent Manchester City side whose spirited, defiant football sent the heart rate soaring among Newcastle’s nervy support. Making light of Richard Dunne’s dismissal and Nolberto Solano’s goal, City scared the black-and-white life out of those who still cherish Keegan’s name. Shaun Wright-Phillips was marvellous, Eyal Berkovic and Kevin Horlock not far behind with outstanding displays as City narrowly lost a Cup-tie but won countless admirers. If they build on this, they will surely keep the Blue Moon rising and head back to the Premiership, where their noisy supporters belong.” 

Here are highlights of the Ipswich tie:

Manchester City’s owner Sheikh Mansour has bought the oldest surviving FA Cup trophy at auction. The trophy, which was the first major trophy won by Bury, City and United, will be on display at the National Football Museum. To understand more of that trophy’s significance to Manchester check out my earlier posts:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/01/11/fa-cup-success-football-infrastructure-and-the-establishment-of-manchesters-footballing-identity-free-download-for-limited-period/

And:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/01/08/manchesters-first-great-season/

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This was a brief sample of the content available on GJFootballArchive.com. If you would like to view the much longer articles and everything else on this site then please subscribe. It works out about £1.67 a month if you take out an annual subscription (£20 per year) or £3 a month if you’d like to sign up for a month at a time. Why not sign up for a month, see what’s here and then cancel if you don’t think it’s appropriate for you? Each subscriber gets full access to the 180+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

On This Day – A FA Cup Manchester Derby (Story And Film)

On this day (24th January) in 1970 Manchester City and Manchester United met for the fourth of five meetings that season. This game was in the FA Cup and the following article tells the story of that game and includes highlights of the match.

If you would like to view this article then please subscribe below. It works out about £1.67 a month if you take out an annual subscription (£20 per year) or £3 a month if you’d like to sign up for a month at a time. Each subscriber gets full access to the 160+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

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On This Day – Outfield Player In Nets But MCFC Still Beat Leeds

On this day (14th January) in 1928 Manchester City faced Leeds United in a FA Cup tie. Although the result went City’s way, the game was to affect the Blues for several weeks afterwards.

The reason is that the ‘Citizens’, as they were occasionally called in the press, lost the services of Bert Gray for part of January and February following this third round cup tie with Leeds.  Gray had broken a cheek bone after about thirty minutes and was replaced by winger Billy Austin, who managed to keep Leeds from scoring on a few occasions, as the Blues won 1-0. The City ‘scorer was Tommy Johnson (pictured above).

There’s film of the game here which is well worth watching for the mud. It’s difficult to tell if any of this footage shows Austin in nets (I think it does but am still studying it!): 

https://www.britishpathe.com/video/manchester-city-defeat-united/query/manchester+city