Some home advantage restored, 37 more passes a game… but STILL a lack of first-half goals! A look at the latest stats as Premier League players try to adapt to life without fans in top flight
- There have now been 24 Premier League matches since the top flight returned
- Sportsmail has analysed the stats and home advantage is being restored slightly
- There was an increase in home wins from 27 to 42 per cent in the second week
- FA Cup had 100 per cent away wins though, and plenty of excitement to boot
The second round of Premier League fixtures after the restart saw an increase in home advantage as players begin to adapt to post-lockdown life without supporters.
Sportsmail is here to take an in-depth look at the stats following the second round of games since the top-flight returned, and it appears the players are getting a little more used to playing in front of empty stands.
While the first 10 games saw just 27 per cent home wins, it has now risen to 42 per cent after 24 matches, a number almost in line with pre-lockdown’s 45 per cent.
Liverpool were among the sides helping to improve the home wins statistic on matchday two
Passing stats were considerably up, with an average of 912 being made per game since restart
One thing that is still abundantly clear though, is that first-half action still leaves a lot to be desired, with just 29 per cent of goals scored in the opening 45 minutes, compared to 46 per cent pre-lockdown.
Fouls are still higher than average this month – although they have settled slightly – while the second round of fixtures saw players play an average of 37 more passes a game than the first weekend.
This suggests the players are beginning to get used to their surroundings, with home teams enjoying more success and playing the ball around more freely.
One perhaps surprising statistic comes in the form of ‘ball in play time’. You would expect there to be less stoppages with no crowd, but it has actually been the exact opposite.
Since the restart, the ball has been in play for an average of 54 minutes and 42 seconds in each game, compared to 55 minutes and 55 seconds pre-lockdown.
Anthony Martial nets in 77th minute vs Sheffield United; 71% of goals have come after half-time
Players are trying to get used to life without fans after the Premier League’s return to action
One worrying statistic comes in the form of shots and shot conversion, with both figures significantly down on pre-lockdown.
Between August and March, there were an average of 25.2 shots per game, and that number dropped to 22.2 after the first matchday. 14 games further down the line and that figure has dropped even more to just 21.5 shots per game.
There are also now just 2.2 goals a game, down from 2.7 pre-lockdown, but passing accuracy has improved, hinting that the lack of crowd interference is perhaps helping the players’ concentration.
And what about the FA Cup?
While home advantage has increased significantly to 42 per cent in the last seven days, this weekend’s FA Cup matches saw the exact opposite – with 100 per cent of wins coming away from home.
Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea booked their place in the last four of the competition, all securing their victories on the road.
Of course, it could be argued that the statistic is skewed slightly by the luck of the draw, with Norwich, Newcastle, Sheffield United and Leicester perhaps expected to lose against stronger opposition regardless of location.
The weekend’s FA Cup matches were significantly more exciting than the Premier League
In terms of shots in the FA Cup weekend just gone, there were an average of 27.5 shots a game, up considerably on the Premier League action before it.
Manchester United contributed significantly to that number, firing in 35 shots alone in their extra-time victory over Norwich on Saturday evening.
In terms of passing, numbers were also up on the Premier League, with an average of 965.3 passes per game across the four FA Cup ties at the weekend.
Seven of the nine goals scored across the four matches came after the half-time break
Manchester United completed a remarkable 791 against Norwich, although they had 120 minutes to complete them compared with the 90 all Premier League sides have in a game without extra time.
Interestingly, there was still a lack of first-half goals in the FA Cup, much like the Premier League. Of the nine goals scored at the weekend, six came in the second half with just two in the first half – plus one right at the end of extra time.
That lends itself to the view that players are taking more time to settle into the games, with the majority of the action occurring late on.
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