The international break is over – hoorah! – and it’s back to the serious business of the Premier League this weekend with a rather eye-catching card of fixtures.
To help punters on their merry way, we’ve compiled some of the most revealing statistics of the 2017/18 campaign to date:
Shots & Goals
The only currency that matters in football. Who is most likely to blow their opponents away, and who is more likely to bore everybody into oblivion?
It will probably come as no surprise to learn that Manchester City lead the way with 22 goals in their se3ven games, and don’t forget two of those were against tricky opposition in Liverpool and Chelsea.
Their Mancunian rivals United are just back on 21, with Tottenham trailing behind with a still-decent, 2.00 per game tally of 14.
As you are most probably aware, the most flaccid attacking side in the Premier League is Crystal Palace, who are still to find the net in some 630 minutes of league football this term. Imagine the explosion of joy amongst the Selhurst Park faithful when they do finally score!
Next in the misfiring line are Swansea (three) and a tie between Bournemouth and Everton (four).
Shots on Target For/Against
We can assume that sides that weigh in with a large number of shots on target will, over the course of a long 38-game season, enjoy the most success.
So it’s no surprise to see the two Manchester sides occupy a pair of the top three spots, with Liverpool (48) sandwiched in-between City (50) and United (47). Why Jurgen Klopp’s side aren’t doing better in the league based on the shots on target data is explained in our Shot Efficiency section.
Remarkably, Crystal Palace aren’t the worst side in the Premier League as far as shots on target are concerned: they have recorded more (17) than Swansea (12) and only one less than Everton and Brighton (18)!
But the Eagles’ woes are summed up by their shots on target against data, which shows they have yielded a whopping 44 in just seven games. Almost as bad defensively are Leicester (38) and Swansea (37).
The best teams at preventing shots on target at their goal are Manchester City (13), Tottenham (14) and Manchester United (19).
Of course, firing in a lorry-load of shots on target is only worth something if a high percentage of those are finding the back of the net. This is where Liverpool are struggling, as only 27% of their shots on target actually result in goals – compare and contrast that to the two Manchester clubs (both 44%). On such fine margins can success and failure lie.
Who are the most efficient attacking side in the Premier League? Can we shock you: it’s Watford, with 50% of their shots on target resulting in goals scored. Marco Silva’s men are certainly ones to watch this term.
The most inefficient attacking force in the Premier League, by default, is Crystal Palace, because 0% of their shots on target have ended up in the back of the net!
Otherwise, the most inefficient outfits are Newcastle (18.92%), Bournemouth (21.05%) and Huddersfield (21.74%).
Fouls & Cards
If you had to have a guess as to who the dirtiest team in the Premier League is, who would you go for?
If you said West Brom, courtesy of the Tony Pulis effect, then you’d almost be right: they are second with 84 fouls committed (12.00 per game).
It’s actually Antonio Conte’s Chelsea that occupy the top spot with 90 fouls committed (12.86 per game), and Everton in third with 83 (11.86 per game).
But the Blues are clearly smart with their fouls – perhaps where on the pitch they commit them, or the manner of the infringement – as they only sit eighth in the Total Cards table.
West Ham have picked up more cards than any other team, with 16 yellows and one red at a rate of 2.29 cautions per game. They best Crystal Palace (15 yellows) as the most cautioned side in the division, and interestingly the Hammers are the most fouled team in the top flight by quite some margin. They have been infringed on 116 occasions – 15 more than the next side (Bournemouth). Perhaps their players would be better served by not retaliating.
Are the big teams favoured by referees? Perhaps, as Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham sit second, third and fourth in a table which shows the number of cards shown to their opposition in matches this term. But then, the top team is Swansea, who have witnessed 17 cards shown to their over-exuberant opponents.
Does the league table lie? Over the course of 38 games, you’d like to think not. But in the early stages of the campaign it can, to some extent, so punters are advised to use current form as a better guide – as recent as possible, in fact.
Here’s how the Premier League form table shapes up for the last three rounds of matches: