Our weekly data-driven assault on the Championship is back
Numerical Advantage takes a look at the weekend's Championship fixtures and picks out his best four picks for Saturday's 3pm kick offs
We’ve also got some brilliant scatter plot graphics, comparing each club’s attacking and defensive performances so far this season, so you can really see where the match-ups and mismatches in the weekend’s league games are most likely to occur. There’s a full explanation of these available further down the page, or simply click one of the graphics below to get stuck in.
Numerical Advantage: Championship, Saturday 19th March 2016
- Back the Owls to thrash Charlton @
- Second half goals between Preston & QPR @
- Bristol City to put the boot into Bolton @
- Back under 2.5 goals when MK Dons meet Brighton@
Owls to thrash Charlton
Sheffield Wednesday got back to winning ways with a strong performance at Forest last weekend – inadvertently getting Dougie Freedman sacked in the process – and look more than capable of a repeat performance at home to Charlton.
A glance at our attack graphic shows how sharp the Owls have been in front of goal this season and you can see from the defence graphic just how many opportunities their visitors are likely to give them.
The home side’s recent dip in form didn’t really affect their defence – which has only conceded three times in six matches – so there’s value in backing them to win to nil @
Preston and QPR to keep us waiting
The second halves of QPR’s league games have been by far the more interesting this season, with 70% of the goals they’ve scored and 69% of those they’ve conceded coming after half time (the highest and second-highest respectively).
Preston have done a similarly large chunk of their goalscoring after the interval, having racked up the third highest percentage of second half goals. These two sides also have the worst shot conversion rates in the first half – QPR’s 6.5% being marginally worse than their hosts’ 6.7% – so it’d be surprising to see many early goals here.
Betting on the second half to have more goals than the first screams “value” @
Bristol City to put the boot into Bolton
Bolton are almost certainly doomed, with just two points from a possible 21 and now no manager, and are unlikely to offer much resistance to a resurgent Bristol City. The Trotters have only managed to keep one clean sheet in their last 21 league matches and are without an away win in 20 attempts: they’ve only been in the lead in two away matches and went on to lose both of those.
Their hosts have won five matches out of eight under Lee Johnson, racking up as many points as they did in the previous 18, and look to be heading towards safety. While our defence graphic shows that the Robins have been leaky at the back, Bolton’s wasteful finishing also stands out on the attacking version and means they’re unlikely to take advantage.
The home win looks the likeliest outcome @
Dons and Brighton likely to offer little
MK Dons’ attack has looked wretched all season and the last 10 games have been no different, with fewer shots taken than anyone else: an average of just 8.9 per game. What’s more surprising is that the next quietest attack over the last 10 matches has been that of visiting high-flyers Brighton.
The Seagulls appear to have entered another one of their frequent barren spells, having netted just once in their last three matches, but their defence still looks strong with five successive clean sheets. With the home side having only scored more than once in six of their 37 league games this season and 15 of Brighton’s 18 wins being by a single goal, there’s not much chance of a goal-fest here.
With MK Dons having held both Middlesbrough and Hull in recent weeks, under 2.5 goals looks like the way to go here @
These are a quick visual way to compare all of the clubs in the division against each other. On the horizontal axis we have quantity (how many shots each club has taken or faced) and on the vertical we have quality (how many shots on average it takes them to score or concede). The thick lines sit on the averages for each axis, which divides each graphic into four quadrants. Just in case that doesn’t make sense, we’ve included some observations beneath each graphic that will give you the general idea.
In the top right we can see that both Reading and Nottingham Forest have fired in plenty of shots this season but the quality hasn’t always matched the quantity. Below them are league leaders Hull, who have been much better at making their dominance count. In the bottom left we have the strange cases of Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday, who don’t shoot very often but are still managing to score enough to sustain a promotion chase. In the undesirable top left are the almost equally poor attacks of MK Dons and Charlton, who rarely shoot and tend not to make a good job of it when they do.
Graphics – Defensive Effectiveness
In the top left we find the formidable defences of Hull and Middlesbrough, who have soaked up far more shots for each goal conceded than anyone else and don’t allow many efforts in the first place. In the top right quadrant we can see that Burnley, Nottingham Forest and Birmingham have allowed opponents plenty of shots but absorbed a lot of that punishment. Below them in the bottom right are the division’s worst defences with Charlton in particular allowing an obscene number of attempts at their goal, so it’s no wonder that they’re in a relegation battle. In the bottom left we can see that Reading and Huddersfield have struggled to deal with their opponents’ shots, so it’s just as well that they don’t have to deal with many.
Data correct on Thursday 17th March.