Data: How does Leicester’s home form compare without fans?
By James Wynn
With news coming this week that fans will be allowed back into outdoor sports stadiums in Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas, hope has been renewed that Leicester City supporters could return to the King Power Stadium before too long.
Common sense dictates that Premier League clubs’ home form has suffered since games were moved behind closed doors, so could the Foxes’ strong start to the season get even better should fans be allowed back through the turnstiles soon?
Since the King Power Stadium hosted the last Premier League game with a full crowd, a 4-0 victory over Aston Villa in March, they have played eight home Premier League games in an empty ground, winning four, drawing one and losing three, collecting 13 points.
Remarkably, this is more points than they collected in their last eight games in front of a full stadium, where they picked up just 11 points, although they had to face Liverpool and Manchester City in that period.
The Foxes have also conceded fewer goals without their support behind them. They have conceded an average of a goal per game in an empty King Power, while they conceded 11 goals in the eight games prior to lockdown.
This data is perhaps skewed, however, by a 4-0 defeat against Liverpool on Boxing Day.
Perhaps the biggest disparity in statistics between having fans and not, however, comes in the form of Leicester’s average time on the ball.
Usually regarded as a counter-attacking team (ie having less possession than their opponent), Leicester averaged 46.1 per cent possession between December and March.
However, since football resumed, the Foxes have had much more of the ball, averaging 11 per cent more than they enjoyed with supporters in the ground, and had a remarkable 70 per cent of the ball in their 3-0 defeat against West Ham in October.
This data perhaps indicates a change of style by Brendan Rodgers, who perhaps has decided his team needs to become more adventurous without the support of the King Power Stadium behind them, or has maybe encouraged his players to take more risks without risk of disgruntling the crowd.
The data shows that Leicester have ultimately had better results since fans left the King Power Stadium, meaning it may be a good thing that supporters may have to stay away from Leicester for a little while longer.