The second of three reviews sees a closer look at the home and away forms, unbeaten runs, as well as late goals scored or conceded and how they might relate to a team’s average possession.
HOME AND AWAY (not the classic Australian soap opera):
|TEAM||POSITION||PTS||HOME FORM||AWAY FORM|
Leicester – Best home and away record. The Foxes won at least two away games more than any other team, which isn’t surprising given their counter-attacking and direct style of play.
Arsenal – Third best home and away records for the Gunners who suffered defeats at the Emirates Stadium to West Ham (opening day), Chelsea and Swansea.
Tottenham – The second best away points total covered up a joint fifth best home record. Mauricio Pochettino will want more points than the four earned in six games against Newcastle, West Brom and Everton if Spurs are to build on this season.
Man City – Joint most home losses and joint fewest away wins in the top eight. City’s lack of consistency, particularly after their blistering start, will need to be addressed by incoming manager, Pep Guardiola.
Man Utd – One-point short of Leicester’s home form but only three-points better off than Bournemouth when it comes to their away record. Jose Mourinho was known for having an impressive home record at Chelsea (this season aside) but it’s making the Red Devils harder to beat away from the Theatre of Dreams that will have a big impact on next season.
Southampton – More home wins than Tottenham but more away losses than Everton. The Saints will need better away form if they’re to build on this season’s success.
West Ham – Just three losses at Upton Park (two from the first two) but will the new stadium be as much a fortress? Too many draws for the Hammers saw their unexpected Champions League challenge falter towards the end.
Liverpool – Only Chelsea drew more games at home while the Reds were one of seven teams to have won more than they lost away. Turning the draws into victories and holding on to leads should be easier due to less strain on the squad in terms of games.
Stoke – Won the same amount of points at home as relegated Newcastle. The Potters had the same number of losses away from home as Crystal Palace.
Chelsea – One of only three teams to have earned more points away from home. The Blues used to be unbeatable at Stamford Bridge but the turmoil at the start of the season saw Mourinho lose his job and Chelsea lose their fear factor.
Everton – Also won more points away from home with Roberto Martinez getting the sack following the Toffees poor return at Goodison Park. Eight home defeats was the joint third worst in the league.
Swansea – Best home record outside the top eight but the fifth worst points return away from the Liberty Stadium. The Swans won nearly double the points at home that they won away.
Watford – Along with Liverpool, the Hornets won the same number of games at home as they did away. Avoiding relegation again will be the aim with another high turnover of players and staff expected.
West Brom – Relegated Norwich and Newcastle earned the same or more points at home. Tony Pulis will want to make The Hawthorns a more challenging place to visit next season.
Crystal Palace – The second most losses at home saw Palace gain the same number of points at home as they did away. Too many teams were able to leave Selhurst Park with something despite its reputation as a noisy and boisterous atmosphere.
Bournemouth – The remaining team of three to have a better record away from home. The Cherries first season in England’s top-flight provided many a lesson for Eddie Howe and his men. The locals will be hoping that they’ve learnt from them.
Sunderland – The same points won at home as Chelsea but an away record that is only better than the bottom three. A more stubborn approach to fixtures away from the Stadium of Light will be on Sam Allardyce’s agenda.
Newcastle – The most home wins in the bottom eight but only nine-points earned on the road. A failure to get into double-figures away from St. James’ Park suggests it wasn’t misfortune that saw the Geordies get relegated but the fact they were bloody awful on their travels.
Norwich – Same number of points earned at home as Everton but a measly 11-points away from Carrow Road sealed their fate. A squad that is unlikely to be dismantled following relegation will need to perform much better at home and especially away.
Aston Villa – The Villains were pathetic at home and an embarrassment away. Their one and only away win came on the first day of the season at newly-promoted Bournemouth. No one expected such a poor season at that point but it certainly became clear in the months following.
STREAKS AND RUNS (not a post-curry phrase):
|TEAM||POS||PTS||WINNING STREAK||LOSING STREAK||UNBEATEN RUN||WINLESS RUN|
Tottenham had the longest winning streak with a total of six from the 16th January to the 28th February. Chelsea, meanwhile, had the longest unbeaten run, which coincided with Guus Hiddink’s return to the Bridge. Their 15-game stretch, however, only yielded 29-points which Tottenham (36) and Leicester (34) surpassed during the same period.
No one was going to beat Aston Villa in terms of losing streak and winless run, but Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace gave it a good go when they went 14 without a victory. West Brom – a team often associated as hard to beat – actually lost five on the bounce, the joint-second worst in the league, which would be a source of frustration for Pulis regardless of how well they may have competed in those games.
It was no surprise to see Champions Leicester never lose more than one match in succession. Their ability to bounce back, particularly after the cruel defeat at Arsenal, was a key element of their success, which should be credited to Ranieri and the team spirit they maintained throughout.
LATE GOALS AND POSSESSION:
|TEAM||POS||PTS||SCORED 80th +||CONCEDED 80th +||AVERAGE POSSESION (RANK)|
|Man City||4th||66||14||4||57.2% (2)|
|Man Utd||5th||66||6||9||56.7% (3)|
|West Ham||7th||62||9||6||47.6% (12)|
|West Brom||14th||43||9||11||40.9% (20)|
|Crystal Palace||15th||42||4||8||46.7% (15)|
|Aston Villa||20th||17||3||14||47.2% (14)|
*Possession stats gathered from www.transfermarkt.com
As the table shows, Leicester, Man City and Sunderland scored the most goals in the last ten minutes (plus injury-time) this season. The two-time Premier League winners also conceded the least during the same period suggesting that their performance and concentration at this time was strong. This could be due to them ranking second in terms of possession and making the opposition run more without the ball. It could also be due to the amount of experience in the squad with only West Brom and Watford fielding a starting line-up with an average age greater than that of City’s at any point during the season.
Aston Villa conceded the most, losing eight points in the process. Perhaps surprisingly for some, Liverpool were the third worst side for conceding late, the 12 goals also costing them eight points. This may be a result of tiredness due to Klopp’s preferred style of play or a lack of concentration and understanding due to the new tactics. Reds’ fans will be hoping for a drop in this area now Klopp has a pre-season and fewer games to deal with.
Leicester’s counter-attacking and direct style of play saw them catch their opponents out on 14 occasions despite ranking 18th in terms of average possession. Next season is likely to see teams ‘wise-up’ to their approach – although no one really did as their title challenge became increasingly realistic – so their tactics and numbers may well change.
Sunderland’s low possession average can be attributed to a counter-attacking style, which was prominent during the latter stages of their campaign. Jermain Defoe would play as the lone striker and Jan Kirchhoff would protect the back four, lending itself to the team relinquishing possession in favour of efficiency when they had the ball. Their end of season form suggests it was a worthwhile move.
Fans should forget trying to avoid the traffic when watching the likes of Leicester (24), Newcastle (23), Everton (22), Liverpool (21), Bournemouth (21), Southampton (20), Sunderland (20) and West Brom (20). You’ll be forgiven for making an early exit if you’re watching Swansea, however, who were involved in games that saw only ten goals scored from the 80th minute onwards.