The COVID Effect: Football Behind Closed Doors

With football being thrown into an unprecedented set of circumstances over the last few month and The Premier League joining the list of leagues to resume behind closed doors, we thought we'd have a look over some of the stats, bust a few myths, and see what stats and trends have changed since football with fans became a thing of the past.


Home Advantage

The most common stat thrown around in the post-COVID era is that home advantage no longer exists. With no fans in stadiums, are home sides really disadvantaged by the fact that they don't have their own fans in the stadiums as "the 12th man". Well, let's take a look at some stats taken from the leagues which have resumed and been around for a few weeks now:

It's pretty clear from looking at the stats that there is definitely some truth to this theory. Overall across all 5 leagues there have been 11.19% fewer home wins than before COVID hit and the Bundesliga in particular has seen a massive swing of 23.30% fewer home wins. Something to bear in mind when putting your bets together.


Bookings

I've heard two theories on bookings since games moved behind closed doors. One is that because the stadium is quiet, the referee can "hear" the challenges go in and a players scream when he's rolling around injured. The other is the opposite, that without fans getting on refs backs, they are more lenient. So which is true? Or are they both true and therefore cancel each other out? Lets find out....


I think overall there hasn't been much of a change in terms of bookings when you look across all of the leagues, but it's interesting to see how each league has been affected There has been a clear swing in Portugal and Germany for home sides picking up more cards than they used to before the lockdown, and away sides picking up fewer than expected cards. In Spain though, it doesn't matter if it's home or away, there have been fewer cards there for both sides, though they have played fewer games there so that could change.


Fouls

On a similar note to the bookings, have fouls really incresed with the ref being able to hear what's happening on the pitch? With less distraction from the volume of the crowd, is it really the case that more free kicks are being given? Let's look at the stats again...


Again, Spain is the stand out league here as it's the only league which has seen a decrease in the number of home fouls per game since the COVID break. Germany and Portugal have both seen an increase in fouls for both the home and away team, but particularly those sides playing at home.


If there's any other myths or interesting stats out there you want us to have a look at, just get in touch via Live Chat over at www.inplayman.com or give us a shout on Twitter and we'll look into it for you!

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