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Thirsty Lizard

Reassurance for Ricardo - Stats & Stuff

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On other threads Ricardo has been getting worried about our conceding 1.4 goals per game and being too open down the flanks. Indeed, he''s been talking about trawling through the Championship stats to find out if a team that concedes 1.4 goals a game throughout the season ever gets promoted.

Well, I''ve got some bad news Ricardo, but it''s outweighed by the good news.

Based on the last 20 Championship seasons, no team has ever been promoted that has conceded 1.4 goals a game (i.e 64). Some teams have conceded more and made the play-offs, but they didn''t go up. Ipswich actually conceded 72 in 2003/04 and finished 5th.

HOWEVER: If we go on scoring goals at our present rate of 1.91 a game we will score 88. Over the last 20 seasons only one team (Barnsley in 1999/2000) have scored 88 and not been promoted.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: We have currently got 23 points from 11 games or 2.09 a game. Keep picking up points at this rate and we''ll end up on 96. Every team that has got 96 points in the last 20 seasons has gone up automatically. Indeed, in 17 of the last 20 seasons 96 points would have made you champions.

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[:^)]  Hmm...so if we carry on conceding at the present rate we won''t be promoted, but as long as we carry on scoring at the present rate we will.[8-)] The points thing.....[Y]....but as we found out last season, hitting your target points in the first part of the season doesn''t mean much if you don''t keep it up!  All to play for......

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Exelent research, however I remain concerned that we are not solid enough defensively. Also I never make any predictions until 12 games are on the board.

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With winter coming on, injuries and tiredness will weed out some of the weaker squads.... hopefully.

Out strength in depth will then be to our advantage.

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[quote user="ricardo"]Exelent research, however I remain concerned that we are not solid enough defensively. Also I never make any predictions until 12 games are on the board.[/quote]Can we look forward to a prediction thread in a few games then?

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[quote user="SwindonCanary"]I know it''s aimed at Ricardo, but boy, do those statistics make me happy [/quote]Like a mouse licking its lips at the sight of the lump of cheese in a trap? The statistic we want is how many promoted teams with similar Championship statistics end up back in the Championship the season after promotion. If people think the defence can be sorted once we''re back in the EPL, they have the evidence of the last five years against them.

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[quote user="SwindonCanary"]It''s true, some people will never be happy [/quote] [:D] The euphoria of promotion doesn''t last; I prefer the satisfaction derived from being an established EPL team. I''m sure you do too Swindon. 

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I''d rather yo-yo, at least you''re always fighting for something, rather than your aim every year, in a league you''ll never win, is to not get relegated.

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[quote user="morty"]I''d rather yo-yo, at least you''re always fighting for something, rather than your aim every year, in a league you''ll never win, is to not get relegated.[/quote]

This.

Think it was Swansea at home last season, we won 1-0 but it was possibly the worst half of football I have ever seen in the Premier League

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[quote user="morty"]I''d rather yo-yo, at least you''re always fighting for something, rather than your aim every year, in a league you''ll never win, is to not get relegated.[/quote]

I agree that yo-yoing makes for an exciting time for supporters and its probably the best we can hope for without an enormous step change in financing.The problems start when your string breaks and you don''t have the money to buy some more.[;)]

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Ha, indeed Ricardo.

If we are going to be established in the Premiership, it has to be properly for me, being genuinely competitive, not just scraping up each season.

Following City away for the last seasons has been soul destroying at times, especially after you get past the "ooh this is a big famous stadium" phase.

