Let’s look at how Leicester City and Tottenham are battling it out for their first Premier League titles. There must be something that everyone has missed and there must be something they are doing better than everyone else (outside of winning more games). Leicester City are poised to win the title after escaping relegation last season. Tottenham have always been an outsider for the title but have never been close to ever winning it. What is different? Have Man City/Chelsea/Arsenal/Man United (The big 4) declined or have Tottenham and Leicester got something that the perennial title contenders do not have.
Using statistics, I will explore and compare stats from the Premier League and see where there is a huge difference because surely that must be where the difference between the sides lies, right?
Leicester City – How are they winning games?
This season the have always found a way to win games, home or away. The power of Leicester’s rise comes away from home. Leicester have found a way to win games away from home, this is something that is ALWAYS crucial to winning the title, Leicester have won 10 of their 16 away games this season. This has put them at an advantage over ever other title contender. A league best 34 points away from home has them at the top. How do the rest compare?
Away Points –
Tottenham – 29 points
Arsenal – 28 points
Man Utd – 22 points
Man City – 20 points
Chelsea – 19 points
The North London teams have done well away from home but the gap is created through the away record and that has been the difference in the title race. 38 points away was the amount that won the title for Chelsea last season as they cruised to the title. All the title contenders will be great at home but being great away is the difference between finishing in the top 4 and being the Champions.
Taking the lead –
Leicester in 8 of their 31 games have fallen behind. Like the other stats, that is the best in the Premier League. In those 8 games where they have fallen behind 1-0 they have only lost once. Leicester are rarely giving up the lead and if they do they always seem to find a way to come back and make sure they get something out of the game. They have what most football fans and experts would call ‘bouncebackability’. They rarely give up a lead when they get it and that has fuelled their rise. Having scored 25 goals where they take the lead they have conceded just 6 goals which led to an equaliser in the game. The only team that have similar stats in this department, as if you need to guess, is Tottenham.
It’s not really surprising that the teams that get the most points, score the most goals and don’t concede the lead are at the top of the table. It is something that your traditional big teams have struggled with. Man Utd have struggled with scoring goals. Man City have had trouble keeping goals out. Arsenal continue their trend of blowing it when it is in their hands and Chelsea, well, everything seemed to go wrong before Guus Hiddink has steadied things. So what do Tottenham and Leicester have that Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Man City don’t? The ability to win games away, the ability to not leak too many goals and score enough to win games and keep leads. It makes winning the title seem so simple.