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.
Brentford and Wigan Athletic will make trips to Wembley over the next few weeks for differing reasons. Brentford will be playing in the League One play-off final against Yeovil Town, whilst Wigan Athletic will feature in the first FA Cup Final of their history against Manchester City.
Despite these heady days for both clubs it’s not the first time Brentford and Wigan have played at Wembley. They faced one another in the Freight Rover Trophy in 1985. The Freight Rover Trophy was the first ever incarnation of the Associate Members Cup, a trophy for football clubs in the bottom two divisions of the Football League. It would later be known as the Sherpa Vans Trophy, Leyland DAF Cup, Autoglass Trophy, Autowindscreens Shield, LDV Vans Cup and these days goes by the moniker Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. For whatever reason (and I’m yet to think of a good one) I have in my possession a match day programme of the 1985 final between Brentford and Wigan Athletic and therefore thought it might be worth penning a quick summary.
Freight Rover Trophy Final: Wigan Athletic vs Brentford
The two sides had made it to Wembley by winning their regional finals, Brentford beating Newport County 6-0 in the south and Wigan Athletic beating Mansfield on penalties in the north. It’s perhaps interesting to note that both Mansfield and Newport were promoted from the Conference to league football this summer.
One interesting aspect of this competition is that it was the first to be screened on British cable television. It was produced by a company called Screen Sport and from the following youtube clip you can see that they were attempting to be innovative. Slow motion replays of odd incidents are a mainstay of most international tournaments now so Screen Sport appear to have been ahead of the game. Though unsurprisingly Martin Tyler’s post-match interviews of topless Brentford players in the changing rooms has never really caught on. The video is certainly an insight into football as viewed through the lens of a mid 80s armchair fan.
The following video from the semi-final between Brentford and Newport County is worth a quick viewing if only for the post-match interview with four-goal hero Gary Roberts who uses the cliché “I’m obviously happy for the club” before following it with the perhaps too honest “but especially happy for myself”. Keith Cassells also offers his honest (and shirtless) view of Brentford’s trip to Wembley, as a delighted footballer about to experience the pinnacle of his career – a match at Wembley Stadium.
Eagle-eyed viewers will have noticed Colin Addison (later to manage Atlético Madrid) managing Newport County and Tony Pulis (later to manage Stoke City) amongst the County defence.
Both teams featured names that have become familiar to many in football league circles since their retirement. Brentford included Keith Millen, Terry Hurlock, Steve Wignall, Terry Bullivant and Chris Kamara in their squad whilst Wigan had the pre-Wright/Bright rhyming strike duo of Paul Jewell and Mike Newell. Current TV pundits Frank McClintock (Brentford) and Bryan Hamilton (Wigan) managed the sides.
Graham Kelly and his mates from the FA make the draw for an earlier round of the Freight Rover Trophy. These were made inside dealerships across England.
Reading the programme makes you realise that football has always been more than willing to sell its soul, it’s just that only recently that there’s been a buyer with real cash behind it. The schedule of the day has at 2:25pm a “Presentation of Sherpa Minibuses to the club chairmen” and two pages are dedicated to the sponsor of the cup and some of their quotes are golden, this one especially tickled me:
“In reaching the pinnacle of a great Wembley occasion today’s finalists have shown commitment, spirit and determination – qualities that, over the last few years, have given Freight Rover a leading place in today’s commercial vehicles market”
Other sponsors mentioned in the programme include Mitre (who provided their famous Mitre Delta football for the match) and also National Dairy Council, Panini, Shoot Magazine and United Biscuits who all apparently provided items for the family stand (sounds like one hell of a party bag to me).
Wigan Athletic won the final 3-1 and Elton John presented the trophy to the winners.
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.
Pundits appear to agree that Wigan Athletic had a good season. Indeed, they had such a good season that Latics chief Roberto Martinez has become a pundit himself, sitting on sofas alongside Patrik Vieira and Roy Keane on ITV’s Euro 2012 coverage.
The below word cloud was generated using all of Wigan Athletic’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.
Al-Habsi features quite heavily via the terms “Al-Habsi” as well as “Al” and “Habsi” (someone at the BBC needs to read a style guide).
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.
In October 1978 the Zambian national side undertook a tour of England. They played five matches in a fifteen day period against Shrewsbury Town (9/10/78), Wigan Athletic (11/10/78), Workington (16/10/1978), Marine (17/10/78) and Bristol Rovers (24/10/78). It’s likely that the tour was arranged by Englishman, and then Zambian manager, Brian Tiler (a former Wigan Athletic player). The match at Gay Meadow against Shrewsbury Town is probably the most interesting of the lot as it featured a rather well known figure by the name of Bobby Charlton, playing in the last game of his career. Why he found himself playing at Shrewsbury is a question that may never fully be answered, though it has been suggested that Charlton had a link to the town as he and Duncan Edwards undertook their national service there.
