You won’t be as pleased as I am to know this is the last of three articles reflecting on the season’s key stats. Try and stomach the following content and tables, there are actually some mildly interesting outcomes…
Number of Games v Injuries
Unless you’re Santiago Canizares or Kirk Broadfoot sustaining an injury is most likely to be caused by playing football…or wearing a Newcastle shirt, which might go someway to explaining why so many supporters don’t.
Below is a table detailing the number of games each team played this season and the injuries they encountered:
|TEAM||POSITION||POINTS||GAMES||INJURIES (ONE PLAYER INJURED FOR ONE WEEK = ONE POINT)|
|Man City||4th||66||59||211 (7th)|
|Man Utd||5th||66||59||243 (4th)|
|West Ham||7th||62||51||185 (11th)|
|Crystal Palace||15th||42||47||204 (T8th)|
|West Brom||14th||43||45||127 (17th)|
|Aston Villa||20th||17||44||204 (T8th)|
*Injury stats taken from www.injuryleague.com
Liverpool’s success in reaching the League Cup and Europa League finals meant they played more games than any other team, while both Manchester sides enjoyed domestic cup success and prolonged European campaigns.
The Anfield side was also the only team to have five players scoring ten or more goals this season (Sturridge, Benteke, Origi, Firmino and Coutinho). Jurgen Klopp heavily rotated his side during the last few months, which provided opportunities for more individuals to score. The number of games obviously played the biggest part in this outcome with Man City in second with four different scorers of ten or more (Aguero, De Bruyne, Iheanacho and Sterling).
Unsurprisingly, the top four teams for games played were in the top seven of the injury table. Newcastle, however, had the worst record for injuries, which would be a concern for Rafa Benitez as they played the joint fewest games. Swansea – also on 41 games this season – were the ‘healthiest’ side with just 49 points.
Claudio Ranieri arrived as the Tinker Man but tinkered very little, which was seen as one of the key factors in their title-winning campaign. The Italian manager was able to stick with virtually the same 11 every week because his Leicester side suffered the second least amount of injuries, aided by just the 43 games this season.
Roberto Martinez, meanwhile, might point to the fact that his side played more games than any other team without European commitments as a reason for their league struggles. Everton had another stagnant season under their now former Spaniard manager, but enduring the third worst injury record in the league certainly didn’t help their cause.
Bournemouth’s survival during their first season in England’s top flight shouldn’t be underestimated given their injury woes at the start of the season. The Cherries lost top scorer, Callum Wilson as well as both record signings Tyrone Mings and Max Gradel in the early stages of their campaign. Despite being the fifth biggest net spenders for the 2015/16 season, Eddie Howe’s squad was pushed to its limits having ended with the sixth worst injury record.
Return on Investment
It’s often a debate amongst fans as to who spent what, so the table below should help clear things up. The teams in bold are those who improved from 2014/15 to 2015/16 in terms of position and/or points. The promoted clubs (Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich) have been highlighted in red as their achievements last season were in a different division. Their spending is also understandably very low in comparison to the Premier League sides that year.
