We’re more than a quarter of the way in to the Championship season so it’s probably worth taking a look at how the three promoted teams are handling the step up.
And because of the alphabet, I’m reviewing Bristol City’s progress first.
Looking at the league table which never lies*, it appears to have been a pretty tough start for the trio of new entrants, with the Robins, finding the going toughest.
To be fair I didn’t have the greatest expectations for Bristol City this season: their promotion was based on a massive PDO score with very nice but not spectacular shot share numbers.
Thus my pre-season caution and initial non-surprise at their league standing had been fulfilled.
But even a cursory glance at the shot metrics being put together across the Championship shows their relegation threatened position is not really warranted.
Admittedly the overall shot share (Corsi/TSR) at 11v11 is below break-even, but the unblocked shot share (Fenwick) and shots on target share are both top ten worthy.
Clearly something is going right at Ashton Gate.
Unfortunately, it is PDO which accounts for their current position.
A below average shooting % (24.24) and an awful save % (second worst at 60.34) giving them a league worst PDO of just 84.
So clearly these positive numbers are down to score effects from being continually behind and when their PDO does turn those impressive shot shares will die away, right?
For a bit more of a deeper insight, let’s take a look at how Bristol City are playing when the scores are level.
Only one team has played fewer minutes with the scores level (Rotherham), so these numbers need to be taken with some caution.
But, in 482 minutes out of a total of 1,351, the Robins have been quite impressive indeed.
I could show you the “Good vs Lucky” graph for these, but it’d be pointless as Bristol City are so far off the bottom I’d need to extend my y-axes down to hell.
The reasons for this could be many, some of which can probably be answered in part.
Is it a case of shooting from hopeless positions and just trying to get the effort on target?
Bristol City have the joint most non-headed shots from inside the six-yard box (10 – Brighton and Hull), and are equal sixth in non-headed shots from the centre of the 18-yd box.
They do not produce headed chances from those locations at the same rate, but I would happily take that situation given the lower conversion rates typical to headed chances.
It seems the only place they are really sacrificing taking shots is outside the 18-yd box. The difference between this total and league average accounts for the whole difference in Bristol City’s shot total from the league average.
So are they conceding a boatload of high quality chances?
Based on pure location data, I would again say no.
They’ve given away a dozen more shots from the sides of the penalty area than the league average, something which should be cautiously monitored, but aside from that everything else is pretty much mid-table.
The only problem I see on the horizon is their shot shares at one-goal up are truly awful – a 0.312 overall shot share being the “highlight” of the bunch.
That does not bode well but is from an even smaller sample size (282 mins) and I can imagine has probably been influenced by a massive tactical decision to hold on to whatever rare leads they have acquired.
Reassuringly most of these numbers back up what I've seen in limited opportunities of watching Bristol City.
The two Sky broadcast games I watched, against Nottingham Forest and the Severnside derby against Cardiff, saw Bristol dominating the games pretty well.
In the Forest game they had the advantage of two early goals, against Cardiff David Marshall and some slightly erratic finishing kept them from taking a comfortable lead.
So assuming the save % improves and the level score shot share stays the same then I would suspect the Robins will eventually move into mid-table safety sooner rather than later.
PS. Along with the two other promoted clubs I'm hoping to have a closer look at Blackburn soon. Rovers' stats are interesting at the moment.
THE DATA TABLES RETURN
Here's the 11v11 shot data table after 14 games because I know you can't get enough sortable number fun:
|Position||Team||11v11 Corsi||11v11 Fenwick||11v11 SoT||11v11 Goals Rate||11v11 Sh%||11v11 Sv%||11v11 PDO|