First up, leaving the stats to one side, this Championship season is starting to have the look of a bit of a corker about it.
No team has managed to pull away at the top of the table and just nine points separate first and seventeenth - that's just three wins.
Yes for a season that's 12 games old that's a decent number of wins, but with another 34 games still to play, that means basically three-quarters of the division are still in with a shout of promotion.
|Position||Team||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Goals For||Goals Against||Goal Difference||Points|
Sure that's probably a pretty fanciful suggestion for many clubs, but all it takes is a run of pretty good luck over ten games or so and a team can shoot up the table. From there, anything, as they say, is posisble.
We've seen in the NHL (primary submission the Toronto Maple Leafs) that a 48 game season can still mean outlying teams achieve positive results thanks to PDO.
Even a 60-ish game season still leaves room for luck to factor in - it wasn't until around the 65 game mark last season (the NHL plays 82 games) that the wheels finally fell off for the Leafs and their poor possession numbers kicked-in.
So Watford and Derby's simultaneous 3-0 away wins, coupled with Norwich and Nottingham Forest's one-goal away defeats rearranges the top of the table significantly - as did Middlesbrough's 2-1 win down at Brighton (poor Brighton).
I've been bigging up Middlesbrough for a while now and I'm quite pleased to see them coming through. Anyone dominating games the way they are deserves to be rewarded (again, poor Brighton).
And at the other end, Birmingham's 1-0 home defeat by fellow strugglers Bolton finally sealed Lee Clark's fate.
|Position||Team||Shots for total||Shots against total||Corsi/TSR|
As we can see from the shot share table (Corsi/TSR) Birmingham's rate is pretty poor - seventh worst at 46.2% of all shots taken per game - although it is actually on a par with Watford (46.1%).
However the real problem comes when you look at shots on target share - something which is arguyably a greater measure of player and team skill. Here Birmingham really struggle, getting just 41.7% of shots on target - fifth worst in the league.
Add in that this Corsi/TSR score is basically the same as last year (45%) and you can see why the Blues owners had enough. As ever though - the sacking was really prompted by a dip in PDO. All was well in the early season when Birmingham had a PDO 106 four weeks in.
That dipped and rebounded a little, but now having dipped again Clark suffered.
It's clear the situation behind the scenes is not great at Birmingham - whether a new manager will be able to get anymore out of what seems to be a squad low in skill will have to be seen.
|Position||Team||shots on target for total||shots on target against total||Shots on target share|
Speaking of PDO (luck), Derby and Watford are now first and third in that measure respectively.
Watford's shot share score is deceiving - the team played large portions of two games (almost a tenth of the season so far, I'd guess) with only ten men on the pitch, and have also been victimised by score effects considerably - see the Sheffield Wednesday victory last weekend.
More realistic is probably the Hornets shots on target share of 51.3%. Again that's not great, but anything above parity is always a welcome place to be.
|Position||Team||Shooting % For||Save %||PDO|
Tonight's games include a couple of crackers - at least on paper.
Watford v Forest and Wolves v Middlesbrough should be very good attacking games. Well worth watching if you're not being distracted by the Champions League.
|Position||Team||Corsi/TSR||Shots on target share||PDO|
Well, I think it is.
I've stumbled across a new data source so this blog is hopefully going to be getting better... well bigger, and of course bigger is *always* better.
More next time when I have time to address it.