|TEAM||POS (PTS) 2015/16||NET SPEND 2015/16||POS (PTS) 2014/15||NET SPEND 2014/15||TOTAL NET SPEND|
|Man Utd||5th||66||– £35.3m||4th||70||– £115.2m||– £150.5m|
|Man City||4th||66||– £107.3m||2nd||79||– £42.9m||– £150.2m|
|Newcastle||18th||37||– £81.2m||15th||39||– £16.8m||– £98m|
|Arsenal||2nd||71||– £21.1m||3rd||75||– £71.7m||– £92.8m|
|Liverpool||8th||60||– £29.9m||6th||62||– £40.7m||– £70.6m|
|Everton||11th||47||– £28.9m||11th||47||– £30m||– £58.9m|
|Watford||13th||45||– £57.9m||2nd||89||– £0.4m||– £58.3m|
|Sunderland||17th||39||– £43.9m||16th||38||– £9.4m||– £53.3m|
|Leicester||1st||81||– £32m||14th||41||– £18m||– £50m|
|West Ham||7th||62||– £23.8m||12th||47||– £24.2m||– £48m|
|West Brom||14th||43||– £23.6m||13th||44||– £17.8m||– £41.4m|
|Bournemouth||16th||42||– £38.7m||1st||90||– £0.9m||– £39.6m|
|Crystal Palace||15th||42||– £16.9m||10th||48||– £22.3m||– £39.2m|
|Norwich||19th||34||– £21.3m||3rd||86||– £0.8m||– £22.1m|
|Stoke||9th||51||– £21.8m||9th||54||+ £1.6m||– £20.2m|
|Aston Villa||20th||17||– £1.4m||17th||38||– £9.6m||– £11m|
|Chelsea||10th||50||– £2.3m||1st||87||+ £6.6m||£4.3m|
|Swansea||12th||47||– £4.3m||8th||56||+ £16m||£11.7m|
|Tottenham||3rd||70||+ £13m||5th||64||+ £0.6m||£13.6m|
|Southampton||6th||63||– £2.3m||7th||60||+ £28.1m||£25.8m|
*Transfer information gathered from www.transfermarkt.com
Of the six sides that improved on their 2014/15 season, only Tottenham made a profit (£13m) during the following campaign. Southampton spent a mere £2.3m, while the other four (Arsenal, West Ham, Leicester and Sunderland) spent at least £20m to achieve their progress.
Man City got the worst return on their investment having spent over £100m to finish 13-points worse off. Mike Ashley finally found a wallet to match his waistline at Newcastle, but like a supermarket sweep in one of his stores (physically impossible because of the narrow aisles), they came out with too many of one thing (attacking midfielders) and too few of another (defenders). The Geordies dropped two-points and more importantly three-positions to end the season relegated despite spending over £80m.
West Ham’s 15-point and five-place climb was due to Slaven Bilic and his team investing their money wisely. The captures of Dmitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini, Angelo Ogbonna and Michail Antonio proved to be very good purchases with the Hammers now looking to establish themselves as a European club.
Leicester nearly doubled their points tally by shrewdly spending £32m and appointing Ranieri. Their successful transfers – N’Golo Kante, Robert Huth, Christian Fuchs, Shinji Okazaki and Demarai Gray – helped the Foxes achieve their highly improbable title victory.
Over the last two seasons, Liverpool will be most disappointed by how they have spent their money. Having been just a slip away from winning their first ever Premier League title in 2014, the Reds now find themselves eighth in the table even though they’ve invested over £70m. The owners are fond of the Moneyball system for their Baseball team but they could well be left with just the ball if this poor return continues at Anfield.
Merseyside neighbours, Everton have been the sixth biggest net spenders since 2014 but dropped from fifth to 11th for the last two seasons. Further evidence as to why Martinez lost his job at the end of this campaign.
Of the four sides (Chelsea, Swansea, Tottenham and Southampton) that generated a profit since 2014, Southampton raised the most. This was down to Ronald Koeman’s first summer seeing a mass exodus of players (Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren, Calum Chambers and Luke Shaw) but the Dutchman still guided the Saints to their best Premier League finish. The former Ajax, Benfica and Valencia manager then bettered his debut season by three-points and one place despite losing Toby Alderweireld, Nathaniel Clyne and Morgan Schneiderlin in the summer. Given Martinez’s troubles at Everton, it’s no wonder the Toffees opted for Koeman as their new manager. They’ll just need to make sure that they get the right guy to oversee their player recruitment as well as the team itself.
Many would be surprised by the amount Watford were reported to have spent following their promotion in 2015. However, the structure of the Pozzo family’s business suggests that Watford have become the parent club to Udinese (Italy) and Granada (Spain). This is a result of them having the greater financial power now they’re in England’s top division. In fact, the Hornets two biggest signings last summer were Adalberto Penaranda (from Udinese) and Abdoulaye Doucoure (from Rennes) for £8.3m each. Both players were subsequently sent out on loan to (pauses to create tension) Granada.
With the bumper TV deal coming into the league, the vast outlay of the Manchester clubs with little return besides an FA and League Cup as well as a limp Champions League semi-final may be a common occurrence. Hopefully the success stories will be the clubs who not only win trophies but also invest sensibly, setting aside money to subsidise the fans that actually attend the games both home and away. I know I’m a dreamer but what are we without hope? Yep…hopeless.