City and United's contrasting styles

The EPL's two hottest teams are dominating in different ways

Updated: September 9, 2011, 11:22 PM ET
By Albert Larcada | ESPN Insider

Heat maps are a fun and informative way to visualize large sets of data. They are a great technique to find patterns and trends when simple averages can't tell the entire story. Thanks to companies such as TruMedia, heat maps have become commonplace among MLB teams and for those (like us) who cover baseball.

Using statistical computing software and data provided by Opta, we also can create heat maps of events on the soccer pitch. We can visualize things such as goals, shots, passes, even aerial challenges in ways other methods cannot.

In our first foray into heat maps, let's take a look at the two "hottest" squads in the English Premier League. Manchester rivals United and Manchester City are each off to fast starts offensively, scoring 13 and 12 goals, respectively, in their first three matches. While both clubs are scoring goals, United and City are going about their attacks in different ways.