Bobby Charlton had retired from football two years previously after a short spell in Ireland with Waterford United. However, he was convinced to play in this one off tie and to don the famous blue and amber stripes of the Shrews. The programme details some of Charlton’s team-mates that day and they include players who went on to forge successful managerial careers in the lower leagues such as Graham Turner and Ian Atkins. In fact, Turner is now managing Shrewsbury Town in League Two, very apt considering he answered Shrewsbury Town reserves to the “what’s your favourite other side” in the programme.
Shrewsbury Town take on Zambia at Gay Meadow
The player profiles of the Shrewsbury players are fascinating and give a real insight into late 1970s football in the UK. Not only are the players’ positions and main attributes listed, we are also informed of the marital status of the player and the car they drive. So we have: Steve Biggins (single, Ford Escort), Carleton Leonard (single, Hillman Avenger), Graham Turner (married with three children, Vauxhall Chevette), Michael Roberts (single, Volkswagen “Beetle”) and so it continues…
The player profiles in the programme of the Zambians also make interesting reading (though they do unfortunately omit their marital status and the car they drive). Goalkeeper Vincent Chileshe “rated the best Goalkeeper in Africa” and nicknamed the “Black Cat” is featured as is Godfrey Chitalu, a centre-forward from Kabwe Warriors. It says in the programme that Chitalu had turned down offers to play in England and the United States to stay in his native Zambia. It certainly wasn’t uncommon for Africans to be playing abroad at this time, Aston Villa featured two Zambian internationals in the 69/70 season (Fred Mwila and Emment Kapengwe) so there may be something in that tale.
As for the game, Zambia lost 4-0. The tour was to be a difficult one for the Chipolopolo, the next few games didn’t get much easier as they lost to Wigan Athletic by two goals to one and also lost to Marine by four goals to nil.
Zambia’s manager went on to become the managing director of AFC Bournemouth where he helped oversee the club’s promotion to the Second Division. Tiler was tragically killed in Italy when the car he and (then Bournemouth manager) Harry Redknapp were travelling in collided with a minibus on the way to the England versus Cameroon World Cup Quarter Final in 1990.
As a follow up to my previous blogpost related to the different nationalities represented in the Premier League I thought it might be interesting to slice the data slightly differently. This time I’m going to look at player nationality by club. The data in this article relates to the nationality of players who started matches in the Premier League last season (2010/2011). For example, every club has 418 starting berths each season, that’s 11 players multiplied by 38 games. Of those 418 potential starting berths, Birmingham City used 242 Englishmen. That’s a percentage of around 57%.
Only six teams in the Premier League last season fielded teams that featured more than 50% Englishmen. These were Birmingham City, Aston Villa, Sunderland, Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United and West Ham United. The following table displays the most English clubs in the Premier League last season.
Clubs with most English starting players in the Premier League 2010/2011 season
A few things of note:
The three relegated sides Birmingham City, Blackpool and West Ham are in the top seven most English sides.
It is Wigan Athletic and Arsenal who have the least English sides by far. They are also the only two clubs in the Premier League whose most used nationality was not English. Arsenal’s was (unsurprisingly) French, whilst Wigan Athletic had more Honduran starters than any other nationality last season.
Of England’s Champions League representatives for the 2011/2012 season it is Manchester City who are the most English having started Englishmen 43 more times than their city rivals Manchester United.
Clubs featuring most of one particular nationaliy
A few things to note on the above data:
Wolves feature a large number of Irishmen, this is probably unsurprising due to their manager being ex-Ireland international Mick McCarthy.
Blackpool were the “most Welsh” Premier League side during 2010/2011. Both David Vaughan and Neal Eardley featured regularly for the Tangerines.
Fulham featured a number of Northern Irish players, a hang-over from Lawrie Sanchez’ era at Craven Cottage perhaps?
Liverpool featured more Spanish starters than any other side, their previous manager to Kenny Dalglishg was (of course) Spaniard Rafa Benitez,
Different nationalities starting games by club Premier League 2010/2011
A couple of things to note related to the above data:
The most English side Birmingham City also started the least number of nationalities (only 9) during the Premier League campaign.
West Brom used more than double the number of nationalities than Birmingham City.
If you have any ideas on ways this data can be further analysed I’d be happy to hear from you.
The word cloud below is generated from all of the BBC’s match reports from the 2010/2011 season for Wigan Athletic. The cloud offers a visual review of the past season, illustrating the players who were important – or at least were mentioned in the match reports most times! Click on the image to see a larger, easier to read version:
Premier League 2010/2011 Season Review: Wigan Athletic
World Cloud (description from wikipedia): A tag cloud (word cloud, or weighted list in visual design) is a visual representation for text data, typically used to depict keyword metadata (tags) on websites, or to visualize free form text. ‘Tags’ are usually single words, normally listed alphabetically, and the importance of each tag is shown with font size or color.