Speaking on BBC 5 journalist Rory Smith suggested the absence of fans in stadiums is a factor in the “strange start to the season”: “It is a little piece of chaos that has been dropped in,” he said.
Presenter Mark Chapman said: “I have spoken to cricketers and other athletes this summer and it is easier for your mind to wonder if there is not a crowd to keep your concentration up.
“Alan Shearer and Jermaine Jenas were talking about the adrenaline you get from a crowd. Maybe that adrenaline drops slightly when the crowd isn’t there.”
Sports psychologist Michael Caulfield said: “Football is a game based on threat, fear, and that has disappeared with no fans in the stadium. Plus, teams like Sheffield United or Crystal Palace, with a loyal set of fans that back them up as they feel lucky to be part of the Premier League, miss the arousal of the fans in the same way Freddie Mercury would miss the audience.”
‘Awful defending and terrible goalkeeping’
Former Premier League striker Chris Sutton disagrees that the absence of fans explains the number of goals.
“The standard of defending in the Premier League is awful and there is terrible goalkeeping,” he said.
“It is not because there isn’t a crowd there – that is not the reason. The standard of defending has dropped dramatically. There is an argument to say if there was a crowd at Aston Villa and Adrian, after his first mistake, how much worse could he have been with a crowd there?”
Ex-Manchester City defender Micah Richards agrees:
“It is a cop-out, even if fans were there, the scores would have been the same. I have been with Man City and it was the same score [6-1 against Manchester United]. There were fans there then.”
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