I'd planned to give it another couple of weeks before publishing my first hit of Championship data but due to popular demand (who'd have thought that) I'll do it now.
Looking at the early results and table there are obviously a couple of big stories going on in the Championship right now at the bottom end - Fulham and Leeds.
Here's the table as it looks in the real world.
Not exactly happy reading for the two teams that play in white - three if you include Bolton in that too.
But what do our metrics tell us about how the first weeks have gone?
Both Fulham and Leeds are much hyped "big clubs", with foreign owners and managers who have come into the season under a massive amount of scrutiny for one reason or another. The data is very raw and still open to much variation but, at the moment it looks like one of these will have a happier ending than the other - assuming owners don't start doing wildly unpredicatable things like sacking managers five games in.
So with the caveat of the very volatile nature of the data in our minds - let's have a look at it.
|Team||Position||Shots for total||Shots against total||Corsi||Shooting % For||Save %||PDO|
First we see that at the moment the table follows PDO scores more closely than Corsi, a good indication that the sample has yet to settle down fully and this is still "early days".
However, there is some movement towards the more repeatable skills coming through.
We can see Fulham have been comfortably mid-table in terms of their share of the shots per game (Corsi) but have been getting absolutely hammered in the "luck" area (PDO).
Now, some of this outshooting might be coming through what's known as score effects - being behind early on in game a team will press forward looking for an equaliser, while the team leading will often go into a defensive shell to protect the lead. (Whether this defensive shell approach actually works is very open to debate.)
However, even if this is the case, it shows that Fulham are at least capable of dominating games and getting more shots away than the opposition - an encouraging position to be in at any point.
The key part in Fulham's predicament at the moment is that they simply can't buy a goal for love nor £11m of Ross McCormack - although the League Cup winner in midweek against fellow Championship side Brentford may get him going.
Does anyone really expect Fulham to still be scoring just 13% of the shots on target at the end of the season? That's less than half the league average of around 30%.
Defensively the west London team have also been burned - somehow conceding goals at double the league average - almost 60%.
Of course both these could be down to the quality of chances that Fulham are creating and conceding - but to have this wide a disparity must surely be very unlucky. (Consider it the reverse of when a West Brom or Sunderland or Swansea or other Premier League "minnow" is up near the top of the table a couple of months in - eventually every shot they take stops hitting the back of the net, opposition shots curl just inside rather than outside the post, and the team slides back down to its more natural (playing talent-based position somewhere in the middle of the table).
Now let's look at Leeds.
Sure the Yorkshire club have also been burned by the forces of luck with a PDO slightly worse than Fulham (and second only to Blackpool in the "Oh my god its how low?" stakes).
In this case its keeping the ball out of the net that's the biggest problem. For what it's worth Leeds may as well just brick up half the goal at one end of Elland Road and use that instead of a goalkeeper - it'd probably be more effective.
But, and here's the kicker, Leeds also has the worst Corsi rating in the league - and it's not even close.
On average Leeds takes less than a third of the shots in each game. So if Leeds muster 3 shots in a game the opposition has been pummelling six or even seven at the United goal.
Again, the data here is extremely early in the season - tactics can change and Leeds may have just been unfortunate enough to play against the better teams in the league so far, but this is most definitely not a good trend to be in.
Sure the luck may turn but even with a 100+ PDO over the course of a season it would take a minor miracle for Leeds to avoid relegation if this Corsi score stays the course.
Bolton - Yikes!
THAT Corsi with THAT high PDO and the Trotters are still only third bottom. This could get ugly quickly for Dougie Freedman if that continues. (Why on earth he left Crystal Palace - apart from a likely pay rise - I've got no idea.)
Today's game between Leeds and Bolton is already looking like a relegation six-pointer.
Also Watford - hmmmm. However I suspect that Corsi score has A LOT to do with the pummelling they took at the hands of Norwich when down to ten men very early on.
Middlesbrough and Brighton - again both burned by PDO but could be very strong teams if they maintain good Corsi rates and PDO regresses back up to 100, as would be expected.
And finally.... Cardiff.
The Bluebirds have the third worst Corsi score so far this season and one that if maintained would likely see a rapid descent down the table.
But, I suspect score effects and Ole Gunnar Solskjar's tactics have a role to play here.
In the three matches Cardiff got points the Bluebirds scored first and then largely sat back to defend.
The Wolves game however should serve as a bit more of a warning that getting outshot will eventually come back to bite you.
Cardiff visit Craven Cottage today. With Ross McCormack being an ex-Bluebird and Fulham due (at some point) a dose of good luck, as a Cardiff fan I fear the worst.
PS - I'm still working on getting the tables to be sortable, so you can manually click around investigating the stats at your leisure. Sadly, Blogger (or perhaps its my very poor html skills) is not cooperating.
Hopefully in future weeks I'll get the tables looking and working a lot smoother.