I warned way back in week four that the early signs were not good for Wanderers and the early season form has continued along that path since.
I suspect the defeat to relegation rivals Fulham was the final nail in a coffin that was already close to being shut.
That it was of such a massive scale just added the final exclamation point.
Let's have a look at where they were in the table after the midweek games:
|Position||Team||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Goals For||Goals Against||Goal Difference||Points|
Bolton’s underlying numbers have been poor all year.
By the end of Freedman’s reign Bolton owned the fourth worst shot share in the league (40.6%) and was dead last in terms of shots on target share (35.8%).
That’s pretty grim reading (and watching) for any fan.
And last year was not much better either.
The Trotters had the eighth worst shot share in the 2013/14 season. Although the Corsi/TSR score was just below even, two of the teams below Bolton were the epically bad Yeovil and Doncaster.
Only the shots on target share showed a sliver of respectability – eleventh in the league with 51.8% of the on target shots each game.
Sure this season PDO has bitten a bit, a score of 89.44 showing that Bolton has been burned by some bad luck, but the other numbers just are not good enough.
|Position||Team||Shots for total||Shots against total||Corsi/TSR|
Some of the reasons for that?
Looking at shot location - Bolton is joint third worst with just 3% of its shots being taken from within the six-yard box.
And the team is also among the top six for shots allowed from within the six-yard box (7%).
So when you're not taking many shots to begin with you need to get maximum value for them and Bolton were not.
Combine that with allowing lots of shots and those being from more dangerous areas - it gets ugly pretty quickly.
All these stats just build the case that Bolton’s position under Freedman was a pretty accurate one and his position was increasingly untenable.
|Position||Team||shots on target for total||shots on target against total||Shots on target share|
What a difference three weeks makes – and more importantly, a change in luck.
Following Fulham’s 4-0 win over Bolton in midweek I tweeted that this was what PDO regression looked like in one go…
This is Fulham's PDO rebounding in one-go... the reverse of #AVFC if you li.. http://t.co/vDjczEYb4m @Squawka pic.twitter.com/kWI4j6Llwp
— Owain Thomas (@Owain_Thomas) October 1, 2014
....well not quite, but it’s getting there.
(As an aside I should mention that Bolton managed just eight shots in that game and none were on target.)
|Position||Team||Shooting % For||Save %||PDO|
I’ve been suggesting all along that Fulham’s underlying numbers were not too bad – they were not fabulous, but certainly not bottom of the table level.
After week seven Fulham were basically dead even in shot share (50.3% Corsi/TSR – 13th in the league), had a 42.9% shots on target share (sixth worst in the league), and PDO (luck) score of just 72.2 (dead last) dragging them down.
That was the trough in terms of Fulham’s PDO score. I mean, it’s pretty hard to get any lower than that: you basically have to TRY to miss the net when taking shots, or at the other end employ me as a goalkeeper.
So Fulham were due a rebound sooner or later, and finally it appears to be coming.
Indeed, following that Bolton win the team's PDO score jumped almost five points – a pretty sizeable shift getting on for a quarter of the way through the season
After week ten, those figures are now: 51.6% shot share, 50% shots on target share and a still pretty anaemic 81.82 PDO score.
So the west London team still has some regressing to do in that regard and if it does it quickly… well it could be fun to watch for the next few games.
A visit to Middlesbrough is up next – arguably the best team in the league that was hit by its own PDO problems earlier in the season but is now right around the average mark.
If the shot numbers hold true than Middlesbrough should win this one reasonably well… but PDO is a mighty strong short-term drug and Fulham seem to be enjoying it again right now.
|Position||Team||Corsi/TSR||PDO||Shots on target share|
The Yorkshire derby between Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday should not even be close if the numbers hold up and Leeds are certainly due a slide in PDO - that could be another interesting one to watch.
The games have been coming thick and fast this week so I’m very much looking forward to the international break to catch-up on some other bits and hopefully pop another couple of posts up.
Enjoy the games.