Going into their game with QPR, Manchester City have averaged over three goals per game at the Etihad against bottom half opposition. Roberto Mancini’s side also know should they beat the Londoners, they’ll end the season as the most in-form team in the division which is perhaps apt as they look to be crowned Champions.
As far as their away form goes, it’s been all change for Manchester United this season. They’ve gone from having the fifth best away record to having the best in the division, something United are assured of regardless of Sunday’s result. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have also only conceded three goals in their nine away games against bottom half teams – a record which might daunt Sunderland ahead of Sunday.
Games involving Arsenal on the road have produced the second most goals in the division. The Gunners though are the most in-form away side in the league, winning four of their last six games. If they can continue this form at West Brom, they’ll retain their place in the Champions League.
Harry Redknapp’s side have the chance this weekend to finish above Arsenal, if the Gunners drop points at West Brom and Spurs beat Fulham. Previous encounters suggest the latter will happen – Spurs haven’t lost a home game against a fellow London club since they lost to Arsenal in September 2007. What’s more the North Londoners have the third best home record this season.
Of late, with the help of Papiss Demba Cissé, the Toon have won seven of their last nine league games. However, Newcastle haven’t done the double over a top half team since they beat the side above them, Spurs, in 2006-2007. If they’re to have a chance of Champions League qualification, then this record will have to change against Everton.
It’s been an odd season at Stamford Bridge. The Blues will finish outside the top four for the first time since 2001-2002. This coincides with the last time all three promoted sides survived in the Premier League – something which is on course to happen. If Roberto Di Matteo’s team suffer defeat to relegated Blackburn, then it’ll mean Chelsea have lost five home games for the first time since 1996.
The Merseysiders have done well in the second half of the season which is shown in the fact they’ve only lost two of their last 17 games in the Premier League. However, in terms of the amount of goals their games produce, Everton have been the third worst in the division. It’s something David Moyes won’t care about should the Toffees continue to hold their position above Liverpool. After all, they have the third best defence in the league, something they share with their rivals.
Whilst the Reds may have a good defence throughout the, Kenny Dalglish’s side have only kept one clean sheet in their last nine. Their poor home form this season has been well highlighted with Liverpool winning just two Premier League games at Anfield in 2012. The Reds will be desperate to climb into 7th this weekend; otherwise it will be their lowest league flight finish in 18 years.
It’s been a fruitful season for the Cottagers, remaining unbeaten against Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea in the Premier League. Their away form is usually deplorable but under Martin Jol, Fulham have recorded their most league away wins since 2005. For a show of how bad it’s been in recent years, the total of four for this campaign equals the amount earned in the previous two seasons.
West Bromwich Albion
Roy Hodgson may be departing the Hawthorns this summer but he’s led the Baggies to new heights in the Premier League. West Brom have gained the most points away from home outside the top five. It’s also the club’s most wins on the road since 1979. Most importantly though, the West Midlands side survival means they’ll be spending more than two consecutive seasons in the top flight for the first time since the 1980s.
The Mackems have fallen a little bit flat recently after the initial boost under Martin O’Neill. They haven’t won in their last seven and have only scored three in their last six games. However, should Sunderland upset the odds and beat Manchester United, it’ll be the Black Cats best points tally in the Premier League since 2001.
The Swans have been an excellent addition to the Premier League this season. Lately their high defensive standards have dipped, letting in 17 in their last eight. They have also appeared slightly more fragile in 2012 – Brendan Rodgers side have not won in the last nine league games where the opposition has scored. That said, having achieved survival, their lapse in form is understandable.
When the Canaries were last relegated from the Premier League, their away form was rightly criticised with Nigel Worthington’s side failing to win a game on the road. However, they’ve chalked up five with Paul Lambert although they managed to not keep a clean sheet away from Carrow Road. In Grant Holt though, they have the second highest scoring Englishman in the division, after Wayne Rooney – not bad for a striker playing in League Two in 2009.
The Potters forwards have somewhat misfired with Stoke City holding the worst attacking record in the division (34 goals). However, they have played in the Europa League which looks to have taken a lot out of the squad. What’s more Tony Pulis can be proud of how Stoke have only lost to one top six side at home, that being Newcastle. However, his side are on their longest run without a clean sheet since they arrived in the Premier League in 2008 (10 games).
So why have Villa fans been quite so irate with Alex McCleish this season? Look on the bright side – they haven’t suffered an away defeat to a club outside the division’s top five. However, one stat puts it into perspective. If they fail to beat Norwich, this season will be their lowest tally of wins in a league season since 1891. Ouch.
The Latics have perked up in the last few months as they mounted another relegation escape. This included their first ever league wins at Arsenal and Liverpool – an achievement which cannot be underestimated. On the other hand, they need to beat Wolves on Sunday if they’re to avoid recording their lowest number of home wins in the Premier League.
Queens Park Rangers form has been schizophrenic to say the least. Whilst they’ve done exceedingly well to win their last five home games, their away form means Mark Hughes’s team are on the cusp of relegation. On the road, QPR have lost 10 of their last 12 away games in the Premier League. Add to this the second worst defence in the division away from home and Sunday looks like it could be a nervy one for Hoops fans.
It’s one of football’s cruel ironies that in the season where all three promoted sides might survive for the first time in ten years, two of the last teams to do it are in the relegation zone going into the final day (Bolton and Blackburn). For Owen Coyle, it’s been a dismal season at the Reebok, with the Trotters having their worst home record in the Premier League tenure. What will give fans confidence for Sunday’s encounter at Stoke is that Bolton have had their best away record in the league since 2006-2007 – they’ll need to extend it to survive another season too.
It’s no wonder Steve Kean and Venky’s are unpopular looking at Rovers statistics this season. Should they suffer defeat at Stamford Bridge at the weekend, it will ensure their worst away record in the Premier League. What’s more, they have been poor at Ewood Park losing 12 home games. The last time they lost that amount was in 1966, when they were actually defeated on 14 occasions. It’s no real surprise then that Blackburn are entering the second tier of English football for the first time since 2001.
Support Wolves? Look away now – in their last 23 league games, the Black Country club have won just once. They have statistically the worst defence in the division despite Wayne Hennessey, who’s missed the last three games, making the most saves in the Premier League (167). It won’t fill fans with confidence that new manager Stale Solbakken’s Cologne finished up with the worst defence in the Bundesliga this season. Before Wolves look to next season though, they play Wigan on Sunday. Unless they win on Sunday, it will be their worst points total in a league season since 1906 – the less said, the better.
Hopefully, the season will produce an entertaining climax on Sunday and judging by the way the rest of the 2011-2012 season has been, it would be surprising if it wasn’t!
Article originally written at Gone With The Rhind
All statistics researched by GWTR – Source: Statto.com
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