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Stats Prove League Results Were BETTER After Euro Matches For Newcastle And Six Other Quarter-Finalists

8 years ago
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One of the primary reasons given for our faltering league form this season has been the extended – and I hasten to add, very exciting – run in the Europa league.

Pardew himself reaffirmed his disdain of the competition with his comments on Monday that he hoped “God willing” we would not qualify for next season’s competition via the Fair Play back door.

Legend has it that the Europa league holds a curse on those participating. League position tumbles, injuries mount and AirMiles rack up. It is irrefutable that Newcastle have picked up injuries in those additional games. Ryan Taylor in particular has been missed, both in terms of the cover option he offers and in terms of free kicks, crosses and corners. We’ve been crying out for some quality in these areas.

Less serious knocks to the likes of Ben Arfa have also ruled him out of league games. And the long trips to Russia on Thursday must take some kind of toll when returning to play the following Sunday – often when the opposition have had little to do all week.

Right?

It’s hard to quantify. I saw an attempt to so in a ProZone article whereby they used betting odds to determine whether or not the result following a Europa league was ‘as expected’. But how reliable are betting odds, after all they change depending on the amount of money placed on them so not immune to fans’ blind fervour.

One element that can be examined for comparison is how this cup run has affected the other Europa League quarter finalists.

Here I examine how playing a Europa league game affects the outcome of the following league game (I have ignored other cup or Champions League games – hence Chelsea’s seemingly low number). Interestingly, we find ourselves in strong company.

Basel – Sit top of the Swiss Super League with a few games to go and are into their domestic cup final.

Results of league match after Europa League game: W9 L2 D3 Win percentage: 64%

Results when not playing after Europa League: W9 L7 D2 Win percentage: 50%

Benfica – Have sat top of the Portuguese league most of the season but have slipped to second following a late loss – their first in the league this season  – to their second placed rivals Porto with one game remaining.

After Europa: W7 L0 D1 Win percentage: 88%

No Europa: W16 L1 D4 Win percentage: 76%

Chelsea – Sat third in the Premier League and looking good for a Champions League spot.

After Europa: W4 L1 D0 Win percentage: 80%

No Europa: W17 L6 D9 Win percentage: 53%

Fenerbahçe – Second in the Super Lig with first now unreachable. Champions League beckons for next season.

After Europa: W6 L2 D0 Win percentage: 75%

No Europa: W12 L3 D8 Win percentage: 52%

Lazio – Sit sixth in Serie A with fifth the highest possible finish. In domestic cup final.

After Europa: W6 L6 D2 Win percentage: 43%

No Europa: W12 L6 D5 Win percentage: 23%

Newcastle – Struggled with league form most of the season, though now guaranteed Premier League status for next season. No domestic cup runs.

After Europa: W5 L7 D1 Win percentage: 38%

No Europa: W6 L11 D7 Win percentage: 25%

Rubin – Sit fifth in the Russian Premier League, looking likely to qualify for Europa but Champions League out of their grasp.

After Europa: W4 L1 D4 Win percentage: %44

No Europa : W10 L8 D1 Win percentage: %53

Tottenham – Sitting fourth in the Premier league.

After Europa: W6 L4 D1 Win percentage: %55

No Europa: W14 L4 D8 Win percentage: %54

In all but Rubin’s case the chances of winning the league game immediately following a Europa League game are actually higher than for league games played without a Europa League game midweek.

The other teams that made the Europa league quarters are all having pretty good seasons. Newcastle are the exception in this group. These other teams have also been playing European football for many more recent seasons than Newcastle though, so perhaps that should be borne in mind.

Plus you can’t measure what impact losing players has had on the rest of the season; perhaps without the Europa League and a few less injuries we would have had more points in the league, it’s hard to tell.

Nevertheless, it would seem there is some evidence that playing after a midweek Europa League game is not all bad – in fact quite the opposite.

Your chances of winning are higher in all but one case, if you are one of the eight teams above. To put that into points, if Newcastle’s win, lose and draw ratio after Europa league games was translated to all our games we would be sitting on 45 points after 37 games – more than our current 41.

Perhaps we need to play more Europa League games, not less, though that is not likely happen again soon – “God willing”.

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