Saturday Soccer Stats

17/10/2015 | By | Reply More

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Editorial notes: –

A couple of interesting bits this week, the match preview of Spurs vs Liverpool (I do wonder whether we will see the new manager effect come to the fore here) and some interesting analysis on the defence of the title by Chelsea.

Spurs v Liverpool, Sat 12:45

A draw in the derby wasn’t enough to save Brendan Rodgers’ job as the Liverpool board took decisive action after a start that sees them sitting 10th but having scored more than once in only one of their last 11 games dating back to the tail-end of last season. In contrast, Spurs are unbeaten in seven matches since an opening day defeat at Old Trafford and with Christian Eriksen back fit they look increasingly impressive.

The good news for Liverpool fans comes with a head-to-head record that shows they’ve won their last five matches against Spurs while scoring 18 times (at least three in every match). It’s hard to argue that will be too relevant here, however.

Spurs have won 10 of their last 17 home games with just two defeats and given Liverpool’s recent away record – which has been poor for several years – of one win in nine with four defeats, the home team looks to offer some value at 2.5. Furthermore, in the past two seasons Spurs’ home record against teams that finished 5th-10th is W5-D2-L3, which would suggest a price of closer to evens. Against that is Liverpool’s surprisingly impressive away record against the same teams of W7-D2-L2, though post-Luis Suarez the stats were W3-D0-L2 last term.

Liverpool’s lack of goals has already been mentioned and, while we would expect that to improve with Daniel Sturridge back in the fold and Christian Benteke returning from injury, the problem is particularly acute on the road, where they’ve scored just 13 times in their last 16 matches. However, despite these scoring troubles six of their nine trips to top-half finishers last term had at least three goals as they were usually good for scoring once while the defence wasn’t convincing. Furthermore, we’ve not yet mentioned Jurgen Klopp, and one thing his matches in charges of Dortmund were never lacking for was goals. This was particularly true on the road, as in his last three seasons Dortmund’s 51 away games averaged 3.33 goals per game and 71% saw both teams score. In line with this nine of Spurs’ last 19 wins have been by 2-1 scores, which is a tempting 10.5 shot, while 14 have been despite conceding.

Spurs’ improvements in their past couple of games can be put down to the return of Eriksen; in his 64 starts Spurs average 1.61 goals per game while the 18 matches he’s missed since joining the club have seen the Lilywhites hit the net just 19 times (1.06 gpg). That difference is even more pronounced at home and his combination with Harry Kane should see them have a great chance of scoring at least twice. Kane and Eriksen have started37 games together and 27 (73%) have had at least three goals while Spurs have scored at least twice in 13 of the 18 home games in this sample.

Are Premier League Champions Resting on their Laurels?

Whilst Bayern and PSG continue to dominate and exerted their authority over their ‘rivals’ Dortmund and Marseille respectively in their most recent league games, last season’s Champions in Europe’s other three ‘Big Leagues’, Barcelona, Juventus, and Chelsea  have all had their struggles at the start of the season. Chelsea’s demise has undoubtedly been the most spectacular and assuming they don’t do something truly miraculous, with even Mourinho admitting after the Southampton defeat that the top-four is the best they can hope for now, then no Premier League side will have managed to successfully defend the title since Man United enjoyed a third consecutive success in 2008/09. In this way, Chelsea’s struggles may be part of a wider problem faced by all Premier League champions in recent years.

What stands out amongst recent winners of the Premier League is their relative complacency in the transfer market, with the champions seemingly believing that what they had last season is enough to get the job done again, while their rivals have strengthened significantly. Below is a table looking at the net-transfer window spend of the last six Premier League winners in the summer following their title success, as well as the spending of the last five league winners in the summer preceding their triumph.

Season Winner Summer Transfer Spending (£m) Summer Transfer Sales (£m) Net Summer Transfer (£m) Following Season Following Season Champions Champions Transfer Spend
2014/15 Chelsea 57.47 41.36 16.11      
2013/14 Man City 45.85 23.64 22.21 2 Chelsea 74.69
2012/13 Man Utd 23.26 1.26 22 7 Man City 81.2
2011/12 Man City 43.37 31.01 12.36 2 Man Utd 45.29
2010/11 Man Utd 40.11 10.91 29.2 2 Man City 67.24
2009/10 Chelsea 26.6 11.55 15.05 2 Man Utd 20.51

All transfer figures taken from

There are a number of interesting points to make about this data, the most obvious of which is that since 2010/11, the Premier League champions have been outspent in the summer transfer window by the side that went on to win the league the following season. Indeed, none of the last six champions have spent more than £60m while none have had a net spend of more than £30m. Conversely, the average spend in the transfer window of the last five champions in the summer prior to their title win is £57.79m and current league leaders City, who are now odds on to win the title this season, spent an eye-watering £142.36m in the summer.

Below is a list of players that have been signed by the last six Premier League champions for at least £5m in the summer window following their title success along with their age and transfer fee. Players that are currently regular starters for their clubs are highlighted in green while those in red have all since been sold and all these players are sorted by their fee.

Season Club Player Age Fee (£m)
2014/15 Man City Eliaquim Mangala 23 28
2013/14 Man Utd Marouane Fellaini 25 22.7
2015/16 Chelsea Pedro 28 18.9
2010/11 Chelsea Ramires 23 15.4
2012/13 Man City Javi Garcia 25 14.1
2015/16 Chelsea Baba Rahman 21 14
2011/12 Man Utd David de Gea 20 14
2011/12 Man Utd Phil Jones 19 13.5
2011/12 Man Utd Ashley Young 25 12.6
2012/13 Man City Matija Nastasic 19 10.7
2014/15 Man City Fernando 26 10.5
2012/13 Man City Jack Rodwell 21 10.5
2015/16 Chelsea Asmir Begovic 28 7.7
2015/16 Chelsea Kenedy 19 5.6
2014/15 Man City Willy Caballero 32 5.6
2012/13 Man City Scott Sinclair 23 5.5
    Average 23.6 13.1

All transfer figures taken from

Of these 16 players, only three are currently regular starters for their clubs and indeed more players have already been sold on than are first team regulars, interestingly all from Man City. The average age of these players is just 23.6 with recent Premier League champions mainly looking towards the future. Conversely, after falling short of their Manchester rivals by 11 points in 2012/13, City signed the already established Fernandinho, Negredo, Navas, Demichelis, and to a lesser extent Jovetic and promptly went on to win the league. The signings of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas had a similar effect for Chelsea last season.

With rumours that Gareth Bale would be available for transfer over the summer, Gary Neville on MNF at the end of last season suggested that if Chelsea were able to capture the Welshman then they’d be hard to beat for the next few seasons and though the availability of top players in the transfer market is an issue, there seems a reluctance amongst English clubs to really push on when they’ve won the league and dominate for the next few seasons. It’s perhaps for this reason that English sides are struggling in Europe with the likes of Chelsea, City, and United all beating each other in recent times and failing to exert dominance for an extended period of time.

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I left a good job in the consumer technology industry to go a trade on Betfair for a living way back in June 2000. I've been here ever since pushing very boundaries of what's possible on betting exchanges and loved every minute of it.

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