For football fans, Sunday afternoons have become synonymous with a televised Premier League double header, usually involving some of the most mouth-watering fixtures in the calendar. To whet our appetites further ahead of another spectacle this weekend, we’ve analysed every match in Premier League history to see which clubs have made Super Sunday their own and who might be wishing that weekends were shorter.
Which matches are skewed the most?
First of all, we were interested to find out if rescheduling specific fixtures for a Sunday had tended to benefit one team more than the other, so we looked at the head-to-head records of every pair of clubs to have met at least 10 times on a Sunday and isolated the 10 biggest swings in points won per game. It turns out that Arsene Wenger’s regular complaints about the fixture list aren’t without substance, as three of the 10 biggest swings have been against Arsenal, including the biggest of all. Chelsea have only taken 27 points from 29 encounters with the Gunners – an average of 0.93 points per game – between Monday and Saturday but on Sundays this skyrockets to 39 from 22: a whopping 1.77 per game.
The better news for Wenger is that Arsenal are also the beneficiaries for two more of the 10 biggest swings, including against an Everton side they will be meeting this coming Sunday. In fact, their record against the Toffees on Sundays is the best of any Premier League fixture to have been contested at least 10 times, with 31 points claimed from a possible 39, so if Ronald Koeman is still clinging on in the Goodison Park hotseat then expect the Gunners to blast him out of it.
Who are the best – and worst – Sunday performers?
More generally, we also wanted to find out if any particular teams enjoyed Sunday matches more than others. For this analysis we focused on the 12 clubs who had played at least 100 matches on a Sunday, nine of whom are currently in the top flight. Interestingly, all but two – Tottenham and Everton – have actually won a smaller percentage of their games on a Sunday than those staged during the rest of the week.
Spurs are by far the more successful, winning 46.6% of their Sunday fixtures compared to just 40.1% on the other days of the week, which bodes well for their upcoming clash with Liverpool at Wembley. One club who definitely don’t enjoy themselves on Sundays are Manchester United, who perform significantly less well. Their win percentage drops from 65.0% to 56.6%, although this is still higher than any of the other 11 clubs have managed on either Sunday or the other days of the week.
Clash of the titans or David versus Goliath?
Sunday matches usually feature one of the Premier League’s top teams but is there more entertainment value in seeing two big sides face off or in watching a smaller club take on one of the division’s giants? We compared Sunday games between two sides who both ended up finishing in the top six with those where an eventual top six club faced one that placed in the bottom six and the choice is clear.
If it’s goals you’re after, then it’s better to watch a game with a clear favourite: a top-versus-bottom encounter will see an average of 2.91 goals, compared to 2.64 when two top teams meet, and a higher percentage will see over 2.5 goals scored: 55.8% to 46.3%.
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