We’ve got something new for you this week, we’re calling “Numerical Advantage“. We’ve sifted through reams of cold, hard data and analyzed all the numbers that matter, in order to give you the edge in your Championship punting this weekend.
We’ve also got some brilliant scatter plot graphics, comparing each club’s attacking and defensive performances so far this season, so you can really see where the match-ups and mismatches are most likely to occur.
Numerical Advantage: Championship, 25th October 2015
Brighton v Preston
It’s hard to imagine Brighton’s unbeaten record being ended this weekend given Preston’s struggles up front. Simon Grayson’s side are the Championship’s least accurate shooters, getting just 23% of their efforts on target, which doesn’t bode well against the division’s second most restrictive defence. However they’ve been almost as good at sabotaging the efforts of their opponents, allowing the third fewest shots on target and racking up the third highest percentage of blocks, so they look capable of making their hosts work hard here. Brighton to win and one or two total goals in the match looks to be good value at
Charlton v Brentford
I’m not expecting a fast start here, given that both of these clubs have taken a while to get going this season. Only one of Charlton’s league goals has come in the first half – and that was in the 40th minute – while 10 of Brentford’s 15 have come after half time. Both sides should be able to get on the scoresheet eventually given the poor state of the other’s defence: these two have allowed more shots than anyone else in the division and shutting opponents out has been a problem. Charlton have conceded in each of their last nine matches while Brentford only kept their first clean sheet of the season in midweek. It’s hard to pick a winner with both teams struggling but it’s tempting to take a punt on three or more goals in the second half at
Fulham v Reading
Reading have given a masterclass in controlling matches this season, allowing a ridiculously low number of shots and taking the third most themselves, with the result that they’ve yet to concede more than once. Fulham have been almost the exact opposite, giving up around three more shots per match than they’ve taken and allowing more shots on target than anyone else: around five and a half per match. Given that Reading have already scored seven goals inside the first quarter of an hour so far, they could be out of sight by half time here – they can be backed to be winning at both half time and full time at
Hull v Birmingham
Gary Rowett appears to be some kind of managerial sorcerer. Based on the number of chances they’ve created and allowed, Birmingham look distinctly unimpressive and it’s tempting to conclude that they’re riding their luck, but given that they’ve been overachieving ever since he took charge it’s looking increasingly likely that something else is going on. He’s certainly made them a force to be reckoned with in the air – the five headers they’ve scored from 24 attempts gives them the division’s best conversion rate – and that’s where five of the eight goals conceded by Hull’s otherwise formidable defence this season have come from, so it’s tempting to back them to get on the scoresheet here at least. You can back Birmingham or the draw at
These are a quick visual way to compare all of the clubs in the division. On the horizontal axis we have quantity (how many shots each club has taken or faced) and on the vertical we have quality (how many shots on average it takes them to score or concede). The axes themselves sit on the averages, which divides each graphic into four labelled quadrants.
Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest nicely illustrate the extremes here. The Owls look to be patiently picking their moment: they take around three fewer shots per match than the average team, but also require around three fewer attempts to score each goal. Forest meanwhile have fired in around four more shots per match than the average side but need almost twice as many to find the net.
Graphics – Defensive Effectiveness
Reading’s defence has been frankly amazing this season, restricting opponents to fewer than eight efforts per match when the average side allows over five more; Charlton meanwhile have had to deal with over twice as many. Relegated Hull and QPR have both faced a relatively average number of shots this season but have dealt with them very differently: it’s taken around seven attempts on average to score past Rangers but Hull have soaked up a whopping 19 for each goal conceded.
Data correct on Friday 23rd October.