by Tony Attwood and Christophe Jost
Arsenal winning 4-0 at the Ems…. no boo boys (as Chapman called them), no insults… That undoubtedly helped us. Indeed it is possible that Arsenal might be one of the few teams that sees their home results go up during the lock down, simply because the players know how quickly the Ems crowd can turn.
Indeed the joy on Xhaka’s face at playing without the crowd was something to behold, and Mustafi, another one to suffer, was also looking better for being without the groans and boos.
After the first ten ghost games the goals per game were down from 2.7 to 2.3, and shots were down from 25.2 to 22.2, both suggesting that with a crowd the home team may well be urged to attack and shoot by the crowd’s excitement, especially as the game nears its end with the scores level. But some shots are clearly influenced by the crowd shouting “Shoot” and the player doing so, when a pass would have been a better option.
Passes are down too by 4%, but passing accuracy is up very slightly, suggesting a removal of nervousness. Tackles are down, suggesting that the crowd might well be urging the players to get stuck in, even when they know that holding back can be a better idea.
But now, here are the unexpected stats. Interceptions are down by a whopping 16%, but fouls are up by over 10% (that perhaps being the influence of crowds on referees)>
However the biggest changes come with the most important stuff. The percentage of goals in the first half are down by 45%. And so are home wins (down from 45% to 27%). Away wins are up by 6% from 30% to 36%. Draws previously constituted 25% of results – they are now 37%.
So exactly as we suggested would happen, based on observing the opening weeks in Germany the results have changed. To make it plain
|Result||With crowds||Without crowds|
Of course these results might change as players adjust – but even if they do, the fact of these changes gives us food for thought, because we know from the experiments in which referees watch matches on TV either with silence or with the sound of the supporters on, the sound of the supporters makes a huge difference.
Also the away team are playing without the jeering and booing – and in the case of Arsenal they are also secure in the knowledge that they won’t be jeered or booed by the crowd. Just think of the way Mustafi and Xhaka have regularly had the treatment. Others have had some scorn poured on them with groans. Ozil David Luiz, Maitland Niles, Mkhitaryan. The release from the negativity (which of course goes back to the 1930s, as Chapman famously labelled the peretrators the “boo boys”) is obviously helping.
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The lockdown in football also shows that players who do go and thank their supporters after a game are doing more than just making a show of matey-ness. They are actually thanking the supporters for helping them win at home.
Clearly the players who can be bothered to walk around the pitch after the match and thank the fans, know just how much of an effect they are having. On average a 20% greater chance of winning.
Since the restart Arsenal’s results have been
|17 Jun 2020||Manchester City v Arsenal||L||3-0||Premier League|
|20 Jun 2020||Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal||L||2-1||Premier League|
|25 Jun 2020||Southampton v Arsenal||W||0-2||Premier League|
|28 Jun 2020||Sheffield United v Arsenal||W||1-2||FA Cup|
|01 Jul 2020||Arsenal v Norwich City||W||4-0||Premier League|
Four away games: 50% defeats, 50% wins. Before the lock down it was seven out of 15 home wins (47%), two out of 13 away wins (15%).
One key discovery from German matches was that goalkeepers played better away from home without a crowd. Of course we might expect that – they don’t have 10,000 people behind them making noises designed to put them off.
We already know that referees act very differently without a crowd from the TV research, but it is good to have it confirmed yet again both in Germany and England. PGMO cannot admit this because they are stuck with their insane claim of 98% accuracy rate within stadia with crowds, which cannot be improved upon. It is shown once again to be a ludicrous fantasy made up to impress gullible TV commentators.