By 90Min
November 28, 2017

Finally, something about stats that doesn't make Jeff Stelling go all red in the face and start shouting about 'the way things used to be'. Good, eh?

Well, good for everyone except Swansea - because a dive into the last 10 years of Premier League results shows that, now more than ever, teams are more likely to get relegated because of a misfiring attack than a leaky defence. 

For years now, the accepted wisdom has been that if a team is well organised and well set up defensively, they'll probably be alright. In the relegation zone at Christmas but just losing games 1 and 2 nil? They just need to grab a couple of goals in the run-in and they'll stay up - after all, it's the solid base that matters, right?

Historically, that's been the case. Over the last 10 years of the Premier League, the relegated teams have been the ones with the poor defences - the trio dropping out of the league finishing with, on average, the 17.57th best defence in the league. You're looking at two of the three worst defences going down pretty much every season between 2008 and 2014. 

Goalscoring wasn't really a saving grace in that time either - relegated teams sitting right about 16th in the scoring charts, suggesting that a tight defence and willingness to just nick a goal or two in tight games was genuinely a team's best chance of staying up. And so, Tony Pulis and Sam Allardyce flourished. 

But since then...things have changed somewhat. 

In the last three seasons, those historic trends have more or less flipped - teams going down despite much better defences (avg. 16.44th) and worse attacks (avg. 17.56th), suggesting that the goalposts for struggling sides have moved seismically in the last few years. 

Keeping it tight just doesn't really work anymore, you have to be able to snatch wins rather than just draws. Adventure is rewarded, although it's worth noting that at no point in the last 10 seasons has the team with the worst defence stayed up. 

Applied to this season, that puts a couple of teams in trouble. Swansea look about as doomed as doomed can be, in the relegation zone and sinking fast, but it's Huddersfield who these numbers suggest might be the next team to be dragged down into a real dogfight. Scoring just nine goals this season, they're just 18th in the scoring charts this season despite sitting 11th in the table. 

Just five points ahead of West Ham in the final relegation spot (13th in goals scored, if you're counting), the Hammers have the potential to pull together a string of wins and rocket up a packed bottom half of the table while Huddersfield flounder with a succession of snatched draws and narrow defeats.

Oh, and that guaranteed relegation for the team with the worst defence? That's Everton right now. One to keep an eye on.

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