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How is the Premier League season shaping up at the halfway point?

How is the Premier League season shaping up at the halfway point?
© Reuters
There are some interesting statistics surrounding the 2020-21 Premier League campaign.

This season's Premier League looks as wide open as ever before as it arrives at its halfway stage.

Eleven teams have now played 19 of their 38 games, with 184 out of 380 matches in the books overall.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at how the season is shaping up statistically.

All to play for at the top

With only six points separating the top four in the table and eight points covering the top seven, this is one of the closest ever races for the title and Champions League places.

Leaders Manchester United, on 40 points, are two points clear of Manchester City, who have a game in hand, and Leicester with defending champions Liverpool a further four back. Tottenham have 33 points from 18 matches, Everton 32 from just 17 and seventh-placed West Ham 32 from 19.

The smallest ever gap from first to fourth at the end of a Premier League season was seven points, in both 1996-97 and 2013-14, while the former season saw a record-low 16 points covering the top six – both records could come under threat this term.

Liverpool last season amassed 99 points, a record 40 more than Tottenham in sixth and 33 clear of fourth-placed Chelsea, the latter figure one off the record of 34 in 2004-05.

Home advantage is dead

Percentage of goals scored by home teams in English top flight by season
Home and away teams have never been more evenly-matched (PA graphic)

There have been 70 games won by home teams and 71 by away teams this season, with 43 draws, while home teams have scored 252 goals to 249 for visiting sides.

Those figures point to a continued decline in home advantage, with all bar a handful of games this season played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The lowest ever cumulative goal difference in favour of home teams was plus-108 in 2015-16, putting the current plus-three mark in context. Home teams have scored only 50.3 per cent of the goals, a figure which has never been lower than 55 per cent for a full season in English football history.

The home win rate over the previous 10 Premier League seasons averaged 45.7 per cent, with even the low point during that time of 41.3 per cent in 2015-16 looking under threat as this season's figure stands at 38 per cent.

Scoring has stabilised

The scoreboard shows Aston Villa's 7-2 win over Liverpool
Aston Villa's stunning rout of Liverpool headlined an early scoring burst, but things have since returned to normal (Catherine Ivill/PA)

After a free-scoring start to the new season threatened to rewrite the record books, things have settled down considerably.

Going into the October international break there had been 3.79 goals per game and only 17 clean sheets while there was not a goalless draw until October 19, when West Brom and Burnley met in the 47th game of the top-flight season. Hat-tricks were also coming at a rapid rate, with five in those first 38 games – the quickest that mark has ever been reached.

There have been only two more since then, though, while goals per game is down to 2.72 and there have been 13 0-0 draws – over seven per cent of all matches, and almost two-thirds of the way to last season's final total of 21.

The Golden Boot remains firmly up for grabs – Liverpool's Mohamed Salah leads the way with 13 but has gone five games without scoring, with Tottenham duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-min just one behind. Bruno Fernandes, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Jamie Vardy have 11 apiece with Leeds' Patrick Bamford on 10.

Slow start to sack race

Slaven Bilic, right
Slaven Bilic, right, is the only manager to depart the Premier League this season (Nick Potts/PA)

While speculation continues to surround the futures of Frank Lampard and Steve Bruce at Chelsea and Newcastle respectively, just one Premier League manager has lost his job so far this season.

West Brom sacked Slaven Bilic just before Christmas, replacing him with Sam Allardyce, but the occupants of top-flight dugouts are otherwise the same as they were in September.

The lowest ever number of managerial changes in a Premier League season is two, way back in 1995-96, while there have been at least seven in every completed season since 2010-11 including three double-figure totals in that span, so this season is a significant outlier in that regard.

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