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, 23 April 2016
- Hull to see off in-form Leeds @
- Over 2.5 goals and an away win when Brighton visit The Valley @
- Back a Brentford win to send the Dons down @
- QPR to see off sorry Reading @
Leeds to go to Hull and back
Hull’s promotion challenge may have slipped but they look to have picked themselves back up lately and at home they have remained a force to be reckoned with. They’ve only lost once at the KC Stadium this season – back in November – and have conceded just nine goals there.
No home side has taken more shots than their average of 16.9 per match, and this weekend they’re up against the quietest away side: Leeds have taken just 11.8 shots per away game. The visitors may be in good form but their recent wins have all come against fellow mid-table sides and they haven’t managed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last eight attempts.
Hull should have enough about them to win this one @
Brighton to win in style
Brighton have hit form at just the right time for the end of season run-in: they’re unbeaten in 11 and have scored nine goals in a week. You can also see from the attack graphic that their one of the division’s most clinical finishers, which should further increase their advantage against a Charlton side who, as the defensive graphic shows, have allowed more shots than anyone else.
With the Addicks’ relegation now confirmed they only have pride to play for, but they do have a way to hurt their visitors. No Championship club has scored a higher share of goals from headers than their 29.7%, while Brighton have conceded the biggest percentage from the air with 33.3%.
Brighton should still be too strong for their hosts, with the promise of goals highlighting an away win and over 2.5 goals @
Brentford to send MK Dons down
MK Dons look certain to be the final club to drop into League 1: they’re nine points adrift with nine left to play for and haven’t won any of their last eight matches. While they drew four of those, their opponents took over twice as many shots (71 to 35), so it’s not as though they’ve been unlucky.
Visitors Brentford are finishing their season strongly, taking 13 points from the last 15 available, and it doesn’t look like home advantage will stop them claiming three more. Their hosts have one of the division’s leakiest home defences, conceding once for every eight shots faced, while only Burnley have fired in fewer attempts for each away goal scored than the Bees’ 7.8.
Therefore there’s lots to be said for backing the away win here @
Rangers to deliver a royal drubbing
Neither of these two clubs has looked particularly solid lately, but QPR look the likelier to record a win here. Reading are on a run of four straight defeats and the last time that they beat a club currently sitting above 17th in the Championship table was way back in early October.
The hosts have one of the sharpest home attacks in the division, with only four clubs able to better their strike rate of a goal for every 8.9 shots taken, and they should be able to make that count this weekend. The visiting Royals have conceded more readily on the road than anyone except bottom side Bolton, with just 6.8 efforts soaked up for each time that their defence has been breached.
The home win 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 the Royals are Hull, who have also kept defences busy and have been much better at making their dominance count. At the base of the graphic we have the strange cases of Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday, who don’t shoot particularly often but are still managing to sustain a promotion chase thanks to some excellent finishing. 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 defence of Middlesbrough, who have soaked up an impressive number of shots for each goal conceded and don’t allow many efforts in the first place. In the top right quadrant we can see that Burnley – and to a lesser extent 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 surprise that they’re heading to League 1. 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 permit many.
Data correct on Thursday 21 April.