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Premier League Table: Minutes Spent Winning and Minutes Spent At +1

Another Premier League Table with a twist

One of the burning issues for football fans interested in the #fancystats surrounding this years Premier League is this: How the F£&* have Manchester United have gained so many points despite having a relatively low overall shots counts (TSR/SoTR).

A couple of tidbits help answer this question: Game State and score effects are the main two.

Man United spend a lot of their game time in the lead and this season it is even more pronounced (over 50% of their minutes in a winning position). If we know team X spends a lot of their time leading, especially at +1 (a single goal lead), then it is to be expected that the leading team sits back slightly and concedes more shots as they try and protect the one goal lead.

This is a common tactic and may well be prevalent in every league in the world;the Premier League and Manchester United are no exceptions.

Knowing all this let's now look at how many minutes each team has spent in a winning position and how many minutes winning by a single goal.

Minutes Spent Winning At +1 And Overall Winning Minutes


Position Team Minutes at +1 % of total Minutes Winning Minutes
3 Arsenal 512 17.23% 826
17 Aston Villa 561 18.33% 669
4 Chelsea 764 25.72% 1308
6 Everton 701 22.90% 977
11 Fulham 628 20.52% 818
7 Liverpool 459 15.00% 917
2 Man City 570 19.19% 929
1 Man Utd 1008 32.94% 1651
16 Newcastle 517 16.89% 638
13 Norwich 476 15.55% 543
19 Qpr 248 8.10% 277
20 Reading 347 11.33% 372
12 Southampton 618 20.19% 908
15 Stoke 400 13.07% 518
14 Sunderland 516 16.86% 693
9 Swansea 229 7.71% 478
5 Tottenham 580 19.52% 944
8 West Brom 537 18.08% 765
10 West Ham 484 15.81% 781
18 Wigan 409 13.77% 628

A couple of things stand out:

Man United An incredible amount of minutes spent not only in a winning position, but in a +1 winning position. Man United have spent 33% of their total Premier League minutes winning by a single goal. This will have a massive effect on their shots ratio. If they spend a 1/3rd of all time at a game state where it is likely that they go into a defensive shell, change tactics and reduce the amount of attacking intent they have it will be sure to negatively affect their overall TSR. (Tied TSR and Close TSR is for another day--neither are overly impressive though)

In short if your model uses TSR you may want to look at factoring in the effect that game state has on said TSR.

Chelsea Impressive winning and +1 totals, so why the lack of points? Chelsea are heavily outshot at +1 and +2, even more than the effect of game state would predict.

Man City The numbers aren't too impressive: 5th best Time Spent Winning, 7th best in time spent winning at +1. All those early goals and leads of last year have evaporated. They are gone and Man City's incredible TSR is caused, in part, by the amount of time they are spending chasing the game when the match is tied.

Swansea By far the most interesting team for me. I mean, look, they are the worst team in the league at minutes spent at +1 and the 3rd worst team by the number of minutes spent winning. How on earth do Swansea have 42 points when there minutes spent winning is so so poor? Late comebacks, late winning goals.

Swansea's numbers in this table are fascinating.

Anyhow, I hoped you enjoyed this look at the alternative Premier League table. I think it shows some cool stuff and this is just one step of the many I will show you that helps explain why certain teams have good or bad TSR's or PDO's.