10 great statistics that perfectly sum up this Premier League season
1. The gap between best and rest getting bigger...
Leicester’s astonishing title victory in 2015/16 might have been a wonderful event for English football, but it caused a reaction. No longer would the owners of Big Six clubs accept any trespassers on their turf. Boosted by increased broadcasting revenues, they resolved to spend bigger and better on transfer fees and wages. The rest have struggled to keep up.
This season, the Big Six clubs have played 71 home games against non-Big Six teams. Of those 71 matches, they have won 60, drawn eight and lost just three. The Big Six have scored 181 goals in those games, and conceded just 49.
2. ...but Wolves could have got closer
Wolves’s owners had a dream. Promotion to the Premier League formed part of that, but it was merely a step along the path to Champions League football. And while Wolves have fallen far short of that ultimate aim in their first season back at the top table, we have seen plenty of evidence to indicate that they mean business.
Wolves sit third in a table of results involving each of the top six clubs, having lost fewer intra-Big Six games than Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United. Sort out the form against Premier League strugglers, and they can improve further.
3. Draws are old hat
The number of stalemates in the Premier League has fallen off a cliff. In 2015/16, 28% of Premier League games ended in a draw. This season that figure sits at 18% – a monumental drop.
There seems to be three obvious explanations for the fall. The first is that, as the top six have become more dominant, their home records have improved inordinately. We have also seen a rise in the number of intra-Big Six thrashings rather than dull draws – think Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal and Manchester City 6-0 Chelsea.
Finally, with the top six so far ahead and Fulham and Huddersfield quickly cut adrift, the Premier League ‘rest’ had relatively little to lose in games against each other. You might as well push for three points if the impact of defeat is lower.
4. Arsenal’s old habits die hard
Limp, dismal away performances were the standout aspect of Arsene Wenger’s final two years in charge. When the going got tough on the road, Arsenal got… scared.
Unai Emery has improved plenty at the Emirates – on a limited budget – to give Arsenal a fighting chance of qualifying for the Champions League again, but their old troubles remain.
They’re the only Premier League club yet to keep a clean sheet away from home this season – a remarkable statistic given the defensive issues at Fulham and Huddersfield. Until that improves, Arsenal will have the handbrake applied to their progress.
5. Manchester City’s perfect goal
It’s the most predictable type of Premier League goal.
Pep Guardiola instructs his players to pass in short triangles in the opposition half, moving as they give and receive the ball to create space. Eventually, an overlap out wide in the final third will appear, leading to a wide player near the goalline in the area. That player will then play the ball across goal or pull it back to a waiting Sergio Aguero or Raheem Sterling, who can stab home.
For shots from outside the box, Manchester City rank below Leicester and are only nine ahead of Fulham. For shots from inside the box, City rank first and are 57 ahead of second place. Guardiola knows what works, and he has no intention of changing it.
NEXT: This is how Liverpool have done it...