New Year Resolutions & Key Stats For Every Premier League Team
Few could have predicted the impact of the coronavirus at the beginning of 2020 but, as we look forward to the New Year, football bettors now have a greater understanding of how to forecast a game in the Covid-19 era.
That is to say, expect the unexpected. A star striker can be struck down with the virus on the eve of a big game, or the last leg of your accumulator could be postponed just hours before kick-off.
Betting on football in 2021 will be all about adapting to the setbacks and surprises that come with Covid-19 and how elite sport is played out for the remainder of the pandemic, but there are at least some hard statistics on each Premier League team for punters to get wise to.
Here, we’ve pinpointed strengths and weaknesses of each of the 20 Premier League teams, including stats which sum up their season to date and a resolution to their problems as they look ahead to 2021. Select your team or your favourite to bet on via the links below.
Manager Mikel Arteta will have mixed feelings about 2020. There were notable highs like winning the FA Cup and Community Shield but the feelgood factor those successes brought, has been replaced with a bitter taste after the worst league start in the club's history. Back-to-back wins over Chelsea and Brighton however, have raised spirits at the Emirates.
Key Stat: Arsenal have held a half-time lead just twice in the Premier League so far this season, the same number as West Brom and Newcastle
Resolution: First half performances need to be better in 2021 if Arsenal are to achieve anything this season. Since the start of last season, Arsenal have led at half-time in just 16 of their 54 games played which is not good enough for a side hoping to challenge for a title.
Villa manager Dean Smith will be delighted to start 2021 fifth in the Premier League table. Their secret has been keeping clean sheets. Smith signed Emiliano Martinez from Arsenal in the off-season and Martinez has repaid the faith in Smith with eight shutouts which is the most in the league so far this season. Scoring first and denying their opponents a way back into those games has been vital to their progress.
Key Stat: Villa are the only team not to have conceded an equaliser in their 14 games. For context, champions Liverpool have conceded nine equalisers.
Resolution: Villa's second half performances have been joint best with Liverpool this season and if they could improve their first half performances which is ranked eighth, then they might achieve their best finish since finishing fourth at the end of the 1995/96 season.
Graham Potter's wish for 2021 will be to win home games. The Seagulls have only won twice this season and both of those victories have come away from home at Newcastle and at Aston Villa. Potter won't have to wait long for a chance to end their home drought with Wolves visiting the Amex Stadium on Saturday.
Key Stat: This season, Brighton have drawn the most games in the Premier League with seven stalemates
Resolution: If they are to avoid relegation, they are going to have to turn more draws into wins. Three of those seven draws have come after they have fallen behind.
For the last several months, Burnley have been subject to a takeover and if any club deserves a financial boost, it's the Turf Moor side. That takeover by ALK was completed in time for the opening of the January transfer window. Sean Dyche was the only manager not able to add to his squad in the summer transfer window which is probably why they started the season so slowly with just one win from their first 10 games. One area Dyche will want to strengthen is his attacking options. Chris Wood is the club's leading scorer with three goals but where will the goals come from if the New Zealand international gets injured?
Key Stat: Burnley are one of two sides yet to earn a point after conceding the opening goal which they have done six times.
Resolution: Now that the takeover has been completed, Burnley fans can expect to see new signings that they hope will see their team play with more freedom to score more goals.
The problem with investing £230m in strengthening the playing squad is it leaves the manager wondering what his best team is. That seems to be the case with Frank Lampard. Olivier Giroud was seen as a fringe player at the start of the season as Timo Werner and Kai Havertz made Stamford Bridge their new home. But Giroud's form has been one of the few highlights in recent weeks. Chelsea have used 27 players which is the most in the league and Lampard will hope to find out quickly what his best side is as they look to rediscover a way to win away matches.
Key Stat: Late goals have saved the Blues on a number of occasions this campaign with 16 (51.6%) of their 31 goals scored coming in the final 30 minutes.
Resolution: Chelsea ended the year by losing their last three games on the road. If they are to remain in the mix for the title, their away form has to improve.
With games coming thick and fast, Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has not had much time on the training ground to work on sorting out the defensive side of their game. It’s an area of their game that really needs addressing. Everything looked good on the opening day of the season as Palace kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Southampton but have failed to keep one since. Another area that needs attention is their struggles to overcome half-time deficits. Palace have trailed six times at the intervals and managed to claim just one point from those games.
Key Stat: The Eagles have failed to keep their opponents scoreless in their last 15 league games.
