Premier League restart: Few clear-cut chances, Phil Foden and Paul Pogba shine

Home advantage dips after first 12 games; Clubs utilise five-sub rule; And all the trends we’ve spotted so far…

Last Updated: 23/06/20 10:03am

The Premier League is back with 12 games under its belt – but has three months of lockdown and empty stands affected teams?

Low expected goals but a high conversion rate

Matchday 30, which excludes the opening two games last week, produced the fewest expected goals this season and some of the lowest totals for shots and shots on target – suggesting creativity was somewhat rusty after the enforced break.

On the upside, teams still managed to buck the season-low 20 expected goals to actually score 25 – so there was no lack of clinical edge when an opportunity presented itself.

Home advantage?

Home advantage has been wiped out since the Bundesliga returned behind closed doors and Premier League results could be heading the same way with an 11.5 per cent dip in home wins since the restart – albeit from only 12 games.

The other benefit of home crowds is the potential influence over referee decisions – even in the age of VAR – such as winning free-kicks and penalties.

Three penalties were awarded during the 12 games: Manchester City won two penalties at home (against Arsenal and Burnley), while Manchester United were the only away team to win a spot kick.

But the lack of support hasn’t diminished decisions for hosts, with home teams winning 1.4 more fouls per game since the restart, while away teams averaged 0.8 more.

Which teams were fittest?

Burnley averaged more ground than any other club since the restart, covering 114km while being run ragged in the 5-0 defeat at Manchester City on Monday night – 5.5km more than their average before lockdown.

Five other teams recorded greater distances than their season average over the past week: Brighton, Aston Villa, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United.

But the remaining 14 teams covered below-par distances, with Bournemouth and Norwich having considerable dips – both suffering crushing defeats in the restart round.

In terms of sprints, it was a similar story as seven clubs recorded numbers above their pre-lockdown season averages: Southampton, Norwich, Brighton, Chelsea, Newcastle, Sheffield United and Leicester.

Those relentless bursts were key factors in wins for Newcastle and Brighton against 10-man opponents, while Southampton cruised closer to safety with a comfortable 3-0 win over rock-bottom Norwich.

The majority of clubs recorded declines, the most notable,…

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