The BBC website produces match reports for all of the games every single Premier League side plays during the season. From Premier League and FA Cup, to Champions League to League Cup ties the BBC reports on them all. I thought it would be interesting to compile all of these reports for each of the twenty Premier League sides, and to produce word-clouds for each side. If a particular word is used more often, then it is shown on screen as larger than the other less used words.
I created one for Square One Football Radio, and felt I should create word clouds for all twenty clubs. I used the excellent online tool wordle.net to create the word clouds. Please feel free to use these on your blog or website, but I’d appreciate a link back.
To see a higher resolution image of the word cloud, click on it.
If a club wins both the home fixture and the away fixture during a league season then they are said to have “done the double” over that side. In the Premier League during the 2012/2013 season 16 of the 20 sides did the double over a rival.
The following lists show the teams that each club in the Premier League managed to do the double against.
Manchester United: Southampton, Sunderland, Stoke City, QPR, Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Fulham, Wigan Athletic, Reading and Liverpool.
Chelsea: Sunderland, Stoke City, Aston Villa, Norwich City, Everton, Wigan Athletic and Arsenal.
Arsenal: QPR, Newcastle United, West Brom, West Ham, Wigan Athletic and Reading.
ManchesterCity: Newcastle United, Aston Villa, West Brom, Fulham, Wigan Athletic and Reading.
Tottenham Hotspur: Southampton, Sunderland, Aston Villa, Swansea City, West Ham and Reading.
Liverpool: QPR, Norwich City, Fulham and Wigan Athletic.
West Brom: Southampton, Sunderland, QPR and Liverpool.
Swansea City: QPR, Newcastle United and Wigan Athletic.
AstonVilla: Sunderland and Reading.
Southampton: Aston Villa and Reading.
Everton: West Ham.
Fulham: West Brom.
Sunderland: Wigan Athletic,
Stoke City: QPR.
Newcastle United: QPR.
Wigan Athletic: Reading
Norwich City: None.
West Ham: None.
Of the three relegated sides Wigan Athletic were the only team who managed to win home and away against another club (Wigan did the double over fellow relegated side Reading).
Four sides in the Premier League did not lose home and away to another club. Those sides were Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Manchester United. Nine clubs did the double over eventual FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic.
A list of footballers who have played in the Premier League, Championship, League One or League Two this season with their first name beginning with the same letter as their surname. Please let me know if you are aware of any others.
Adebayo Akinfenwa (Northampton Town)
Adebayo Azeez (Wycombe Wanderers & Leyton Orient)
Ahmed Abdulla (Barnet)
Akwasi Asante (Shrewsbury Town)
Ali Al Habsi (Wigan Athletic)
Almen Abdi (Watford)
Andreas Arestidou (Morecambe)
Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal)
Antolín Alcáraz (Wigan Athletic)
Barry Bannan (Aston Villa)
Bartosz Bialkowski (Notts County)
Billy Bodin (Torquay United)
Brian Barry-Murphy (Rochdale)
Chris Cohen (Nottingham Forest)
Christopher Chantler (Carlisle United)
Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa)
Clarke Carlisle (York City & Northampton Town)
Conor Clifford (Portsmouth & Crawley Town)
Courtney Cameron (Rotherham United)
Craig Cathcart (Blackpool)
Craig Clay (Chesterfield)
Craig Conway (Cardiff Dragons)
Craig Curran (Rochdale)
Cyrus Christie (Coventry Dragons)
Damien Delaney (Crystal Palace & Ipswich Town)
Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City)
Darryl Duffy (Cheltenham Town)
David Davis (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
David De Gea (Manchester United)
David Dunn (Blackburn Rovers)
Diego De Girolamo (Sheffield United)
Donervon Daniels (Tranmere Rovers)
Dorian Dervite (Charlton Athletic)
Ethan Ebanks-Landell (Bury)
Frank Fielding (Derby County)
Gábor Gyepes (Portsmouth)
Gaël Givet (Blackburn Rovers)
Gary Gardner (Aston Villa)
Gianluca Gracco (Dagenham & Redbridge)
Gordon Greer (Brighton & Hove Albion)
Harry Hooman (Cheltenham Town)
Heidar Helguson (Cardiff Dragons)
Jake Jervis (Portsmouth, Tranmere Rovers, Carlisle United & Birmingham City)
Jake Jones (Walsall)
Jamie Jones (Leyton Orient)
Jermaine Jenas (Nottingham Forest & Queens Park Rangers)
Manchester United were the club who picked up the most Premier League points during 2012. They are followed by their city rivals Manchester City who despite losing the same number of games as United, couldn’t convert many of their draws to wins.
