English Premier League – Week 5: A Statistical Analysis


Lets take a little statistical look at the English Premier League so far, to see if we can fathom out what teams can do to increase their chances of a win.

So we are 5 weeks in, 49 games have been played. 132 goals have been scored, an average of 2.69 goals per game.

Home vs Away

The home side have won 19 times, the away side 16 times, and 14 draws.

The home side have scored 74 goals, or 1.51 per game, whilst the away side have scored 58, or 1.18 per game.

Interestingly, the average possession is 50% each.

Perhaps even more interesting is the away side having a higher average pass completion rate than the home team.

Most chances created

The home team have created the most chances in 29 games, the away team in 19 games (in one game both teams created the same number)

Now lets take a look at only Winning teams (35 in total)

First, some general averages for the winning side:

Average possession = 53%
Average shooting accuracy = 38%
Average pass completion = 80%
Average number of chances created = 12.1

Next, lets look at passing and possession:

  • 24 teams had the most possession (68.6%)
  • 26 teams had the highest pass completion (74.3%)
  • 22 teams played more passes in final third (62.9%)
  • 22 teams had the highest pass completion in the final third (62.9%)
  • 15 teams had the highest % of passes played to the final third (42.9%) [indicating a more direct style of play]

So pretty clear a higher pass completion leads to higher possession, and more chance of winning. Playing a higher number of passes in the final third, unsurprisingly, provides more chance of success, but a patient build up (not playing directly to the final third) is just as important, if not more so.

  • 20 teams created more chances than the opposition (57.1%)
  • 23 teams had the highest shooting accuracy (65.7%)

Not surprisingly, having more chances and more of your chances on target also increase the chances of winning.

  • 15 teams that won played more crosses than the opposition (42.9%)
  • 13 teams had the highest cross completion (37.1%)

Interesting that a higher number of crosses seems to reduce the success rate – perhaps indicating teams need to have a number of alternative ways of creating chances.

  • 17 times the winners had the highest number of take ons (48.6%)
  • 19 times the winner had the highest take on completion rate (54.3%)

So this would indicate it’s not how many times you attempt to take on your opponent, but how many times you succeed.

  • 12 teams had the most corners (34.3%)

Another interesting stat, which if we look at from the opposite angle, 65.7% of teams that won had less corners than the opposition.

  • 20 teams put in the most tackles (57.1%)
  • 16 had the highest tackle completion (45.7%)
  • 19 had the most interceptions (54.3%)
  • 19 had more blocks than the opposition (54.3%)
  • 22 winning teams made more clearances (62.9%)
  • 18 teams had the highest clearance success rate (51.4%)
  • 16 winning teams made more fouls than the opposition (45.7%)

More tackles, more interceptions, more blocks and more clearances also lead to a higher chance of winning, whilst teams that give away least fouls tend to edge it.

Passing Completion

The strongest stat from above is that 74.3% of teams that won had the highest pass completion rate. Lets now delve a little deeper into this area.

The average passing completion from all 49 games so far is 77%, so lets look at teams that have a higher than average pass completion:

52 teams in total have had a higher than average pass completion, with 46% of those winning.

The average for winning teams is 80% completion, so lets look at those teams completing over 80% of passes (32 in total):

If a team can complete over 80% of passes, they are even more likely to win.

There have been 9 times a team have completed 86% or more of their passes so far, 8 won and 1 drew (Man City against Fulham – 88% completion):

Possession

We have seen that a team with more accurate passing is more likely to win, and that 68.6% of teams with the highest possession have won, so lets see what teams with over 60% of possession have achieved:

Interestingly, of the 12 teams achieving 60% of more of possession, only 3 have won.

Formations

Finally, lets take a look at the formations that teams have used so far (as recorded on www.football-lineups.com)

8 different formations have been used so far (not including any in-game changes), with 4-4-2 being used more often than not 33.7% of the time.

4-1-2-3 has been the most successful from the limited sample, but Chelsea are the only team to have been noted to use this (in all 5 of their games). If combined with the 4-3-3 (which are more or less the same), the win % would be 33%, leaving 4-2-3-1 as the most successful.

The two most unusual formations (5-3-2 and 4-3-1-2) were both used by Norwich, who have used 4 different formations in their 5 games so far (4-4-2 twice and 4-2-3-1 being the others).

Hopefully this has highlighted some interesting stats (albeit from a limited sample size), and we shall revisit throughout the season to track any changes.

Keywords: English Premier League, statistical review, Formations, Team Analysis, Football Stats

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