Championship football is set to restart on June 20 and statistics suggest Leeds United will not be caught in the race to the title.
Leaders United (71 points) have a one-point lead over West Brom (70 points) with nine games remaining and figures released by Soccer Stats suggest the former should claim the ultimate English Football League prize based off their remaining fixtures and overall home and away results in the 2019/2020 season.
Marcelo Bielsa’s team are one of the most consistent sides in the division and are the only side to feature in the top three when all teams are ranked solely off their home or away results.
Leeds play five out of their remaining nine fixtures at their home ground Elland Road where they average a strong 2.06 points per game (PPG).
Their most difficult fixture is hosting Fulham, who are the only team currently in the top six that last season’s play-off semi-final losers will face before the conclusion of the season.
Meanwhile, the Baggies have a home advantage (PPG home – PPG away) of -0.33 points and have a much better away record with 2.05 PPG average in comparison to 1.72 PPG average at home. Nonetheless, they are scheduled to play the majority of their final games at home which is, according to the stats, to their disadvantage.
For health and safety issues concerning Coronavirus, the remaining matches will be played behind closed doors if they do go ahead; regardless of crowd presence, could this be a significant psychological factor in their title push? Time will tell.
According to Football Web Pages, Leeds have the highest average home attendance in the league this season with 35,321, followed by Nottingham Forest with 27,748, and so one may well claim the presence of United’s fans at home games have a significant impact on the team’s results.
But the same cannot be said for Forest who fare worse at home (1.56 PPG) then they do away (1.68 PPG).
Or are there other factors to play to home advantage or disadvantage? For the former, each team has the ability to mark out the size of their own pitches (within a limit) to play to their strengths, the home players travel a shorter distance to the game and are more familiar to the stadium’s surroundings.
For the latter, players may cave into the pressure of their expectant fans or may thrive as the ‘underdog’. In football, every little counts.
The third spot in the table is currently occupied by the Cottagers and they have racked up the most points at home this season (38) of any side.
However, a challenge for the title seems improbable with the team seven points adrift of the leaders with just nine games remaining.
Scott Parker’s side will instead be concentrating on reducing the gap to the Baggies to at least three if standings remain the same when, if the season restarts, the two sides meet in Birmingham.
EFL chairman Rick Parry said: “Clearly completing the season in a safe manner is going to require a significant effort by all concerned and, whilst not unprecedented, it will need clubs to play a significant number of matches over a relatively short period of time.
“We must stress that at this stage the date is only provisional and will only be confirmed once we have met all the requirements, as the health, safety and well-being of all participants, staff and supporters remains our top priority.”
Photo credits: Alex Dodd, CameraSport (flickr)