So it turns out Troy Deeney and I were both wrong.
Watford were promoted with only winning four of their last five games. And with one of those games still to play they can make the final gap between themselves and the chasing pack quite substantial.
Bournemouth deserve equal praise for their thoroughly comprehensive performance over the season which was very fittingly summed up with an equally thorough and professional dismantling of Bolton to secure promotion.
The pair turned a torrid pace in the last nine games with Watford taking 22 out of a possible 27 points and Bournemouth 21.
Something Middlesbrough and Norwich just could not keep pace with.
|Position||Team||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Goals For||Goals Against||Goal Difference||Points|
So I guess I have to admit to being slightly disappointed with the end of the Championship season.
After being such a tight battle at the top of the table for so long I had expected the promotion race to become a last day classic between the top four teams.
Now it will be Watford and Bournemouth playing their respective games with the title on the line, while for Middlesbrough and Norwich it will be the playoffs.
|Position||Team||Shots for total||Shots against total||Corsi/TSR||shots on target for total||shots on target against total||Shots on target share||Shooting % For||Save %||PDO|
Speaking of the playoffs, Brentford and Wolves have managed to keep their hopes alive and keep some life in the last day.
Ipswich’s goal difference should just about be enough to secure them a place, although it would not take too much of a swing for Brentford to usurp them. And Ipswich face the toughest test of the four against Blackburn.
At the bottom of the table Rotherham successfully avoided being dragged in to a last day relegation battle and have since, unsurprisingly, decided not to appeal the three point deduction for fielding an ineligible player.
The Millers’ win over Reading (who put in a particularly inept performance until 2-0 down) sent Millwall and Wigan to League One.
It is hard to find any concrete reason for Wigan and Millwall’s relegation other than horrible PDO.
You can make a case for Wigan who managed the fewest shots on target in the Championship – never a good thing – and fourth fewest in overall shots. But the Latics were also one of the most prudent in those regards too. (Millwall were lower mid-table in both metrics.)
But the problem with taking fewer shots is you expose yourself to greater potential variance in the sample (shot) size. That means any anomalies (weird bounces, bad referring decisions and such) get magnified more than in a larger sample.
And that could certainly be a significant factor.
The other probably more telling factor in the relegation battle has been the non-presence of Leeds and Charlton; far worse teams in just about every measure except one crucial one – PDO.
The combination of awful PDO and a massive PDO boost for two of the other prime relegation candidates left Millwall and Wigan trapped in the bottom three.
They have not been great teams this year, but probably do not deserve the fate that awaits them either.
Ultimately the lesson is: don’t be a below average shots team and leave your future up to your own luck or, even worse, others’.