So it's been a hectic few weeks in the Championship (and for me) with quite a few changes at the top end and just two notable ones at the bottom end.
Looking at the top we see Watford now top three points clear of Bournemouth, Middlesbrough and Wolves.
The biggest surprise there is obviously the south coast team, but as we'll see in a bit, the Cherries deserve the lofty perch.
|Position||Team||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Goals For||Goals Against||Goal Difference||Points|
Cherry picking stats
I've watched a few Bournemouth games of late and have to say that I've really enjoyed them - something relayed by their stats.
The Cherries are sixth in total shots taken and third in shots on target. Combine that with a very solid defensive record and their underlying stats are really good - fourth in total shot share (Corsi/TSR) and an even more impressive third in shots on target share with more than 60% on average.
And this has been a season-long trend - SoT share has never been below 56%, while since week three the overall shot share has remained above 50%.
Week 10 was their most recent low point of the season so far when they hit 15th place - by no coincidence this was when they had a PDO of just 92.86.
Since then that has regressed back up and now sits above average at 107.88. But even as and when Bournemouth's PDO drops back a little, it's still very easy to see Eddie Howe's side challenging for promotion.
|Position||Team||Shots for total||Shots against total||Corsi/TSR|
Forest's autumn fall
Taking the reverse path to Bournemouth has been Nottingham Forest.
I mentioned a few weeks back that Forest's position atop the division looked rather fragile and so it is proving to be.
Forest are doing this PDO cold turkey in one long hard dose.
From being joint top at week 11 with a PDO of 122.26, Forest are now tenth, having picked up just one point in four games with a PDO of 108.31.
So there's still a little way to go potentially for Stuart Pearce's side.
|Position||Team||shots on target for total||shots on target against total||Shots on target share|
More worryingly though, Forest's total shot share has barely hovered above 50% and the shots on target share has actually dipped to below 50% and now sits at just 48%.
Maintain those numbers and Forest's promotion hopes will likely be extinct.
I've not watched much of Forest this season, so it would be interesting to know if this hard patch has seen Pearce change his tactics and hence the drop in shot shares.
If not, then perhaps he needs to. Or perhaps it is something more simple such as coming across a tough part of the fixture list.
|Position||Team||Shooting % For||Save %||PDO|
Lee Clark... just wow
Finally - Birmingham.
I'm frankly amazed Lee Clark lasted as long as he did - it's shocking how much time a last day last minute escape can buy you. It took, of course, a PDO dip to get him sacked, but a PDO boost saved him earlier this season too.
Yes, we are still dealing in small sample sizes, but last season's statistal poor showing (and near-relegation scare) should have been ample warning.
To put the full horror of Clark's team into persepective - Birmingham has not had a corsi/TSR score of more than 46% (46.4% to be exact) all season and the shots on target performance is even worse.
The high point here is 41.7% - a full TWO THIRDS of the season has been spent with a shots on target share of LESS than 40%.
It really is horrific.
Yes, it's very apparent that there are other (bigger) problems at Birmingham, but unless Gary Rowett can really improve things (or they get a massive PDO boost) then Blues will be getting relegated.
|Position||Team||Corsi/TSR||Shots on target share||PDO|
PS - Poor Blackpool (again).
Having the aforementioned Lee Clark thrust upon you may be too much for one fan base to take.
Blackpool started off the first seven games with reasonable (given their position) shot share and shots on target share numbers - c 48% and 44% respectively.
But since then it's been all downhill.
PPS - I really hope Brighton's god-awful PDO (luck, variance, however you wish to describe it) turns soon.
The underlying numbers are just too good to ignore or all be down to score effects.
The Seagulls are still up at around 60% of all shots and have just started to dip slightly with shots on target share, but still boast a heafty 56.4% share there.
Saturday night's game may have summed up their season so far - competing hard going toe-to-toe with an aggressive attacking team and then one stupid error giving up a penalty, and thus the losing goal.
Credit to Brighton's fans and ownership for sticking by Hyypia - I hope their loyalty is paid back by the footballing gods soon.