Binary matches are matches that finish 0-0, 1-0, 0-1, or 1-1.
Between the start of Premier League in 1992 and the end of the 2016/17 season there have been 3,750 binary matches, or 38% of the total.
Figure 1 suggests that the amount of binary football has been dropping over time.
Figure 1. Percentage of Binary Matches over Time.
But some campaigns have seen a much higher degree of binary football than others.
Table 1 shows the ten most binary campaigns since 1992; all the proportions are significantly greater than 38% at p <=.02 or higher. It is perhaps not surprising to see the early Arsenal sides had a fondness for binary football; they appear three times in the top ten, and the most binary campaign in Premier League history was the Arsenal campaign of 1998 when they finished 2nd in the League under Arsene Wenger.
Table 1. The Ten Most Binary Campaigns in the Premier League
We can also identify the most consistently binary and most consistently non-binary teams in the last 25 years. I calculated the overall percentage of binary matches for every team who had played more than 5 seasons in the Premier League.
Table 2 shows the abbreviated results. Strikingly, 6 of the 8 most binary teams come from the Midlands. OK, I’m including Sheffield here, which some people might argue is in the North because it is in Yorkshire. But its only just in Yorkshire; and the fact is that Sheffield, Coventry, Aston, Birmingham, and Stoke-on-Trent all lie within a 35-mile radius of Derby, the geographical hub of elite binary football in England.
Anyway propping up the table, Liverpool and Manchester United have historically been the two least binary teams in the Premier League. Why am I not surprised?