The 2019/20 Premier League season was unprecedented in both length and deed, lasting for nearly a whole year and delivering Liverpool a maiden PL-era championship. Correspondingly, the Premier League’s 28th edition produced some truly surprising stats.
4th placed Chelsea conceded the same goals tally as 15th placed Brighton
Frank Lampard’s first season as Chelsea boss can go down as a reasonable success, particularly in the context of the transfer ban that dogged them last summer.
The Blues are once again in the Champions League, with the arrivals of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech expected to restore their status as genuine title contenders in 2020/21, as will be reflected in pre-season soccer betting outrights for the upcoming PL campaign.
Nonetheless, the defence has been left with a lot of soul searching to do, with 54 goals against equating to 1.42 goals conceded per game. Away from home, Chelsea notably recorded just one clean sheet across the entire campaign – two fewer awayday shutouts than bottom-placed Norwich!
Five teams below Chelsea lost fewer home games than them
Chelsea’s woes do not end with the backline, and alarms have also been rightly raised over the club’s home form.
Back in the 2000s, during Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea heyday, Stamford Bridge was a fortress considered impregnable. Notably, the Blues once went 86 home games unbeaten between 2004 and 2008, but those days are a distant memory.
Bournemouth, West Ham and Southampton memorably left Stamford Bridge with three points and a clean sheet apiece back in the winter. The other two winning visitors were Liverpool and Manchester United, with whom Chelsea should theoretically be on equal terms.
That return of five home defeats also equalled the tally sustained by Chelsea in 2015/16, when the Blues finished tenth, for the club’s worst finish in two decades.
6th placed Tottenham won as many away games as relegated Bournemouth.
Speaking of underachieving London clubs, Tottenham also take an unwanted spotlight, after recording their lowest points tally since the 2008/09 campaign. If that is not surprising enough, then the fact that they travelled as well as a relegated club certainly is.
Perhaps most alarming is the speed at which Tottenham have slipped down the ‘away table’ over the past two years.
At the start of 2018, Tottenham were the kings of the road, taking 18 away points from a possible 24 between 23 December 2017 and 7 April 2018. They did so through a rigorous counter-attacking setup designed to stretch host teams who were duty-bound to attack.
Sadly for the Lilywhites, similar devastation was not forthcoming in the 2019/20 away campaign.
Amongst Tottenham’s most chastening results away from home included a 3-1 drubbing at an empty Bramall Lane, preceded by goalless defeats at Southampton and Brighton, the latter of which ended a humiliating 3-0, with a relatively unknown rookie Seagull named Aaron Connolly scoring a brace.
Tim Krul pulled off the second-highest number of saves across the season.
Natural logic leads many people to assume that a relatively low tally in the ‘goals against’ column equates to a fantastic shot stopper in the nets. However, that is not necessarily true.
After a one-sided finale against Liverpool, Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka had the accolade of pulling off the highest number of saves, as recognised by the official FPL game. Yet, despite his heroics, the Magpies ended 2019/20 with the second-worst goal difference amongst surviving bottom-half teams.
In second place, surprisingly, was Tim Krul – even though basement club Norwich City ended the campaign with a goal difference of -49, and 75 goals conceded.
Man City attained the highest aggregate PL win over a single team.
It is well-known that Watford are a repeat victim of Manchester City’s savage attacking ways.
Successive home defeats by 5+ goals without reply back in 2017, alongside the biggest FA Cup final landslide of post-war times last May, and an 8-0 thrashing at the Etihad Stadium back in September, stand as most prominent in that regard.
While the 4-0 victory City attained at Vicarage Road in July might have been comparatively gentle, it still brought the aggregate H2H scoreline for last season to 12-0. That was enough to beat the existing PL record of 12-1, as set by Blackburn (vs Nottingham Forest) back in 1995/96.
City’s feat also represents a new Premier League record for a clean-sheet aggregate win, breaking the one set by Liverpool back in 2001/02, when the Reds thrashed relegation-bound Ipswich 11-0 over two very mismatched encounters.
Sheffield United lost as many home games after a level half-time score as Norwich.
If ever there was a byword for disciplined defending and great persistence in the face of a small budget, it is Sheffield United.
Regardless of the opposition, the Blades’ plan was always to contain initially and then strike efficiently. That covers much of the fact that they were level at half-time in 11 of 19 home games. However, they ended up losing on four such occasions (36.36% of the time), implying that it is far from a bulletproof strategy.
This statistic is made all the more shocking by their home form, as it stood prior to the 1-0 defeat against Everton on 20 July.
Immediately prior to that loss, a 3-0 win over Chelsea had marked their first completion of a six-game unbeaten home run in the Premier League since the spring of 1994. Across the five wins in that six-game sequence, Sheffield had averaged exactly two goals per match.
Wolves won more games after losing at HT than the bottom nine combined.
In addition to seeing one of their own (Conor Coady) lose the lowest average of aerial duels amongst centre-backs, Wolves won a league-high four times after trailing at the break. Impressively, three of those four victories came on the road, fully illustrating Wolves’ fearless nature under Nuno Espirito Santo.
Also significant is the fact that the first three of those comeback wins were concentrated inside a four-week period spanning December to January.
Furthermore, two of those four wins came against Manchester City and Tottenham – two of six teams considered amongst something of an ‘elite’ division within the top flight.