Will Fans Returning to Premier League Grounds Give Any Advantage to Home Teams?
There was a huge boost for football fans recently when the UK Government announced that supporters would be allowed back into grounds starting from December 3. The number of fans permitted is based on the tier system that is currently in place in the UK.
Those in Tier 1, of which there are no professional clubs yet, are allowed 4000 fans inside their ground, or 50% of their attendance if this is smaller.
Tier 2 clubs, which includes some Premier League teams are allowed 2000 while those in Tier 3, the highest regions for infections, are not allowed any fans just yet.
But what kind of impact is this going to have on the Premier League, will we see any team gain an advantage from the new rules that are in place?
No Advantage in Terms of Fan Support
Premier League clubs play inside big grounds, and at the moment just 2000 are allowed to attend games. This will equate to no benefit in terms of fan support.
Even when this goes up to 4000, having that amount of people spread out inside a 40000-seater stadium is going to do little to create an atmosphere.
This shouldn’t change the game outcome too much and have no impact on placing Premier League bets. We will still see the best team win more often than not and continue to see away teams winning over 40% of games, which they are doing now.
Of course, those who are lucky enough to attend a game over the coming weeks are going to love being there and will enjoy every moment. In terms of the bigger picture though, don’t expect to see too much of a change.
The Nerves of Playing in Front of Fans
This is the only aspect of fans returning that could have an impact on things. Even just a small number of fans will cause nerves to players who feel like they are struggling.
For example, Manchester United have had a rocky start to the new season, performing on occasions and struggling on others.
On a bad run, even with just 2000 fans in the crowd, players would feel the discontent from their fans, at the minute they have none of that to contend with.
This would be nothing like what we have seen in the past, with packed crowds putting pressure in players, but it is certainly something to think about when watching games, picking out selections and trying to back some winners.
Further Increases Later in the Season?
This is certainly something to keep an eye on. As we progress and move out of this wave of the Covid-19 crisis, the Government will be looking to open up more and that will likely include more fans being allowed into grounds, especially in the Premier League.
Don’t be surprised if we see the numbers double, and with more areas expected to fall into Tier 1 over the coming weeks and months, that could mean 8000 fans inside grounds towards the end of the season.
This would certainly make an impact, especially on those at the bottom of the Premier League table.
For example, a team like Sheffield United are struggling at the moment and could find themselves in the relegation scrap. The potential for 8000 fans to back them in their final home games of the season would give them a far greater chance of staying up.
This would be magnified even more if others down there couldn’t have the same, so had no fans or only a small number backing them.
It is certainly a situation to watch, and one that could go as far as deciding the winners and losers this season.
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