Premier League 2011-12: Game changers pt2

This post reviews sendings off in the 2011-12 season: which teams lost or profited most?

To breakdown the MCFC/Opta data this time I filtered out any sendings off which occurred with less than 10 minutes of the game to go. Why? We can learn more from games where the team with a numerical advantage has longer on the field, and therefore a better opportunity to capitalise on their opponent’s weakness. I am most interested to see if any particular managers/teams seem to be better or worse at coping when a game becomes 11 vs 10 or even 11 vs 9 as happened in the QPR v Chelsea game last season at Loftus Road.

Last season a player was sent off with more than 10mins remaining a total of 51 times. QPR were the worst culprits, with their players sent off a total of 7 times before the 81st minute.  Interestingly, all of these red cards occurred in 2012, Mark Hughes being in charge for 6 out of the 7 games. If Mark Hughes specifically promoted the tactic of being more aggressive in the tackle, it was certainly a costly tactic as QPR lost all but 1 game in which they had a player sent off* (*with more than 10mins to go). In fact, in the only game they won from this situation they were already in front against Spurs and the red card for Adel Taarabt occurred in the 78th minute – only just meeting the constraints of my rule. Delving further into the stats on points gained/lost/unchanged, based on the score at the time of the sending off to the final score, QPR lost 2 games in which they were in a winning position until a player was sent off (at home to Norwich and Wolves) and 2 further games lost from a position of drawing a game (Man Utd and Man City – the famous conclusion to the season). Hence we can say that QPR had a -8pts swing, no doubt impacted by the red cards in those games. As it was, QPR only just survived relegation, yet with 8 more points to their total they would have been equal with Sunderland and Stoke in 13th/14th place.

Compare QPR’s stats to Spurs, who were much more disciplined last season with only 1 red card before the 81st minute: Danny Rose vs Aston Villa. On this occasion Spurs were actually able to turn their losing position to a draw, thereby gaining a point. The only other team to seemingly benefit from having a player sent off was Blackburn (vs Fulham, home). Here, Steve Kean’s team actually won having been level with Fulham when Yakubu was sent off.

55% of the time the red card did not change the result, in 41% of the matches the team with the player sent off lost points and 4% of the time the team actually gained (the 2 aforementioned).

Perhaps Bolton can count themselves unlucky – they had players sent off* in 5 games but no team had a player sent off* against them. On the other hand, Fulham’s players did not get sent off once with more than 10mins to play, but they benefited on 4 occasions, taking 9pts but arguably dropping 1pt against Steve Kean’s Blackburn.

At the top of the table, Arsenal were involved in 4 games in which they had a player sent off and 4 games in which the opposition had a man sent off*. In the games they had a player sent off they took only 1pt, but with the opposition down to 10 men they managed 3 wins and a draw. Manchester United’s opposition had players sent off 6 times; in these games although the result was often in their favour already, Man Utd took 16pts (5 wins, 1 draw). Man City and Chelsea both took maximum points in games where opposition players were sent off (6 and 9pts respectively), and City had an excellent record in games they had players sent off: 6pts from 3 games.

Any attempt to make a serious claim on which team or manager is best or worst at dealing with situations of 10 vs 11 players is flawed due to the small sample size.  But why not throw some names into the hat anyway?! Adding together the points swing after a player was sent off for either side shows that Chelsea come out on top (+6pts) and QPR bottom (-8pts). These teams both had manager changes during the season but for Chelsea Andre Vilas-Boas was the dominant force in their positive statistic, whilst Mark Hughes was in charge for most of the games that contributed to QPR’s poor points swing result. A special mention is reserved for Martin Jol’s disciplined Fulham side, as discussed earlier, who acheived a points swing of +4 from 4 games.

Team # players sent off* (a) Points (a) Points swing (a) # opposition players sent off* (b) Points (b) Points swing (b) Points swing (a) + (b)
Chelsea 3** 3 0 3 9 6 6
Fulham 0 0 0 4 9 4 4
Liverpool 4 3 -1 3 6 4 3
West Bromwich Albion 1 0 0 1 3 3 3
Manchester United 1 0 0 6 16 2 2
Newcastle United 2 1 0 3 5 2 2
Swansea City 2 3 0 2 3 2 2
Everton 1 0 -1 1 3 2 1
Manchester City 3 6 -1 2 6 2 1
Sunderland 1 1 -1 2 6 2 1
Tottenham Hotspur 1 1 1 5 12 0 1
Wolverhampton Wanderers 4 1 -2 2 3 3 1
Blackburn Rovers 4 4 0 2 3 0 0
Norwich City 2 1 -3 3 9 3 0
Stoke City 2 0 -2 2 2 2 0
Wigan Athletic 3 1 -2 2 1 1 -1
Arsenal 4 1 -4 4 10 2 -2
Bolton Wanderers 5 0 -2 0 0 0 -2
Aston Villa 1 0 -3 2 4 0 -3
Queens Park Rangers 7 3 -8 2** 3 0 -8
*with more than 10mins of normal time remaining
**Chelsea had 2 players sent off against QPR at Loftus Rd

*Sent off refers to my definition of sendings off with more than 10mins of normal time remaining.


One thought on “Premier League 2011-12: Game changers pt2

  1. Pingback: MCFC Analytics–Summary of blog posts #3 « Analyse Football

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