Interestingly Everton picked up more points than both Chelsea and Arsenal during 2012 though this may have something to do with the fact that Everton played more games than both Chelsea and Arsenal during the year. Additionally the contrast between Everton and their neighbours across Stanley Park is stark. Liverpool only won 11 out of their 38 games in 2012. The only two sides who weren’t relegated or promoted during 2012 with a lower points tally than Liverpool were Aston Villa and QPR.
For more statistics related to the 2012 calendar year including stats from the Football League, take a look at the ever excellent Sporting Intelligence.
The close season is traditionally a time where clubs jettison their weak players, replacing them with footballers with the skill to take the club one step further, whether that be to qualify or European competition or avoid another year’s relegation struggle. With that in mind I thought it would be interesting to see which clubs decided a wholesale change would be preferable to keeping faith with the players who toiled their way through the 2011/2012 season.
I took the line-ups from the last day’s action of the twenty Premier League sides of the 2011/2012 season (this includes West Ham, Southampton and Reading’s last Championship game of the season) and compared these line-ups with the opening day of this year’s Premier League season (2012/2013). The headline figure from this process is that 40% of all players who started the first game of the 2012/2013 season did not start in the last game of the 2011/2012 season (or if they did, it was for a different football club). Obviously this 40% is not entirely made up of new signings as it also includes players who were on the squads of their current teams last season but for whatever reason (be that injury or not being selected) did not start the game.
Of the twenty current Premier League clubs no club fielded an identical line-up between the end of last season and the start of this season. However, two clubs made only one change. These two clubs were Everton and Manchester City who fielded ten players on the last day of the 2011/2012 season that also started in the club’s opening fixture this season. The only difference between the Everton XI against Newcastle United in 2011/2012 and their opening day side that started (and defeated) Manchester United is that Sylvian Distin started against Manchester United. Interestingly Distin did play against Newcastle in 2011/2012 when he came on as a substitute for Hetinga. We weren’t to know it at the time but between the minutes of ’70 and ’74 the team Everton had on the field against Newcastle United would be the identical eleven that would start the season against Manchester United over three months later. It’s perhaps ironic (if you enjoy using the term loosely, or incorrectly) that the only change in Manchester City‘s starting line-up for their opening day 3-2 victory over Southampton to their last day win against QPR was the inclusion of Everton’s (another club who enjoy making few changes) Jack Rodwell (a replacement for Gareth Barry).
Two clubs who enjoyed successful seasons in 2011/2012 also made very few changes. Wigan Athletic and Newcastle United only made two changes between the end of last season and the beginning of this. Wigan Athletic brought in new signing Ivan Ramis and burly centre-half Alvaro Alcaraz whilst Alan Pardew also made defensive changes with Danny Simpson and Steve Taylor joining the starting XI. Of all the Premier League clubs it’s only Everton and Newcastle United that fielded starting elevens on the opening day of the 2012/2013 season who were also contracted to the club in the previous season.
Tottenham Hotspur, Reading and Stoke City all started eight players who started last season’s finale. The three clubs had differing reasons for their trio of changes. Spurs were under a new manager in Andre Villas-Boas who was trying to put his own stamp on the side with new signing Gylfi Sigurdsson starting alongside Jermaine Defoe in attack. The Biscuitmen, promoted under Brian McDermott last season, fielded three new signings in Chris Gunter, Danny Guthrie and Pavel Pogrebnyak who they hope will help keep them in the division. Finally Stoke City in an attempt to consolidate their presence in the Premier League started with Marc Wilson, Asmir Begovic and Michael Kightly, none started The Potters’ final game of the 2011/2012 season.
Sunderland, Southampton, Swansea City and West Ham United began the season with seven of the eleven who began the last game of the previous season. Notable signings for these sides included Swansea’s Michu and Chico who have made impacts for differing reasons in the opening weeks of the season for their goalscoring and red card exploits. Similarly to Reading, Saints have signed players they feel are good enough to keep them in the division, both Jay Rodriguez and Nathaniel Clyne started in their opening 2012/2013 fixture. Martin O’Neil has started his first full season as Sunderland boss and fielded new signing Carlos Cuellar in the Rokerites’ (no I didn’t get the memo) first match of the season.
2011/2012 Premier League runners-up Manchester United fielded five players on the opening day who didn’t start the last game of the previous seaosn. These included the injured Tom Cleverley and Nemanja Vidic as well as new signing Shinji Kigawa. Other clubs who featured five different players were Fulham, Norwich City and West Brom.
