Posts Tagged ‘Wembley’
Four more clubs are set to make their debuts at the new Wembley stadium this weekend, with Borussia Dortmund taking on Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday evening and Watford playing Crystal Palace in the Championship play-off final on Monday. That will take the total number of club teams to have appeared at Wembley since it re-opened in 2007 to 82. Chelsea and Manchester United have by far the most Wembley appearances, with both now in double figures, ahead of Manchester City in a distant third place and Chelsea, with a win percentage of 66.7% from their 12 appearances have been the most successful visitors, winning on 8 occasions.
For those of you trying to predict the outcome of this weekend’s matches, here’s a table showing frequency of each scoreline from finals and semi finals at the new Wembley. As you can see, there are likely to be goals, as only four of the 76 matches to date have ended 0-0 (although that is the most common scoreline for a draw). In fact, the average number of goals per game in club matches at the new Wembley Stadium is 2.71. The most common score is 1-0, closely followed by 2-1 and then 2-0 but if you feel there’s going to be a higher scoring encounter then 3-2 is a good bet as that has been the result on 8 occasions (10.5% of the time).
Four teams who have appeared more than once at the new Wembley still have a 100% win ratio. They are Whitley Bay (from three games) and Swansea City, Crewe Alexandra and Wigan Athletic (from two games). There are nine teams who have a 0% win ratio from more than one appearance at the stadium – they are Arsenal, Aston Villa, Brentford, Cambridge, Grimsby, Sheffield United, Shrewsbury, Swindon and West Brom – all from two games. Of them, Cambridge, Sheffield United, Swindon and West Brom have all failed to score on either of their appearances. The most prolific team are Whitley Bay, averaging 3.67 goals per game, and Swansea City, on 4.5 goals per game.
The full table is below, ordered by appearances, wins and then goals scored.
The new English domestic season kicked off this weekend, with the return of football league action plus the traditional Wembley curtain raiser – the FA Community Shield. This heralded the start of the fifth season of action at the new national stadium since its completion in time for the end-of-season finals in 2006-07, and this will be its busiest season yet, culminating with the UEFA Champions League final in May 2011.
This year’s Community Shield was the 44th competitive club match since the re-opening* and fittingly it featured the two clubs that have made the new stadium their second home: Chelsea (with a record 9 appearances) and Manchester United (with 8 appearances). In fact, Manchester United have played in all four of the Community Shield matches since the event moved to the new Wembley, winning three and losing one of them. In that period, the team that has won the Shield has always gone on to win the league, so Alex Ferguson will take great heart from his side’s 3-1 victory yesterday.
A grand total of 51 club teams have earned the honour of running out onto the new Wembley turf (which finally seems to be a decent playing surface) in the four and a bit years since the stadium opened. The most notable absentees from that list are Liverpool and Manchester City, who will both be hoping they can put that record right sooner rather than later. 18 teams have now played at the stadium on more than one occasion, with debt stricken Portsmouth the third most frequent visitors (5 times) followed by Stevenage, Cardiff and Tottenham (3 times each).
Of the 18 teams who have visited more than once, only two have managed to keep a 100% winning record at English football’s biggest venue and it seems it’s good news if you’re a northern seaside resort – Blackpool and Whitley Bay are the undefeated pair. It’s not such good news for Aston Villa, York, Shrewsbury, Cambridge and West Brom – they are the five teams to have played at the new Wembley more than once and failed to win on either occasion, with Cambridge and West Brom failing to even find the net on any of their visits.**
Comfortably the biggest win at the new Wembley is Whitley Bay’s 6-1 trouncing of Wroxham in the 2009-10 FA Vase final. The next biggest margins of victory are Southampton’s 4-1 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy thrashing of Carlisle United and Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Aston Villa, both also in the 2009-10 season. By far the most common scoreline (including after extra time) is 1-0, which has happened on 13 occasions (or 29.5% of the time), followed by 2-1 (on 7 occasions). In total, 113 goals have now been scored in competitive club football at the new Wembley at an average of 2.57 goals per game. Chelsea’s 14 is easily the biggest contribution from a single club.
There have only been five new-Wembley penalty shoot-outs to date and incredibly Manchester United have been involved in them all, winning three and losing two. United have also been a participant in all three 0-0 draws thus far at the new Wembley.
The full record for the teams who have made more than one appearance at the new Wembley Stadium is shown below:
*The full list of competitive club matches played at the stadium is: FA Cup final and semi finals, League Cup Final, Community Shield, Championship, League One, League Two and Conference Play-Off Finals, FA Trophy Final, FA Vase Final and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final.
**In the event of a draw, we took into account the result after extra time and penalties – there are only winners and losers in club football at Wembley.
Some people may continue to question the importance and value of the FA Cup to English football. Certain clubs have selected under-strength teams in the competition and maybe haven’t given it the respect it deserves. It is known as the ‘greatest cup competition in the world’ for a reason, and the beauty of the tournament has been there for everyone to see over the last few weeks.
Those teams who fielded under-strength sides will almost certainly look on with envy when they sit down and watch the final on May 15th. There is something special about the FA Cup final. The history, the tradition, the whole Wembley experience, and that doesn’t come around too often.
While a few teams have tried to undermine the FA Cup, matches in the last few weeks have gone to prove there is still something special about the competition. High levels of passion, commitment and desire have been shown both on the pitch and in the stands, with the Leeds v Tottenham fourth round replay being a perfect example. Both teams were desperate to win the game on the field whilst in the stands both sets of fans made so much noise and showed the watching world that this competition matters.
The FA Cup is famous for it’s ‘David v Goliath’ shock results, and this season there hasn’t been a shortage of those. Notts County beating Wigan Athletic, Leeds United winning at Old Trafford to defeat Manchester United, Reading overcoming first Liverpool and then Burnley. Results like these simply cannot be predicted and it is that unpredictability that keeps everybody on the edge of their seat and that’s what gives the FA Cup it’s magic.
The oldest cup competition in club football is alive and kicking, don’t let Sir Alex Ferguson or anyone else convince you otherwise.