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‘How’s the possession did you say?’ – All 20 Premier League clubs so far in 2020/21

9 months ago

The Premier League clubs are now close to the halfway point.

A season like no other due to the impact of the virus but one that has allowed people to watch more matches live than any other.

Fans able to see all of their own team’s matches live, plus all of the other 19 Premier League clubs if they so choose.

On the up side, we have seen most clubs play attacking football, to varying degrees, only a minimal number of them choosing to set up negatively week after week.

Going into this weekend’s FA Cup matches followed by midweek Premier League games, this is how the Premier League currently looks:

What part does possession play in deciding where clubs are in the table?

Obviously other factors come into play as possession alone doesn’t guarantee anything – but how good is possession as a general indicator of where to expect to find your club in the league table?

The possession stats for all 20 Premier League clubs so far, with home and away matches average possession, then an overall average possession stat for all of a club’s games (stats table below via transfermarkt):


To paraphrase Steve Bruce…’How’s the possession did you say?’

Well, it is pretty shocking Steve.

Turns out possession, is in general terms, a pretty good indicator of where your club tends to end up in the Premier League.

Seven of the bottom eight in the current Premier League table are all amongst the nine clubs with the lowest possession stats, the exception Brighton with 53.6% possession.

Whilst of the top nine in the Premier League, only one is not in the top 11 for possession. That exception is Spurs with 47.8%, the 13th highest for possession.

Tottenham are the proverbial exception to the rule and very different to vast majority of the clubs with low / lower possession. They have a manager in Mourinho who is famed for his tactical nous, often more negative than his contemporaries, he has a very clearly defined set up of a very decent defence with then a team primed to counter-attack with pace and skill, that then has two world class strikers to take advantage of the extra space that often appears when able to break efficiently.

In direct contrast, you have Newcastle United under Steve Bruce.

The clueless pundits and journalists who blindly defend Bruce, repeatedly refer to Newcastle as a counter-attacking team. Something which is not true.

Under this Head Coach, NUFC are simply a team set up to be very very defensive and with absolutely no counter-attacking plan. Apart from giving ASM the ball when fit and hoping he does something. Goals are very rare for Newcastle from counter-attacking, instead relying on the big boot up the pitch and also trying to get set-pieces close enough to put the ball into the box. That is the plan, if you can call it one.

Having even less possession that hopeless bottom pair Sheffield United and West Brom is most definitely not the basis of a decent football style or plan.

As well as the desperate possession stats, Newcastle create desperately few chances and in the majority of games have no more than two efforts on target.

Having inherited the seventh tightest defence, only six Premier League clubs conceding less goals than Rafa’s team in both 2017/18 and 2018/19, Newcastle now have the sixth worst when it comes to conceding goals.

This above is a sure fire way to eventual disaster, only the old Steve Bruce luck and a superb Karl Darlow and a right place right time Callum Wilson (eight goals from only 22 shots) have kept Newcastle out of the relegation places, so far.

Steve Bruce claims the excuse that it takes time to change things, you can’t do it ‘overnight’, after 18 months now just how long does he need to get more possession and attacking threat than West Brom and the rest?


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