Watching the Leicester vs. Crystal Palace match Monday night I was struck by Leicester’s resilience and, perhaps, what they have learned from last season. I was also thinking about why they are exciting to watch. It seemed that they could often turn matches around.
As a football supporter, this is where the heartache often lies for me. Yes, losing a match late on is stinging. But losing a match from a winning position brings a certain type of psychological pain – maybe there’s some loss aversion going on.
The table below shows the data for EPL clubs over the last two seasons on this topic. The ‘for’ column shows the number of times a club won from a losing position and the ‘against’ column shows the number of times clubs lost from a winning position. It is sorted by ‘against’ (decreasing) and then by ‘for’ (increasing). This might give us some insight as to which fans have it hardest.
Spare a thought for Aston Villa fans and those who follow the Saints. Over this season and last, they have lost from winning positions 8 times. Villa fans have only seen their team turn it around 3 times.
Manchester United fans should be very happy. They have regularly shown great resilience, coming from behind (especially away from home) and have only suffered a turnaround once - against Tottenham at home this season.
Some clubs feature quite low on the list a) because they may be not even good enough to get ahead in the first place and b) because they are too good to go behind.
My intuition was right - Leicester are joint top for turning matches around, along with Liverpool.
I'll follow up on this soon and looked at how the psychological pain might be ramped up by losing from a winning position late on.