Advantage Pool in derby at Goodison

Everton have claimed 25 of their 37 points this term at Goodison Park. But, without their hostile fans, things might be different.
Everton have claimed 25 of their 37 points this term at Goodison Park. But, without their hostile fans, things might be different.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Study on Bundesliga shows percentage of home wins more than halved without fans

LONDON • Carlo Ancelotti has been watching closed-door games in the Bundesliga since its restart after the coronavirus-enforced break, and he knows that teams no longer enjoy home advantage even at familiar grounds.

Data company Gracenote's study of the German top flight's "ghost games" has shown that the percentage of home wins has been sliced by more than half when matches are played without supporters.

Games won by home teams dropped from 43.3 per cent to 21.7 per cent, while away teams won 47.8 per cent of matches in the five rounds after the season resumption, compared to 34.8 per cent before the lockdown.

Ahead of tomorrow's Premier League derby clash at home against Liverpool, the Everton manager said that the situation might similarly play into the hands of the Reds, who need just two more wins to be crowned champions.

"We would like to play the derby at home with our supporters, of course," said Ancelotti, who managed Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga from 2016 to 2017.

"This is an advantage for Liverpool, to play at Goodison Park without our fans - and that is the same for any team going to play away.

"We are working to try to overcome this problem. I didn't speak with anybody in Germany but I have seen a lot of games. The statistics are something you have to consider.

"The crowd is the 12th man on the pitch. The fact you don't have them supporting you will make it more difficult for the home team."

Everton have claimed 25 of their 37 points this term at Goodison and Ancelotti is undefeated in five matches at the ground.

In normal circumstances, Liverpool would face a hostile crowd packed into the tight confines of Goodison but, with the game taking place behind closed doors, Everton's advantage is lost.

The odds are already stacked against the 12th-placed Toffees, who have not won a Merseyside derby since October 2010 and with the Reds in such impressive form this season.

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But at least the nightmare scenario for Evertonians of handing their rivals the Premier League title with a defeat tomorrow has disappeared.

Second-placed Manchester City's 3-0 win over Arsenal in Wednesday's return to action after the coronavirus stoppage means that Liverpool still need six points to secure their first league title in 30 years.

Victory at Goodison and then against Crystal Palace at Anfield on Wednesday would secure that first domestic triumph of the Premier League era.

But an Everton win or draw in the derby could leave the Reds still without their business completed before they face City on July 2.

Their lead, 22 points, is so great that the outcome of the title is barely in question. But the last thing they would want after a three-month stoppage would be to have yet more weeks of waiting to get the trophy in their hands.

"We are ready to go, but we have to be ready to face problems because there will be problems," Klopp told the club's website.

"Carlo Ancelotti has a specific way he wants his team to play and so, they will play as much football as we let them.

"We have to find challenges, win challenges, use gaps, find gaps and all that stuff. We have to play through, we have to be 100 per cent disciplined."

Ancelotti has confirmed Andre Gomes is fit after a minor knock in training, while Yerry Mina and Fabian Delph are in doubt.

Theo Walcott will be out for at least three weeks following abdominal surgery last week.

For Liverpool, Nathaniel Clyne and Xherdan Shaqiri remain on the sidelines, while Andy Robertson and Mohamed Salah are doubtful.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2020, with the headline 'Advantage Pool in derby at Goodison'. Print Edition | Subscribe