There’s been a lot of media gum-flapping about the increase in teams getting points (in England, at least) away from home this season. It has been, its true, something that has been particularly prevalent in the Premier League, with all sorts of bods turning their heads as to why it might be.
I’ve actually covered the subject before, as long ago as 2009/10, as you can see from the graph below. In short, it is not a new trend.
My hypothesis was, originally, that the change in home/away impetus came as a result of the change from 2 points to a win to 3 points for a win. Certainly, that turn of the 80s event brought a big change in teams being able to gather away wins more frequently than home.
It is reasonable, I would say, to assume that teams would be more likely to try to win an away game than draw it when they are going to be that much more handsomely rewarded – that is evident in the graph above as well. The home wins are dropping much quicker than the away wins are rising – just because away teams are trying to win doesn’t mean they necessarily are doing so.
In this graph, produced some time ago, you can see how infrequently teams in England who earned just 2 points for a win enjoyed better away records than home.
Yet it is undenable that there is a trend towards away teams claiming points, and it is not just top teams, either. Indeed, it is equally likely to be at the top as the bottom. Its peculiar that this trend hasn’t quite made its way into the consciousness yet. While home wins are still (in England) the dominant outcome, it is now almost (if not, give it a little time, actually) as likely to see the home team fail to win, by whichever way, as emerge victorious. There are obvious caveats to that, in that the abilities of the teams involved will no doubt influence that, but should two totally even teams be meeting, then it would come into play. I have updated the graph to tell of seasons better away than at home, and it makes even more interesting reading than before, I have to say.
Those figures are growing and growing and, while I expect this season to be something of an anomaly at this point, there’s reason to think it won’t drop as far as you might think.
The increase in teams has brought another happy factor to the update, too. There was a whole host of teams who had not experienced better away records than home over the course of a season previously, but that figure is down to just two.
One of them, I might have guessed – good season or bad, a team who make their home games as intimidating as they can; the other, I wouldn’t have guessed, but its a tricky place to get to.
The 2015/16 figure is up to date as of right now – 15/09/2015.