Analysis: Identifying English football’s hoodoos
Liverpool stars Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah

Analysis: Identifying English football’s hoodoos

Romelu Lukaku’s first-half miss against Tottenham on Monday night continued the Manchester United striker’s frustrating scoring record against the north London side.

The Belgium international has netted just one goal in 863 minutes against Spurs in his Premier League career.

But what other hoodoos persist in English football? We’ve looked back over the data from the last decade of the Premier League and EFL to identify which clubs and players perform unusually badly – and well – against specific opponents.


Who struggles – and thrives – on the road?

First of all we looked at which teams had the best and worst away records – relative to how many points they won in total – over the last decade. Promoted Wolves take the crown as the Premier League’s best away team, with 45.0% of their points being earned in away matches, while Everton travel the worst with just 39.3% of their points coming on the road.

Among top-flight players, West Ham’s Javier Hernandez seems the most immune to travel sickness, scoring once every 116 minutes in away games compared to 195 at home. Liverpool duo Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, meanwhile, are far more prolific in front of their own fans than when obliged to travel.

Who are the top players’ bogey teams?

We looked at each division’s five most prolific goalscorers to see who among this season’s opponents were their favourite to score against, and which tended to cause them trouble. While Sergio Aguero has rattled in a Premier League goal every 52 minutes against Newcastle, he has had to wait around seven times longer on average to find the net against Everton.

Stepping away from goals, we have also identified players with unusually good – and bad – records against specific teams. Of those with at least 10 league appearances against a specific side, David Silva’s 100% record in 12 games against Newcastle stands out, but Danny Welbeck (against Tottenham) and Mousa Dembele (against West Ham) are unbeaten with over 85% of possible points won by their teams when they’ve taken the field. On the flipside, Christian Benteke has been on the losing side in 10 of the 11 matches he’s played against Manchester United, with the other being a draw.

Which players are their teams’ good (and bad) luck charms?

Bernard Mendy would have surely hoped for more from his Manchester City career so far, having missed a huge chunk of last season with injury, but Pep Guardiola can have no complaints about his impact on the pitch.

In his 10 games for the Premier League champions so far, his team have won eight and drawn two, which is the best record of anyone with at least 10 appearances for their current club.

In the red half of Manchester, young midfielder Scott McTominay has been United’s good luck charm with 12 wins and a draw being earned in his 16 top-flight appearances to date.

While Hernandez has proven an asset in away matches, he’s something of a bad luck charm for West Ham overall, having only seen his side win five of the 31 matches in which he’s featured.

Only Charlie Taylor of Burnley has been involved in a worse points return in the top flight, with just one win from 14 Premier League appearances.