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FeaturesSuper statto: Sears“Big four” fortresses keep the elite on top

“Big four” fortresses keep the elite on top


Fortress: Literally

By Brian Sears

30 January 2010


A feature of the domination of the Premier League in recent years by England’s “big four” clubs – Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool – has been how rarely any of that quartet have lost at home to “other” sides from outside their elite group.

This is the 18th season of the revamped league, and in all that time, the “big four” have suffered just 160 home defeats at their own “fortresses”, combined, in total, in that time, or about two per season each.

Not only that, but 52 of those 160 defeats have been inflicted on each other, leaving just 108 defeats for the “big four” at their own fortresses by the rest of the England combined in the league in 18 years. And 41 of those 108 came between 1992 and 1995, and in only one season since (2001-02) have “fortress” defeats reached double figures in total, with 10 that season.

The combined “big four” total defeats per season at home to “others” in the last six seasons, up to this season so far, starting with 2004-05, reads: 1-2-2-0-2-2.

Aston Villa lead the way in toppling the big guns on the their patches, with 12 wins in Premier League history in 71 visits to “big four” grounds. That gives them a win ratio of 16.9 per cent. The ratio has been bettered by a few clubs (Norwich and Barnsley both won 25 per cent of these games, from fewer matches), but no other club has as many as Villa’s dozen wins to date. See table below for full details.

Some of the Premier League’s biggest clubs outside the “big four” have struggled badly against the quartet they aspire to join. Tottenham, for example, have gone 66 consecutive trips to the big four without a win, while Everton have gone 42 games with no win on “big four” turf.

The only team who can add to their tally this weekend are Bolton, who play at fortress Anfield. Bolton’s record on “big four” grounds is three wins from 41 attempts to date, or a success rate of 7.1 per cent.



  • Neil Jung:

    Manchester City have actually won 3 out of 50, not 2, and their last win was 8 games ago, not 26.

  • admin:

    Neil, you are correct, and I apologise for the mistake, a production error. City’s last win at a big 4 “fortress” was indeed eight games ago, on 10 Feb 2008, at Old Trafford (rather memorably for any City fan), thanks to goals from Vassell and Benjani if I recall. And there’s no reason I should recall: I’m a Southampton fan. Ed (NH).
    PS: Thanks for reading, and please do pull us up on any errors; it is our policy to acknowledge and correct as soon as any come to our attention. We won’t change the table now, it would only confuse anyone reading your comment and this reply.

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