Premier League Festive Football

Published: Dec 6, 4:05pm Last Updated: Dec 8, 5:59pm Premier League 1 Comment 138 Views

The festive period is one of the highlights of British football, with the relentless calendar kicking into overdrive to provide holiday entertainment for all.

Not only does it provide respite from the dinner table and family feuds, but it is also when the season really starts to take shape with title challengers and relegation candidates looking to state their credentials.

In 2021/22, there are set to be five matchdays for each Premier League side in the space of just 18 days between December 16 and January 1, which will go a long way to deciding the results of the season, and it's a period in which some teams thrive, and others do not. If you will be betting over this period, here are some of the stats to take into account. 

The winners and losers of Premier League festive football

Some teams use the momentum of regular fixtures to build up a head of steam and kick-start their season while some find it hard to rest and rotate in order to keep their players fresh, while individual players have a long history of securing bans over the festive period so that they can enjoy their celebrations guilt-free.

We ran the data on all Premier League fixtures going back to the creation of the league in 1992 to find out how the performances of clubs differ in December and January in comparison to their regular records, and have looked at how the trends in cards shown and goals scored change during this relentless period.

There is a famous graphic that does the rounds on social media of the Boxing Day fixtures in 1963 which saw 66 goals scored in just 10 top-flight matches - but is this just the odd one out, or does festive football really provide more entertainment?

The data however, actually shows that there are fewer cards shown on average over the festive period than throughout the rest of the season, while there are only slightly more goals scored per game - up from 1.19 per game to 1.22 - during that time.

There are slightly more wins in December than normal - 32.04% of all matches end in a win compared to 31.74%, a rise of 0.3% - but it is the records of individual teams that are the most startling.

Premier League Teams With The Best & Worst Records Over The Christmas Period

When counting teams to have played at least 10 games over the period, Manchester United unsurprisingly have the best win percentage of 62.65% - just a 0.83% rise on their overall win percentage - followed by Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham.

However of those top teams, the Gunners, City and Chelsea actually perform worse over Christmas than in general - despite their huge resources and massive squads available to facilitate rest over the succession of matches.

Arsenal are one of the most successful teams in the history of the Premier League with a win rate of 54.22% overall, but that drops by 4.5% to 49.69% over the period, while their goals output drops by 0.12 per game.

Of all the teams included in the final data, it is Birmingham fans who celebrate most during the holidays thanks to their team who up their usual win rate of 27.44% by a massive 12.56% to 40%, while Wimbledon and Sheffield Wednesday also enjoyed good spells in the Premier League.

Of all current top-flight teams, Wolves are the most improved side so could be ones to watch out for in 2021, while Norwich could be handed hope of a relegation escape if their festive results rise as they have done in the past - their win rate increases on average by 5.12%.

Team All Time win rate Festive record win rate Difference
Birmingham 27.44% 40.00% 12.56%
Wimbledon 31.02% 43.24% 12.22%
Sheffield Weds 31.39% 42.50% 11.11%
Wolves 28.57% 38.46% 9.89%
Charlton 30.59% 39.13% 8.54%
Swindon 11.90% 20.00% 8.10%
Coventry 27.56% 34.88% 7.32%
Sunderland 25.16% 31.03% 5.87%
Blackburn 37.00% 42.55% 5.55%
Norwich 22.88% 28.00% 5.12%
Liverpool 52.73% 57.06% 4.32%
Tottenham 43.37% 46.30% 2.92%
Bournemouth 29.47% 32.26% 2.78%
Ipswich 28.13% 30.77% 2.64%
Cardiff 22.37% 25.00% 2.63%
Burnley 27.84% 29.55% 1.71%
QPR 27.12% 28.21% 1.09%
Man United 61.82% 62.65% 0.83%
Watford 25.27% 25.64% 0.37%
Derby 25.56% 25.64% 0.08%
Stoke 30.53% 30.36% -0.17%
Everton 36.70% 36.02% -0.68%
Sheffield United 25.00% 24.14% -0.86%
Wigan 27.96% 26.67% -1.29%
Huddersfield 15.79% 14.29% -1.50%
Brighton 25.16% 23.08% -2.08%
Leicester 33.91% 31.76% -2.14%
Portsmouth 29.70% 27.50% -2.20%
Chelsea 54.49% 52.15% -2.35%
Middlesbrough 28.95% 26.03% -2.92%
Newcastle 36.79% 33.77% -3.01%
Southampton 31.00% 27.87% -3.13%
Man City 48.71% 45.52% -3.18%
West Ham 33.37% 30.14% -3.23%
Aston Villa 33.47% 30.22% -3.26%
Leeds 41.61% 37.68% -3.93%
West Brom 23.68% 19.44% -4.24%
Arsenal 54.22% 49.69% -4.52%
Nott'm Forest 32.05% 27.27% -4.78%
Swansea 30.83% 25.58% -5.25%
Bolton 30.16% 23.94% -6.22%
Crystal Palace 28.90% 21.54% -7.37%
Hull 21.58% 13.79% -7.79%
Fulham 28.42% 20.48% -7.94%
Reading 28.07% 20.00% -8.07%
Overall 31.74% 32.04% 0.30%

Premier League Teams And Players Seeing Red Over The Christmas Period

Using further analysis of red cards shown in the festive period, 103 red cards have been shown in the past nine seasons in December/January, however when considering how many players actively pursue suspensions in order to enjoy a little time off, the results are even more interesting.

Of these 103, 39 of them were shown in the last 10 minutes of matches while 12 of the 39 were shown in the period in which matches come thick and fast - a week either side of December 25.

Paul Konchesky is guilty of two red cards around Christmas, sent off twice for Leicester on December 7th and December 28th in the final 10 minutes of the 2014/15 season.

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