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27 Jun 2016 by TSZ

How do promoted teams in England get on in their opening fixtures?

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Previously here at TSZ we have looked at how promoted teams get on the season after promotion, i.e. do they survive or get relegated; however this time we will look at how teams get on in their opening 3 fixtures. We will specifically look at average points achieved, goals scored and goals conceded by splitting up the teams in terms of position they got promoted. We will look at the statistics for the Premier League, Championship, League 1 and League 2. Data shown will be averages per game using the stats from the opening three games over the last 10 years.

Premier League

There are three teams that get promoted to the Premier League, let us see which position has fared best in their opening three fixtures.


- We can see that the play-off winners have got off to the best start with an average 1.13 points per game. Will Hull City continue this trend and get off to the best start out of the promoted teams for the upcoming season?

- Interestingly despite the play- off winners averaging the highest amount of points, they have conceded the greater amount of goals and are not the highest goal scorers which goes to the teams promoted as Champions.

- The teams promoted as runner up have fared the worst with a lowly 0.70 points per game, scoring the fewest amount of goals with 0.77 per game.

Football League Championship

Similarly to the Premier League, three teams get promoted into the Championship from League 1. Let’s see which position has got off to the best start in the last 10 years.


- Teams promoted to the Championship as Champions of League 1 have got off to the best start, averaging 1.63 points per game whilst also having the best defensive record of promoted teams. A pointer to Wigan starting the best of the promoted teams in the Championship in the 2016/2017 season?

- The Play- off winners in League 1 promoted to the Championship has found the opening 3 games the most difficult with an average of 1.4 points per game. Whilst they also score the fewest goals, averaging 1.1 goals per game.

- Games involving the Runner up of League 1 to be promoted have been the most open, with the teams scoring the most goals per game while conceding the most too.

Football League 1

Four teams get promoted from League 2 into League 1; there are three automatic spots as well as the Play-off winner who make the jump up.


- Interestingly it is the League 2 Play-off winner that gets the best start in League 1, averaging 1.43 points per game to just beat the Champions of League 2 who average 1.40 points per game. Both Champions and Play- off winners of League 2 have the best tied defensive record with 1.13 goals conceded.

- The League 2 runner up has found the opening three games in League 1 the most difficult with 1.07 points per game.

- Teams promoted in the third automatic promotion spot have the more open games as they top the goals scored chart out of the promoted teams with 1.4 goals per game. Whilst also conceding the most goals with 1.6 goals conceded per game in their opening three fixtures.

Football League 2

Two teams are promoted from the National League into League 2 so let’s see how the Champions and Play- off winners adjust to early life in the Football League.

- The Play- off winners of the National League enjoy a better start to life in League 2 than the National League Champions. The Play-off winners have an average of 1.60 points per game, compared to the average of 1.23 points per game for the Champions.

- The Play-off winners have a better goal scoring record than the Champions with a 1.43 average goals per game compared to a 1.00 goal per game. They also have a better defensive record with 1.07 goals conceded per game compared to a 1.20 goals per game conceded by the Champions.

A sign that Grimsby Town will get off to a better start than Cheltenham Town in the 2016/2017 season perhaps?

On the whole, football fans will expect the team promoted as Champions to outperform the other promoted teams as they did for the whole of their promotion season; however this analysis has shown this isn’t always the case when we look at the opening three games of teams playing in a higher division. Only the Champions of League 1 moving up to play in the Championship have outperformed their fellow promoted teams in the opening three games. The Play-off winners have begun the best of the promoted teams, topping the charts when moving up to the Premier League from the Championship, moving up to League 1 from League 2 and moving up to League 2 from the National League. Only the League One play-off winners fared worse than the champions.

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