Resolution: Score first more often. When they do score first like they did on the opening day, Palace are difficult to beat. In the eight games they have scored first, they have gone on to win five times and drew the other three.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side can start 2021 by doing something they haven’t done since April 2014. Victory over West Ham will see them win a fifth successive league game. In three of their last four wins, the Toffees defence has not been breached. The Toffees have scored the most goals at the end of first halves with four goals scored in the 45th minute or added time.
Key Stat: Everton have more wins by a one-goal margin (6) than any other side in the Premier League
Resolution: To match or better their highest league finish since finishing fourth in the 2004/05 campaign, a seemingly feasible aim at this stage.
If Scott Parker gets his New Year wish, Fulham will find a way to start games faster as they’re the only side yet to score within the first 10 minutes of a Premier League match this season. After starting the season with eight defeats from their first 11 games, Parker has done well to make his team difficult to beat. Their last four fixtures have ended all square and Parker's task in 2021 is to turn those draws into wins and if he can do that, survival could be within their grasp.
Key Stat: In the first 10 minutes of matches, Fulham have been outscored 6-0 which has left them with an uphill battle to rescue anything from those contests.
Resolution: A key issue that needs addressing is Fulham’s clumsy defending in the penalty box. The last three goals they’ve conceded have come from the penalty spot.
It would be pointless telling Marcelo Bielsa to change anything about the way his team plays as he has worked so hard getting his players to buy into his football philosophy. Leeds unveiled their high-tempo, pressing style of play in their opening day defeat at Liverpool and they haven't changed. The Elland Road side has been fun to watch with a total of 60 goals scored at an average of 3.75 goals per game with Leeds scoring 30 of them. Five of Leeds' last six wins have come without their opponents penetrating their defence.
Key Stat: Tuesday's 5-0 win at West Brom was the seventh game in 16 this season in which five or more total goals were scored.
Resolution: Bielsa might want to take some time to explain the offside rule to his players who have been flagged 39 times so far which is the most in the Premier League.
In 2021, Leicester will hope to continue the solid start they have made this season. They have not dropped any points this campaign in which they have scored the first goal, opening the scoring seven times and taking all 21 points on offer each time. The Foxes’ stunned the football world in 2016 by winning the league at 5,000/1 – one of the biggest upsets in sporting history – and their home form was instrumental in that achievement with just one defeat all season. Already this season, four of their five losses have been at the King Power Stadium and that home form needs improving.
Key Stat: Of the 29 goals Leicester have scored, eight (27.6%) have come in the way of spot kicks.
Resolution: They cannot continue to rely on getting their goals from penalties. Six of those eight converted have been scored by Jamie Vardy while Youri Tielemanns has converted the other two, but Brendan Rodgers must devise more routes to goal.
Liverpool start the new year top of the table with a three-point lead. However, their 33 points total is the lowest return after 16 games in their last three campaigns. Manager Jurgen Klopp insists being top of the league table 'doesn't mean anything' at this stage of the season, but other managers would love to be in his position. Liverpool's title defence remains on course despite losing influential defender Virgil van Dijk in the first Merseyside derby which ended 2-2.
Key Stat: The nine equalisers the Reds have conceded is the most in the league after conceding just six throughout their title-winning campaign.
Resolution: Liverpool have struggled to keep clean sheets with just four in their last 11 games and should look for a more experienced centre-half to come in even as a short-term solution given the injuries to van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
It might seem harsh to criticise a team that has conceded the first goal the fewest number of times this season (three) and that has kept five clean sheets in their last six league games. But a closer look at City's performances this season suggests they could do with scoring more late goals – Pep Guardiola’s side have not managed to score a goal in the 70th minute or later in their last 12 matches. City will start the New Year seven points behind leaders Liverpool but have games in hand which can bring them back into the frame. However, Sergio Aguero – whose season has been interrupted by injuries – has yet to score while Gabriel Jesus’ last league goal came on November 8.
Key Stat: Only Arsenal (1) have scored fewer goals in the final 20 minutes of a Premier League game than Man City (2).
Resolution: City must get key strikers Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus fit and keep them fit if they’re to rediscover the killer instinct which has made them so clinical in recent seasons.
At the height of the club's most successful period in their history under Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United benefitted from crucial late goals. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – the player – scored his fair share of them and now Solskjaer – the manager – is benefitting from late goals. United began the season picking up one point from their first four home games and victory over Wolves meant they have taken 10 points from a possible 12 in their last four league matches at Old Trafford.
