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Is There Any Such Thing as a "Home Kit" Advantage?

Football pundits often like to talk about the home advantage, and how a team playing at their own ground immediately holds the upper hand. Some take the philosophy a little further and look at the success of a team in their home or away kit – and this is where the next post on our blog comes into play.

To celebrate the launch of the new 2014/15 football kits, we’ve scoured all 380 matches of the last Premier League campaign to see just how teams fare when they are not playing in their traditional home strip. As you can see, some teams seem to experience significantly better results in their second (or even third) kit, while it can affect others in the completely opposite way. Through the next few minutes, we’ll delve into the stats in more detail.

Is an ‘away kit’, really an ‘away kit’?

As the name suggests, away kits are designed for away fixtures. Unless there is a huge overlap between two strips, it’s almost unheard of for a side to don their away kit whilst playing at their home venue.

However, as the data below shows, most teams prefer to only wear their away strip when it is absolutely necessary. On average, teams across the division wore their away kit for nine matches a season – which is less than half of the total number of away fixtures. Still, half of the division wore their away jersey more than their home strip on their travels, showing that it does indeed serve its purpose.

Of course, there were extremes. In the case of Crystal Palace, the Eagles donned either their away or third kit on no fewer than thirteen occasions. Arsenal and Sunderland were next in line having worn their strip twelve times, before most of the teams seemed to conform to the average figure that we’ve just mentioned. At the other end of the scale, Norwich, Chelsea and Everton deviated away from their home kit on just five occasions.

We should also point out that out of the top six sides on the chart, five of them wear a striped home kit. Unsurprisingly, stripes prompt more colour clashes, which therefore enforce more away kit appearances. Arsenal were the only exception, with the Gunners being one of the few clubs who seemingly don their alternate strips as often as possible, regardless of clashes.

Away Kits: The only way the title will head to North London?!

Arsenal and Tottenham have been trying to get their hands on the title for years (decades, in the case of Spurs). Perhaps, ahead of the 2014/15 season, both clubs could try and don their second and third strips a little more. As the following stats highlight, both clubs recorded more wins than anyone else whilst playing in their alternate colours.

At the opposite end of the table the situation is somewhat bleaker though. In the case of Norwich, the Canaries failed to win a single game when they didn’t play in their traditional yellow jersey, although in all fairness they only managed two victories on the road in their normal colours.

In fact, away kit struggles seemed to be commonplace amongst all of the lowly 2013/14 teams. As the chart shows, all three of the relegated sides accumulated the fewest victories in their away kit – managing just two between them. This means that Cardiff, Fulham and Norwich tasted just two wins out of twenty five matches when wearing their alternate colours - perhaps food for thought as they prepare for their campaign in the Championship next month.

To conclude this section of the post, you could say that Crystal Palace’s experiences in their alternate kit were hardly inspiring either. They lost more times than any other team in the division, although this was offset by the three wins they accumulated and the fact that they wore their away kits on more occasions than any other side.

The entertainment factor: how many goals do away kits produce?

Again, it’s something of a novelty statistic – but something that rolls off the tongues of a lot of commentators. Arsenal once more came out on top of this next stat, with the Gunners scoring more goals than any other team in the division whilst playing in their alternate kit.

However, perhaps a more telling factor arrives in the goals per game statistic. Manchester City and Liverpool topped this table, with both clubs scoring an average of 2.33 goals whenever they wore their alternate strip. Arsenal meanwhile, scored an average of 1.83 goals in their secondary kit – although this was still a better average than the occasions when they donned their home shirt, with this being at 1.64 goals per game.

There was evidence to suggest that Norwich, Fulham and Cardiff should all look to stick to their home strips whenever possible when they start their Championship campaigns as well. These were the least prolific teams in the division and in the case of Cardiff, the Bluebirds had an awful goals per game average of 0.3 whenever they drifted away from their standard red home jersey.

Two of those bottom three were also leaking goals and in terms of goals against per game; Norwich and Fulham had respective averages of 2.6 and 2.8 which was significantly higher than anyone else. Everton boasted the lowest in the division but with the Toffees rarely turning out in their alternate strip, we’ll award the most impressive stat to Manchester United who have a 0.9 goals against average when they don’t play in their home strip. Perhaps something that Louis van Gaal can bear in mind?

So, do away strips give any sort of advantage?

We’ll leave you to decide whether or not away kits really can prompt a difference, although if we analyse them against home strips some teams certainly fare more successfully. In fact, if we are going to be specific, there were five top flight teams who recorded better point per game statistics in their alternate strips, as opposed to their standard home one.

The pick of the five was Tottenham, who have a PPG average of 2.22, against their usual 1.88. Spurs also had the joint highest win percentage statistic, having won 66.6% of the games when they hadn’t donned their famous white kit.

In terms of drastic differences, there could be a very good reason why Chelsea attempt to stick to their home kit as much as possible. The Blues have a 2.27 PPG average in their blue strip, whereas when they turn to one of their other options this drops to 1.4.

At the bottom, it gets even bleaker for Norwich City supporters. The Canaries managed just a 0.2 PPG average in the games where they donned their alternate strip, which is yet another statistic which shows just why they endured such a torrid campaign.

The final findings

Unsurprisingly, some clubs appear more suited to their away strips than others, with Tottenham again being the prime example. Whether or not there is any solid correlation will remain debatable, but the stats do make for interesting reading and if nothing else, show us just how much value for money these alternative kits give to the fans who buy them.