It seems all the excitement that left the title and relegation races in the final few weeks fell in to the playoff race on the final day of the season.
That was quite some experience watching those four games go down to the last goal to decide the final two playoff places.
|Position||Team||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Goals For||Goals Against||Goal Difference||Points|
Of course the headline from most of the media was what a complete collapse to Derby’s season – but of those four teams it should really be focused on Ipswich (and to a lesser extent Brentford) who consistently improved as the season went on.
I pointed out throughout the season that Derby’s lofty perch was acquired by a probably unsustainable PDO and thus it proved – even if it did take a little while to come back down to almost earth.
|Position||Team||Played||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|
Indeed, one wonders how Derby’s season would have progressed had the Rams only enjoyed league average (100) PDO all season long.
Yes, there may be some talent effects in PDO, but considering that a 100 PDO would probably have seen Derby hovering somewhere between 13th (their overall shot share) and where they actually finished in 8th, which also matched their shots on target ranking.
In fact Ipswich, with a give-or-take league average only finished sixth despite having the sixth highest overall shot share and fourth highest shots on target share.
Mick McCarthy should be pleased with the way he brought his team together.
From a decidedly slow start the team consistently improved its shots and shots on target share to finish the season well above 50% and 55% respectively.
Brentford too had a slow start but again slowly and steadily improved throughout the season.
Yes their shot stats are boosted somewhat by the massacre of Blackpool, but Mark Warburton and the players should be congratulated for not getting distracted by the announcement over the manager’s future near the end of the season.
Yes, it is more than likely the right decision and you would expect the manager and players to maintain a professional approach, but these sorts of changes can have an impact in unexpected ways.
In this case, it seems to have motivated Warburton and the squad as since then they have continued to improve in the shot metrics.
My biggest concern for the playoffs is Middlesbrough.
I was a big fan of Middlesbrough and their excellent shot metrics early in the season, but it is impossible not to notice their deteriorating metrics since that great start.
They still have very good numbers but the slide is undeniable and not a good trend to be owning. I wouldn’t expect them to maintain the early season score at up around 65%+, but you would expect it to flatten out somewhere – continuing its descent is worrying.
So that leaves Norwich as the only remaining playoff team to look at. And the Canaries have been exemplary all season.
Top in shot share and second in shots on target share, the only thing to scupper Norwich’s season was some awful PDO in the first half of the season.
Local derbies are horrible to predict, so I’m not going to.
But on the balance of the season Norwich are the team which deserve to win the playoffs and return immediately to the Premier League.
Looking at the season as a whole, it is noticeable how quickly the top eight broke clear from the rest of the league and how at the midway stage the bottom three teams were also decided.
Considering the shot metrics it is remarkable how quickly these settled down in to pretty consistent measures that by-and-large lasted the length of the season: Norwich, Bournemouth and Middlesbrough at the top; Blackpool, Leeds and Charlton at the bottom.
By contrast PDO remained more volatile throughout the season with a few teams witnessing remarkable fluxes all the way through – Charlton and Derby to name just two.
Let’s see which of these factors had a stronger impact on the final league table.
This season has appeared something of a volatile one, particularly for the lower 16 teams, as it were.
Indeed, the overall shot share produces a rather relationship (if reasonably weak) to points gained by teams – an r2 value of 0.322.
When we then look at shots on target share we get a much greater link – here we see an r2 value of 0.6848.
But the strongest relationship involves PDO – a mighty r2 score of 0.7555.
The powerful hold that PDO had this season was reflected in some of those teams with poor shot numbers finishing much higher up in the final table and the reverse – good shots teams near the bottom of the table.
It sure was a fun season and I’m looking forward to the playoffs now.