Are certain teams favoured when it comes to the Match of the Day running order?

Planet Sport has analysed the match scheduling from the 2021/22 Premier League season to settle a few arguments

The Match of the Day running order provokes almost as much debate as the matches themselves with accusations of bias rife.

Fans of the Premier League's more unfashionable clubs regularly moan of having to sit through the entire Saturday fixture list before their game's highlights are broadcast, seemingly as an afterthought, while Manchester United are first up no matter what.

But is there anything in it? Do United hog the opening slot? Are Burnley always on last and do league placings correlate to the running order?

Planet Sport looked at the match scheduling from the 24 Saturday Match of the Days, two midweek specials and the December 26 edition to find out.

And for the purpose of this, we will be ignoring Match of the Day 2, sorry Chappers.

On first on Match of the Day

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne (right) celebrates with Raheem Sterling after scoring their side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Etihad Stadium, Manchester

Manchester City have actually been first up the most this season, kicking off proceedings nine times in 20 appearances.

However, it is probably no surprise to discover that it is actually Manchester United who hold the highest percentage of opening games to appearances.

United have featured in 15 Match of the Days in 2021/22 and have been the first game on eight occasions (53.3%).

Tottenham push the Red Devils close. A string of Sunday fixtures have meant just eight appearances, but four of those have been at the head of the flagship show.

Of the 20 top-flight clubs, only three have yet to feature in the opening game: Wolves, Aston Villa and Brighton.

On last on Match of the Day

Brentford manager Thomas Frank (right), Ivan Toney (centre) and Vitaly Janelt react after the Premier League match at the Brentford Community Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday November 28, 2021.

Brentford fans are the supporters with the biggest bags under their eyes, with six of their 18 appearances on the show coming as the last game.

Two sides in the relegation zone are next up, with Watford and Norwich having been last on five times. However, Canaries can boast one record from another disappointing season in the top flight as they have made the most appearances on the show - 22.

Manchester City and Liverpool fans have never had to wait until the last game to see their team in action, with Everton the only other side yet to be involved in the last game of the night.

Average appearance positions

While Manchester United may have the most appearances at the top of the running order, they are not leading the way when it comes to an average position across the season.

This is undoubtedly down to the Rangnick effect. Six of United's first eight appearances on the show were first-up, with the other two seeing them second for an average placing of 1.25.

However, since the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United's average has slipped to 2.4, with their fans sometimes having to wait until the fifth, six and even seventh game - the midweek clash with Burnley - to see their side's highlights.

    Apps First on Last on Average position
1 Tottenham 8 4 1 2
2 Liverpool 15 4 0 2.2
3= Manchester City 20 9 1 2.4
3= Manchester United 15 8 1 2.4
5 Chelsea 17 5 1 2.53
6 Everton 13 3 0 3.08
7 Arsenal 13 3 2 3.62
8 Leeds 16 3 4 3.69
9 Aston Villa 20 0 3 3.7
10 Norwich City 22 2 5 3.86
11 Leicester City 9 2 1 4
12 Watford 20 2 5 4.1
13 Crystal Palace 19 1 5 4.26
14 Brentford 18 1 6 4.39
15 West Ham 12 2 3 4.42
16 Burnley 16 1 3 4.56
17= Southampton 21 3 5 4.57
17= Wolves 14 0 2 4.57
19 Newcastle 19 1 3 4.58
20 Brighton 20 0 4 4.7

At the top of the pile it is Tottenham, whose paltry eight appearances on the show average out at exactly 2. Obviously a case of absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Liverpool are next on 2.2, with United and City level pegging on 2.4.

Chelsea (2.53) are fifth, with Everton, despite their on-field woes (or maybe because of them) sixth on 3.08.

At the other end of the scale, it is Brighton fans who can feel the most aggrieved, with the Seagulls' average position of 4.7 the worst in the division.

Newcastle (4.58), Southampton (4.57) and Wolves (4.57) are packed tightly together in 19th and joint 17th, while West Ham's sixth place in the Premier League is not reflected in their appearance slots on Match of the Day. The Irons have an average appearance position of 4.42, the 15th best in the division.

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