With the home nations in international action over the next week or so as Brazil 2014 inches nearer, here at bwin we are using the break in Premier League action to have a look at the statistics from the first seven games of the season. This article studies trends for the first 45 minutes of matches only and offers some vital information on Everton, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Stoke City, Fulham, Aston Villa, Newcastle United, Norwich City, Southampton and Arsenal that punters need to note down.
No matter what level of football, every manager will tell his players the same thing before a match kicks off – start well. Make sure the first touch, the first pass, the first tackle can stamp your mark on the game, let your opponent know he is in for a tough match.
But which teams are taking more notice than others? Below we look at the trends for teams in the first half of matches that need to be kept in mind when making betting decisions when the Premier League returns. Read on to find out more…
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the two sides who lead the half-time table are currently in the Champions League positions. Both Manchester City and Everton, who are second and fourth respectively, have 14 points in the half-time table, with an identical 4-2-1 record in the opening 45 minutes. City are an interesting 6/5 to win the first half in their next outing against West Brom, while the Toffees are 17/10 to do the same at QPR.
Chelsea come next, picking up 12 points before the break, while in fourth place come West Ham United, who would have 11 points if only the first half of matches were to count.
At the other end of the table, Norwich City are bottom with just three points in the first-half table, with fellow strugglers Southampton just above them on five points. In a bit of a surprise, Newcastle United make up the bottom three of the half-time table, having taken just five points from seven first-half games. Also on five points – and three more than they have in the full-time table – are Queens Park Rangers (making that 17/10 on an Everton half-time lead look extremely appealing).
As alluded to earlier, a popular bet is backing a team to be winning at half-time (either as a single or followed by betting on the double result at full-time) so knowing how teams are likely to get on in the first half is a vital tool.
Obviously Manchester City and Everton lead the way by leading four times at the break so far, followed by Chelsea, West Ham and Fulham on three, but there are a couple of surprise teams who also have three half-time wins to their name.
Aston Villa and Sunderland have both led three times at the break, which is surprising given that both teams only have one win apiece in the full table.
One other eyebrow-raising statistic concerns Stoke City, who are yet to be behind at half-time in any of their seven league matches. Two wins and five draws from their seven matches show that the Potters always start well.
Admittedly this run could end very soon, as the next assignment for Tony Pulis’ men is against Manchester United at Old Trafford. But bearing those statistics in mind and considering Stoke’s reputation for being able to frustrate the big teams, perhaps the 13/5 on a goalless first half (as was the case when they travelled to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, remember) could prove a cracking bet.
The amount of goals scored and conceded are very useful things to know, as over/under in the goals markets are very popular for the first half as well as over 90 minutes.
The only team in double figures for first-half goals are Everton, who have struck ten times in the opening 45 minutes. Chelsea are next on nine goals, with West Ham, Fulham and Arsenal on seven goals apiece.
Meanwhile, the other end of the scale makes for interesting reading. There are several teams on three goals or less, including Aston Villa, who, incredibly, have made each one of those goals into a first-half lead.
Struggling Norwich have just two first-half goals, but the biggest shock is Newcastle, who have managed just one solitary first-half goal in seven matches – the Magpies are 3/5 to fire another blank in the opening 45 minutes of their big derby date with Sunderland next time out.
Despite lying in tenth in the half-time table with ten points, Tottenham have conceded just one first-half goal in seven games so far, while Sunderland and Stoke have let their opponents score just twice before the break.
Lots of other teams have not been so miserly, though: a stat that will shock nobody is that Southampton have the worst first-half defensive record in the division, having conceded ten goals in the opening 45 minutes of their matches. Again, the fact that Norwich have let in nine goals before the break will surprise no-one, but Swansea and Fulham, who have both conceded eight times in the first half so far, have perhaps taken more points than you would expect for that statistic.
Time of Goals Scored
It always good to know exactly when a team tends to get their goals, because if you discover that a particular side always seem to strike in the first 15 minutes, for example, then you are able to get some good prices with bwin on such an eventuality.
And in that initial period of a match, Everton and Chelsea have scored three times, whereas Aston Villa, Reading, QPR and Newcastle are yet to notch in the first quarter of an hour.
They say the best time to score is just before half time and again, Everton seem to be adhering to the cliche, netting five times between the 31-45 minute mark. Newcastle, Norwich and Wigan are the only teams who are yet to do so, but at this point we should make note of Arsenal’s first-half performances.
The Gunners have scored just once in the first half hour of all their opening periods, but have found the net in the final quarter of the first half on six occasions, more than any other side. That is a stat to bear in mind, especially if betting in-play.
Time of Goals Conceded
If teams look vulnerable to concede at certain points of a football match then you can tailor your bets accordingly (again, particularly in-play) and it is clear some teams have problems at defined periods of the opening 45 minutes.
Queens Park Rangers are one such team, who have conceded four goals in the first 15 minutes of their seven games, more than any other side. Only Fulham and Wigan come close with three, while there are a host of teams who are yet to let in a goal in the 0-15 minute period: Arsenal, Reading, Tottenham and West Brom.
Norwich have let in four goals in the 16-30 minute bracket, while Southampton are obviously switching off as half-time approaches: the Saints have conceded seven goals in the 31-45 minute mark. Swansea aren’t much better, conceding six in the same period, while Everton are the only team not to have let in a goal in the final third of the first half.
It is also worth noting that of all the six periods of a football match (0-15 mins and so on) that there have been fewer goals scored between the 16-30 minute mark than any other section of the 90 minutes so far this year. Just 12% of the total goals scored in the Premier League this season have come in this part of matches and with the corresponding figure for all of last season standing at 14%, it may not change too much.
The most goals in the opening period have come when Fulham have played – 15 goals in seven games at either end is an average of 2.14 goals per first half.
Southampton are next with 14 goals in seven (an average of exactly two goals per 45 minutes), while there have been 13 first-half goals in the matches involving Swansea and Chelsea at an average of 1.85 goals per 45 minutes.
Again, this may come as a surprise, but at the other end of spectrum, matches featuring Tottenham have seen just four goals scored before the half-time whistle – an average of 0.57 goals per 45 minutes – which is two fewer than any other side.
Sunderland, Liverpool and West Brom have all seen just six goals in their first-half matches, which is an average of 0.85 goals, while there have been seven first-half goals in the games involving Stoke, Newcastle, Reading and Aston Villa, at an average of one per game.
So, in summary: when the action returns on October 20th, you can use your new-found appreciation of the vagaries of Premier League first halves to hopefully make yourself a quid or two.
Make sure you keep checking out the Stats Centre on the homepage of news.bwin.com/en/ as the season progresses so you always have the latest up to date information when placing your bets.
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