As the international break ends and crowds flock back to Premier League and EFL stadiums, we’ve quantified exactly which sets of fans have the most entertainment to look forward to.
We’ve measured how exciting matches staged at each ground have been in recent years across a range of factors, from the obvious (like how many goals are scored) to the subtle (like how many managers lose their jobs after a match).
Every one of the English football stadiums has been ranked, both overall and within their current division, to inform the discerning spectator.
Quique Sanchez Flores’ surprise return to Watford is just the latest in a long line of dramatic events at Vicarage Road, which by our calculations is the most exciting stadium in the top flight. Since the Premier League era began in 1992, no current ground has seen both teams find the net more often and only Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane has seen players sent off more frequently. Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea, is second and Newcastle’s St James’ Park third, with both among the overall top 10 for total goals scored and the top five for the frequency with which hat-tricks are registered.
The three most exciting grounds in the Championship have all become second-tier grounds very recently. Newly-promoted Luton’s Kenilworth Road edges out Craven Cottage and Oakwell thanks to a surfeit of high-scoring games and its reputation for cup upsets. Only two current stadiums have had a shorter average wait between games containing five or more goals and only one (the Etihad) sees hat-tricks scored more frequently. Furthermore, the Hatters have dumped 15 higher-division sides out of either the FA Cup or League Cup during the Premier League era.
The third tier should be the most gripping this season, given that three of the four most exciting stadiums in English professional football host its matches. The Crown Ground – home of the irrepressible Accrington Stanley – is currently the best place in the country for drama, seeing the fewest goalless draws and ranking third for the frequency of goals scored from outside the box. Accrington’s home is also one of only five current stadiums to have seen at least 40% of the FA Cup and League Cup ties staged there between teams in different divisions end in an upset.
Swindon’s County Ground narrowly edges out Vale Park as the most entertaining venue in League Two, as one of the two grounds which sees more frequent long-range goals than Accrington’s and also the scene of 15 cup upsets since 1992 (which only four other stadiums can beat). Port Vale’s home has the dubious honour of witnessing more relegations – eight – than any other current Premier League or EFL ground.
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