MOTD running order: The vital statistics

Date published: Tuesday 17th May 2016 8:51

Gary Lineker Leicester

Stoke were bottom of the Match of the Day running order more times than any other club during the 2015-16 campaign.

Despite a third successive top-half finish that featured the attacking talents of Bojan Krkic, Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic, Mark Hughes’ side closed the BBC’s Premier League highlights show on nine occasions.

West Brom were next on the list, on last eight times, while Bournemouth, Everton and Swansea all received bottom billing on seven occasions as every club except Arsenal and Manchester City ended the programme at least once.

Stoke opened the programme on three occasions – home wins over Chelsea and Manchester City as well as December’s thrilling 4-3 win at Everton.

But between September 26 and December 12 – a period of time in which the Potters went from 18th to 11th in the table – they were shown last six times in nine appearances.

Potters boss Hughes was not shocked to learn the news.

He said: “That is no surprise at all. I think it happens every year, and we have been in the top 10 (in the Premier League) for three years and still can’t shift that title.

“Over the course of a season you would expect to be on (high up) so many times, but for whatever reason we get slipped back in the running order.

“But we don’t really bother too much about it – and I think people probably watch other football shows these days anyway, so don’t read too much significance into it.”

The Press Association Sport survey looked at every Saturday night Premier League highlights programme throughout the season, as well as the finale on Sunday night and the midweek shows that aired on December 28, January 13, February 2 and March 2.

Unsurprisingly, champions Leicester’s fairytale season meant they were given top billing on more occasions than anyone else.

The Foxes were first eight times, including the season’s opening show when they beat Sunderland.

Should they lead the show on the opening day of the 2016-17 campaign, they will be introduced by a topless Gary Lineker after the former England international said in December he would present the first show of next season in his underwear if his boyhood club won the title.

Five of Leicester’s games in the top slot took place since the start of February, all of which were wins for Claudio Ranieri’s men.

The closest challengers to Leicester in being shown first were Manchester City, who opened the show seven times, while deposed champions Chelsea, relegated Norwich and Liverpool all topped the bill on six occasions.

Liverpool had the best ratio of any team with their six number one slots – all since Jurgen Klopp took charge in October – coming in just 16 appearances.

Aston Villa and West Brom were the only clubs not to be shown first during the campaign.

Third-placed Tottenham had just two top-billing appearances, the first of which came in March, although with just 19 total appearances they were the second-least featured club during the campaign.

Manchester City had the most appearances in the top three (21), with Arsenal (18) and Sunderland (16) next.

West Brom (four), Aston Villa (six) and Bournemouth (seven) had the least top-three airings.

As usual, the amount of goals shown appeared to have a bearing on where a game would feature, with the first game averaging 3.89 goals and the last 1.37.

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