Research conducted by the statistics boffins at sports.bwin.com/en/news suggests that Premier League referees have never been keener to award penalty kicks.
It’s news that’s likely to have penalty punters falling over themselves to back spot kicks in the Manchester derby, a contest that has been starved of 12-yard showdowns in recent editions.
Not since Carlos Tevez opened the scoring for City in the 2009/10 Carling Cup semi-final first leg has one been awarded in a battle for mastery of Mancunia.
As many as 17 penalty-less editions have come and gone since then, but if ever there was a time the floodgates were going to open, it’s now, as the following graphic suggests.
After 30 games of the 2015/16 campaign, referees had pointed to the spot on six occasions. At the same juncture of the 2016/17 season, no fewer than 12 spot-kicks have been awarded.
The highly-publicised clampdown on holding, blocking and other infringements at corners and free kicks has contributed to the rise to the tune of no fewer than three, with two of those coming in City’s 4-1 win over Stoke.
Josep Guardiola’s men have been penalty magnets this term, meaning betting on one to be given when they visit Old Trafford at 3/1 or two to be blown for at 10/1 must come under consideration in the current climate.
City have been the beneficiaries of four so far across all competitions and conceded one themselves, while United have also profited to the tune of one spot-kick so far.