QPR and Liverpool were the two sides that fielded five players for the last game of the 2011/2012 season who also started the 2012/2013 season. QPR’s slapdash signings have led to the likes of Fabio, Ji-Sung Park, Robert Green and confused Julian Hoilett playing for the London club whilst Liverpool’s new boss Brendan Rodgers has brought the likes of Joe Allen and Fabio Borini to Anfield.
The four Arsenal players to survive from the last game of last season were Gervinho, Wojciech Szczesny, Thomas Vermaelen and Carl Jenkinson. The seven players who started this season were Santiago Cazorla, Abou Diaby, Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski, Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker and Kieran Gibbs. Podolski and Carzola were the two new signings for the north-London club. The other five players were already on the books at Arsenal.
Only three of Chelsea‘s line-up for the final game of the 2011/2012 season started this season’s opener. This can largely be explained by the fact that Roberto di Matteo was resting a lot of his star men in preparation for the Champions League Final against Bayern Munich. I think it’s fair to say that this tactic worked as his Chelsea side were victorious in a penalty shoout-out after a gruelling period of extra-time. For the record, the three Chelsea players who played in last season’s last game and this season’s opener were Ryan Bertrand, captain-fantastic John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic.
The other side who only had three players to achieve the feat were Aston Villa. I think this case is a little less surprising than most. Villa sacked their manager Alex McLeish in the summer, replacing him with Norwich boss Paul Lambert. Despite replacing a Scotsman with a Scotsman it appears Lambert has his own ideas on how he wants Aston Villa to play. The only three players who started in McLeish’s last game and Lambert’s first were Stephen Ireland. Ciaran Clark and Shay Given.
Norwich City had a terrific season under Paul Lambert. Grant Holt became a household name and an outsider for international glory as a possible member of Roy Hodgson’s England squad. Unfortunately for the Canaries Lambert left the club at the end of the season to take over at Villa Park whilst Grant Holt handed in a transfer request.
The below word cloud was generated using all of Norwich City’s match reports from the BBC website from the 2011/2012 season. The more frequently a word is used, the larger it appears on screen. The image was generated using the wonderful wordle.net.
Following on from the post I made earlier in the week regarding foreign players in the Championship here we have the same information but for the top flight – The Premier League. As you would expect this division features a higher proportion of foreign players than the Championship. However, it’s interesting to note that 68 different nationalities were used in the Premier League during the 2011/2012 season, one fewer – 67 – were used in the Championship.
Of the 522 players that played in the Premier League 212 of them were Englishmen. In my opinion that should be a decent enough pool of players for an England manager to pick from. Talk of sanctions to free up more spaces for average English players over foreign counterparts seems a pointless exercise when that many players are playing top flight football.
The table below shows data on each of the twenty-four clubs in the Premier League and the nationalities who played during the 2011/2012 season. The columns are as follows, Nats: number of nationalities used, Plyrs: total number of players used, Eng: Englishmen used (Sco, Wal, NI, Ire self-explanatory). %Eng is the percentage of the total number of players used who are English whilst %B&I is the percentage of players used who are from England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland. Whilst I understand that Ireland is a foreign country I feel that this metric is useful as players from the Republic of Ireland have been integral parts of squads in the football pyramid for many years.
Premier League nationality breakdown 2011/2012
No team fielded more Englishmen than QPR during the season (19) though it should be remembered that QPR fielded the most players (35) in the same period. Stoke City operated with the smallest (but almost certainly tallest) squad of 23 and it was Wigan Athletic who featured the fewest Englishmen during the season (3).
Wolves’ doomed campaign featured the most Irish players (6), they also fielded 3 Welshmen during the season though Swansea City fielded the most Welsh players (4). Wigan Athletic’s survival was helped along by their 3 Scotsmen whilst both West Brom and Fulham featured 2 Northern Irishmen in their Premier League campaigns for 2011/2012.
Of the players who turned out for Champions League victors Chelsea, only 28% of them were “British & Irish” whilst Norwich City players were 85% “British & Irish”. The team that we can all label “the foreign legion” are Arsenal who featured 22% “British & Irish” players during the 2011/2012 season. Wigan Athletic fielded the lowest percentage of Englishmen with 13% of their players being eligible for England.
This season has seen unprecedented league success for my club Cardiff City. The Bluebirds currently find themselves in fourth place of the Championship with a decent shot at promotion to the Premier League. However, rather than feeling excited at the prospect of potential promotion, this season has been one of the most frustrating and unenjoyable I can remember in my time as a Cardiff City supporter. And I think I’ve finally worked out why….
