It’s mostly unpopular, a bit of a nuisance that no-one really wants to fully engage with until there’s a real chance of getting some serious cash out of it. It’s like the ‘maintaining a friendship with Kanye West’ football tournaments.
We’ve looked back over the season to date to see how European football has impacted on the Premier League results of England’s remaining Europa League obligatory fixture-fulfillers. And although the sample size is smaller than Chelsea Football Club’s sense of irony, it still throws up some interesting results.
Those lines may not be the most compelling pieces of data you’ve ever encountered, but they tell a story that could inform how we think about Sunday’s matches. The snapshot shows us that this season, Liverpool have been much worse after European assignments, Everton slightly better and Tottenham a teeny tiny bit worse, but basically the same. As ever though, there are plenty of caveats, strings attached and the need for a spoonful of salt.
Tottenham kick-off Sunday’s action with a Laaaaannnndaaaaaaannnn Derby against West Ham, innit? Their league results after European football this year have been slightly down on their general win rate. In summary, the White Hart Laners:
- have a 50% win rate after European games versus a 53% win rate not after European games.
- that translates into 1.5 points per game against their normal rate of 1.82.
- have been poor at home after European games, losing heavily to Liverpool and just losing to West Brom, Newcastle and Stoke.
With four wins and four defeats from those eight post-Europa League games, they’ve yet to have stalemate after the European distractions and if that sequence is to end, a derby against a confident Hammers team might be the occasion for it to happen.
Everton’s form actually improves after European football but it has to be remembered that their general form has been more questionable than letting Romelu Lukaku talk to the media unattended. In the case of the Toffees:
- Their win rate after European games is 33% compared to 21% normally
- They increase their points per game haul by 0.12 of a point (1.05 v 1.17)
- Most of that difference is due to a home win that (a) was played on a Monday and (b) was against QPR.
Yeah, the stats look good right until you read that QPR bit. Still though, they’re at home to Leicester who are bottom of the table despite playing some nice football. You’d expect them to win and possibly run the risk of a choke hold from Nigel Pearson.
Liverpool face a tricky test to St. Mary’s where Southampton probably still feel disgruntled and want revenge despite getting a lot more money for Lovren, Lallana and Lambert than they probably deserved. After European games this season, Brendan Rodgers’ men:
- claim an average of 1.16 points per game after European games versus 1.84 generally
- have won just 33% of their league matches following European games compared to a 52.6% win rate for league games not directly following a midweek European game
What needs to be considered is the fact their poor post-European record came during that sticky period when Daniel Sturridge was injured and the idea of giving Ian Rush a run out seemed like the REds’ most viable striking option. They are playing much better these days however. That positivity has to be balanced against the fact the Saints are good and didn’t have to feign an interest in the Europa League on Thursday. Despite the Reds recent upturn in form, Southampton look like worthy favourites.