There is a full midweek Premier League programme across Tuesday and Wednesday, and it seems as if there was a directive to the away teams to not to wear their first-choice kits. The official Premier League Twitter account even went to the trouble of circulating the strip choices:
— Premier League (@premierleague) February 29, 2016
Let’s examine the games, one by one:
Aston Villa v Everton: Teams in blue often change against Villa, presumably because of the sleeves issue. Given how much we’ve seen Manchester City play Everton and Chelsea with both in home kits of late, the Toffees in white at Villa Park hardly seemed necessary.
Bournemouth v Southampton: Both with a good deal of red and away team changes, straightforward, no? Well, if Southampton ever wore white change shorts we’d say that their home shirt would be okay, but the PL probably disagree, given that Stoke had to create an emergency third lately.
Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion: Navy and white stripes change to red and black away to royal blue – solving a paper clash which didn’t exist in actuality. You wouldn’t ask Newcastle to change at the King Power Stadium, would you?
Norwich City v Chelsea: No, just no. Don’t even try to make a case for the green halves on the Norwich kit against Chelsea’s blue under the lights.
Sunderland v Crystal Palace: The only incidence in Tuesday’s games of the away team not changing. Following the PL’s logic, you might say that if Bournemouth v Southampton is a clash, this is too, especially with two sets of dark shorts and socks? Sunderland wore green at Selhurst Park as well.
The Black Cats have more white than red, though, so it wasn’t difficult to distinguish.
Arsenal v Swansea City: Swansea avoid change shorts and socks with their home shirt when they can and Arsenal often wear their away against teams in all-white, given their sleeves, shorts and socks. Far from the worst offenders.
Liverpool v Manchester City: Man City – wear home shirts (with last season’s mismatching shorts) at Goodison Park, wear black away kit at the Emirates and Anfield.
Manchester United v Watford: One of three home kit-v-home kit games – oddly too, given that Watford have rarely needed an excuse to change this season.
Stoke City v Newcastle United: Both in stripes, yes, but white shorts and socks against black shorts and socks would have allowed the home kits to function well together.
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur: Derby games as a rule tend to avoid changes unless absolutely necessary. Spurs’ march to the top of the table will be in their traditional navy and white.