Key Stat: Marcus Rashford's winner against Wolves on Tuesday night was the fourth time United won a game in the 86th minute or later this season.
Resolution: If United could replicate their away form at home, they would be top of the table. Of the 30 points they have won, 19 have come on the road. Only Leicester can match that tally away from home.
Although consistently one of the favourites in the sack race, Steve Bruce ended 2020 on a high by stopping Liverpool from scoring for the first time in 22 league games. A 0-0 draw gives the Magpies plenty of hope going into the New Year, but there is still a lot for Bruce to work on. Newcastle need more goals from the rest of their squad. Callum Wilson has scored 47 per cent of their goals and only Jeff Hendrick has more than one goal.
Key Stat: Only West Brom (132) have taken on fewer shots than Newcastle (135) this season.
Resolution: Bruce needs to get his players to be more adventurous and back themselves to shoot more.
Oh boy, where do you begin with winless Sheffield United? Everything they have tried this season has not worked. They are 11 points from safety after their latest 1-0 defeat at Burnley which followed an all too familiar pattern for the Blades. It was the 14th defeat in 16 matches, seven of which have finished 1-0. Even when they score first, they have not been able to see those games out for a win. They have scored the opening goal four times and lost three and drawn the other.
Key Stat: 11 of their 14 defeats have been decided by a single goal and seven of those have been by a 1-0 scoreline.
Resolution: The sooner they register their first clean sheet of the season, the better. But it might be too late to save the Blades from relegation and Chris Wilder's job.
Southampton will want to start 2021 with a bang after ending 2020 with a whimper as their last two games ended goalless. Southampton start the New Year ninth in the table and their success this season has come when they score the first goal. Saints have opened the scoring 10 times this campaign which is the most in the league and they have taken 20 points from those matches.
Key Stat: Ralph Hasenhuttl's side have gone 342 minutes without a goal since Theo Walcott scored in a 1-1 draw at Arsenal on December 16.
Resolution: Last season, Saints relied on Danny Ings to score 43.1 per cent of their goals, but with just six goals so far this campaign, Southampton could do with finding a way for him to score more goals.
If the Premier League was based on first half performances, Tottenham would be on their way to becoming champions. Jose Mourinho's side have played their best football in the first half this season and their 30 points total at half-time is the most in the league. Sometimes half-time comes at a bad time as it can disrupt a team's flow and that seems to be the case with Spurs. Tottenham have only trailed at half-time once this season, but they have not scored a second half goal in their last six matches.
Key Stat: Spurs have failed to win 10 of the 15 second periods they have played.
Resolution: Mourinho must dig deep in order to rediscover the game management skills he was once famed for. We know it’s still in his armour, if Spurs’ 2-0 win over Manchester City in November is anything to go by.
Welcome back to managing in the Premier League, Sam Allardyce. The veteran manager pulled off a stunning 1-1 draw at Anfield to give fresh hope to the Baggies of staying up. However, they drew the short straw by having to play two days later at home to Leeds who beat them 5-0. The first of those goals came inside the opening 10 minutes which is quickly becoming an issue that Allardyce needs to work on. In five of the last six league games, West Brom have conceded a goal before the 12th minute. The Baggies have made life hard for themselves by leading the league in own goals scored (three) and red cards (three).
Key Stat: No team has trailed for more minutes than the Baggies who have been behind for 626 minutes (43.5%) this season.
Resolution: With three red cards to their name already this season, Big Sam will need to sort out West Brom’s disciplinary problems in order to give themselves a better chance of putting points on the board.
Consistency would be the one thing David Moyes would like for his West Ham side in the New Year. The Hammers looked set to be in contention for a top six finish after winning three successive games to end November, but December has been a difficult month with just one win from their six games played. January starts with a trip to Everton which won't be easy.
Key Stat: West Ham have hit the woodwork more times (10) than any other side in the Premier League.
Resolution: Some shooting practice in training wouldn’t go a miss, or David Moyes could dive into the January transfer market for a clinical finisher.
Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo was hailed as the next big thing last season as he guided his side to seventh in the table and the quarter-finals of the Europa League. Missing out on Europe this season was meant to pave the way for Wolves to challenge for the title, but that has not been the case so far this season.
Key Stat: Since the start of last season, 40 (66.6%) of their goals have come after half-time.
Resolution: Santo needs to figure out a way to get his side firing in the first half more. Wolves go into the New Year looking for their first game in which they have scored in both halves. They are the only team yet to do so.
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