Thursday 20 October 2011

Promoted Teams Play it Safe at Home.

Having watched sub Premiership football for over two decades courtesy of Stoke City,from a fans perspective I can say that the jump in class to the EPL would appear to be a mighty one.Everything appeared to happen much,much quicker,the skill levels naturally were higher and mistakes were usually punished ruthlessly.Even mid table perennials stood head and shoulders above the everyday fare Stoke faced in the Championship.So you can only imagine how the players must have felt.

The cliche goes that there are no easy points in the EPL,but newly promoted teams do have the relative sanctuary of facing their fellow promoted teams four times in their first season.So it would be interesting to know how the promoted teams approach these match ups.It's very likely that fellow newboys are finding life in the EPL similarly tough,the average finishing position for promoted teams in their first EPL season is in the bottom quarter.So the teams involved must view these games as both an opportunity to pick up points and conversely a "must not lose" situation.

I've therefore taken the results of all six games involving the newly promoted sides to the EPL since 2001.The average league position of both the home and away teams when the game was played was 15th,which confirms the struggles these teams faced.

Results of games involving the teams promoted to the EPL 2000-2011.

Home Goals.
Away Goals.
Home Wins. Draws. Away Wins.
1.28 1.10 38% 33% 28%

The first point to make is that home advantage is greatly depressed in these games.This is illustrated in the smaller than usual difference between the average goals scored by the home and away sides.Home advantage is historically worth about 4 tenths of a goal in the EPL,however,in these games it is worth just 0.18 of a goal.On average the league position of the home team when these games were played was 15th,as was the away team's,therefore the average goal difference is solely down to home advantage.Similarly depressed is home wins 45-46% is the typical EPL figure for home teams,but just 38% in this case.Draws are higher than expected,a typical game between two teams hovering around 15th place would end stalemated 27% of the time instead of 33%.

So from the figures it would seem that the home side recognising the importance of these games adopts an over cautious approach resulting in less home wins,more draws and less match goals overall.The away side performs about as expected,they score about as many goals as a typical side of their quality would expect to score against a similar class of opponent and they win as often as expected.....but for the home side at least,losing is not an option to contemplate and potential home wins are turned into draws..

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