The 2010/2011 season began with the club under a transfer embargo and the club failed to pay an instalment of Paul Quinn’s transfer fee. However, after the embargo was lifted, the club “splashed out” on one of the top forwards in the Premier League: everyone’s favourite moron Craig Bellamy. Cardiff City faced accusations of financial doping and “cheating the system” after the stellar Bellamy signing. Perhaps this financial doping, signing of one of the more dislikeable characters in football (in addition to the already obnoxious Michael Chopra), has blighted my enjoyment of the team? It certainly hasn’t helped. But what I think has dented the enjoyment of this season more is the reaction of Cardiff City supporters to the side’s performances. For the first time that I can remember, the fans expect to win. Every. Single. Game. If Cardiff are drawing at half-time then they will almost invariably be booed off the park.
All of these factors (and the all black away kit certainly doesn’t help), have led me to the only possible conclusion: We are the Baddies. From the board, to the players, down to the fans we are odious. Of course, it doesn’t help that the club that slayed us in last year’s Championship Final are now “Everyone’s second favourite Premier League side”: Blackpool. It also doesn’t look too good when you take a glance at our close rivals for promotion Swansea City, who appear to have built a fluid passing team on a tiny budget (and they play in angelic white). I even look at second placed Norwich City for some signs of demonic qualities and all I see are a lovely family club, with one of the best football anthems around (On the Ball City) and a lovely yellow and green kit.
I can only watch and hope that as this season unfolds, that evil prevails. But I can’t say I’m optimistic, I’ve watched Return of the Jedi thirteen times, I know how this ends.
As any supporter knows, the football season runs from summer to summer, however I felt as we approach the end of 2010 that it would be interesting to take a look at how well clubs have done over the calendar year. This stuff is obviously totally irrelevant when it comes to handing out trophies or deciding promotion or relegation but it may give an indication as to which sides have had a good 2010.
I’ve set out a few lists below, clubs in bold are those that have played in two different divisions during 2010.
Points gained (top ten)
Norwich City 89
Manchester United 80
Cardiff City 79
Notts County 79
Port Vale 75
Huddersfield Town 74
Norwich City sit atop of the top ten for 2010 with an impressive 89 points. They gained many of the points during their League One promotion run-in, and have started their Championship season very well, currently sitting in a playoff place. The Canaries have only bettered this tally of 89 points once in their history, when they scored 91 in 1959.
Manchester United have accrued the most Premier League points in 2010 (80), the honour for the Championship goes to Cardiff City (79), League One’s most prolific side are Southampton (76) whilst Port Vale accrued an impressive 75 in League Two during 2010.
Points gained (bottom ten)
West Ham United 34
Stockport County 34
Wolverhampton Wanderers 37
Birmingham City 37
Wigan Athletic 37
Southend United 37
Yeovil Town 41
For West Ham United 2010 can’t come to an end too soon, they only picked up 34 points in 2010. It isn’t too surprising to see a few other Premier League clubs in the top ten due to the disparity between top and bottom in that division. Five of the top ten are current Premier League sides whilst Burnley spent the first half of 2010 as a Premier League club.
Most Improved Sides (Points difference between first half of 2010 to second half of 2010)
Queens Park Rangers +23
Hull City +18
Peterborough United +14
Stockport County +12
Leeds United +10
Southend United +9
It’s unsurprising to followers of Championship football that QPR score so highly on this list. They have picked up 47 points in the second half of 2010, 7 more than any other club in the country. In the first half of 2010 they only picked up 24.
Interestingly seven of the above list of nine have played Championship football at some time during 2010. This can probably be put down to the unpredictable nature of the division as well as the fact that positions 2, 3 and 4 are held by ex-Premier League sides who find the second flight a far more tolerable level of football to operate in.
A lot of praise needs to be handed to Simon Grayson’s Leeds United who have managed to pick up more points in the second half of 2010 (in the Championship) than they managed in the first half of 2010 (in League One).
Top Ten “Most Degraded” sides (Points difference between first half of 2010 to second half of 2010)
Notts County -33
Newcastle United -29
West Bromwich Albion -24
Swindon Town – 19
Hereford United -19
Northampton Town -17
Dagenham & Redbridge -17
As you’d expect it’s the promoted sides that find it the toughest. There appears to be some sort of 2010 curse with black & white stripes as both Notts County have found the latter half of 2010 harder going than the first half.
Ultimately it’s where you finish in May 2010 that determines which sides are deemed successful or not and the above stats are mere trivialities.