Written by Mark Cohen.
(Four teams do have ten games left, but we’ll ignore them, especially Man City – Ed)
On the 16th August 1977, they found the King dead in his bathroom in Graceland, Memphis. On hearing of the news, Elvis’ longtime manager Colonel Tom Parker, without skipping a single beat, retorted: “This changes nothing.”
There are many at the Premier League who would love nothing more than to Tom Parker the last nine or so rounds of the season.
We’re only talking here about things from a football perspective mind, if you want information that is true and correct about Covid-19, go straight to (link for thread), probably one of the finest collection of good media around the virus on the entire web.
Right then – so from a footballing perspective, the Premier League will have everyone believe that from June 17 it’s business as usual. Sure there are no crowds, but these guys are professionals. As such, they’d expect a similar level of football seen before lockdown, with similar outcomes.
This probably won’t be the case.
Most fascinating first – looking at the Bundesliga, the goals scored per match, pre and post Covid are identical at the moment, suggesting, prima facie, it will be the case as nothing has changed!
But, look a little closer and it would seem that home advantage has been removed. An interesting article from two weeks back on Sky sports covering the first few rounds of the German league’s return shows a huge drop in home wins relative to normal: 18% from a usual 43%.
After this weekend’s subsequent fixtures, the percentages have remained a similar 22% to the usual 43%, with fully 51% of away matches being won! With there being just 4 draws in the last 18 matches, the draw percentage has dropped to around 30% from a high of 37% two weeks ago.
So although the goals per game remain the same, it appears the spread of them, from stronger team to weaker team has changed markedly – more on this later in the piece.
Now, this is through just 45 games, so should probably be considered cautiously as there could be multiple reasons for the precipitous drop in home efficacy.
Firstly, clubs have not played competitively for two to three months, so these first few rounds represent a similar position to the start of a new season. Teams are generally not at the same fitness level as each other in the beginning of the season, which is why results often seem randomised in those first few weeks as teams who are even 5% less fit than their well trained opponents can get a serious run around. Expect same in the Premier League and a few rounds will be needed for everybody’s fitness levels to revert to even keel.
The results in these first few rounds though, could have a profound impact on the table.
The rest of this article is for Subscribers only.