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Good stuff TL, I like much of what you said. I also understand Ricardo''s concerns, but think that with the right actions taken by the club management, they shouldn''t be an insurmountable obstacle for us to overcome this season, especially as records are there to be broken (like our abject one at Molineux).I think that as long as Klose plays a majority of games, especially when we face the top teams in the division, we will be more than ok. Klose is a good international, but the problem comes with strength and depth of the rest of the defence. Bassong, although a decent back up for a club looking to finish in the top two, will always have the potential to be a liability. Turner''s best days as a bruising center back at this level are probably a memory. Then we have Bennett, who I personally like, and although he is never going to be part of the England squad I think is of a good enough standard to be a Championship starter and Premier league back up. And finally we come to Russ, again a player that I have a lot of time for and someone who I think has served this club well and is rightly a future Hall of Famer. That said though I do not think he is a center back, despite what the apologists on here would say. I think RM has served the club with grit, determination and a high standard of professionalism, but his best performances, and Norwich''s as a whole when he is in the side, have always been from right back and as a center half he does not inspire the same sort of confidence that Timm Klose does. The argument that he plays regularly in that position for his national side does not wash with me and it certainly does not mean that center back is now his best position. Scotland are currently 44 in the FIFA rankings, that is lower that Algeria, Albania, Iran and Costa Rica, who other than Ghoulam, Hysaj and possibly Oveido don''t, in my opinion, have any defenders that would be an upgrade on what we have.Then we have to look at the full backs. Now Olsson and Pinto, although great going forwards, always look a little shaky at the back. Newcastle''s first on Wednesday and Wolves'' goal on Saturday are prime examples of both player''s defensive frailties. On top of these limitations we don''t have any back up, especially with Russ playing in the center. Should one of these two get injured we are then forced to either pull Brady out of a position where he is one of our most potent attacking threats and play him at left back. Or more worrying, if Ivo is out for any length of time we are likely to see Whitts get an extended run in the team.I think that come January we should be looking to strengthen by signing a left back who can challenge Olsson and a couple of center backs that have the ability to keep Ryan Bennett out of the side. If we do this I think we would have a very good chance of, not only automatic promotion, but of winning the league and, with the addition of a couple more decent players at either end of the team the following summer, doing well back in the top flight. Now I appreciate it is not as simple as what I have just said (i.e. the players you want signing because you''ve made a bid), but we have three months before the start of the next transfer window, that is plenty of time for those that deal with player recruitment to earn their wages and set us up for a better window than the last two or three.

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[quote user="Rogue Baboon"][quote user="morty"]I''d rather yo-yo, at least you''re always fighting for something, rather than your aim every year, in a league you''ll never win, is to not get relegated.[/quote] This. Think it was Swansea at home last season, we won 1-0 but it was possibly the worst half of football I have ever seen in the Premier League[/quote]

 

I was at both the away draw 0-0 at Reading under Hughton and the Swansea game at home we won 1-0.  The Swansea game was a thriller compared to the Reading game.

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statto.com is great for historical tables. It''s really interesting looking at previous seasons and comparing how the table looked after 10 games to the end of the season. Usually one or two teams who were at the top went on to get promoted. Typically, when a team did drop away, it was one of the smaller teams (although us and Leicester are notable exceptions).I would be surprised if Huddersfield manage to keep their form going. It remains to be seen whether anyone else will be able to challenge us and Newcastle for a top 2 spot. Maybe Villa will mount a spectacular recovery or maybe we''ll stop grinding out the narrow victories and drop away or perhaps another team will go on an unexpected run, but I fully expect it to be Newcastle and us getting the automatic promotion places.

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7 of the goals against came in 2 matches, in a majority of the games we''ve only conceded 1. There''s certainly work to be done but there''s no point worrying about it at this moment in time.

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I''d say what the stats reveal is what we already know, that creatively we are one of the best teams in the division, but we have a worrying defensive frailty.  This has resulted in a concern about dropping points in games when we''d got a two goal margin in the second half and should have seen them out comfortably - Newcastle, Cardiff ended up being unnecessarily nervy at the end, and now Wolves, where we were well on top, they came back into it but we got the second goal, and we should have gone on to stifle them, instead we conceded a rather sloppy goal and ended up with a nervous last 15 minutes including injury time.

 

So the worry is simply that over a 46 game season, it''s important to be able to grind out wins when creatively you''re not at your best, and certainly it''s important to be able to see out games when you have a 2-goal lead.

 

On the plus side, with Klose, we did see out all of those games, the sole exception being Newcastle when he wasn''t present, and that''s no coincidence, because he''s a quality defender who''s good in the air, and exactly what you want when teams are lumping hopeful balls into the box.

 

But I''d still be much happier if we work on our defensive solidity during the international break, and start keeping 2-0 leads at 2-0, and some clean sheets generally.

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[quote user="morty"]I''d rather yo-yo, at least you''re always fighting for something, rather than your aim every year, in a league you''ll never win, is to not get relegated.[/quote] I hope you appreciate the irony, morty -- taken 20 years since the insightful Robert Chase spelled out for us fans the implications of the Premier League for the likes of NCFC. Didn''t go down too well at the time, so if Mr Chase reads your post (and Rogue Baboon''s and ricardo''s), I think he''s entitled to a wry smile [:D]

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Balanced posts from IBT and ICF. I think IBT''s focus on the back four fails to identify the main source of our defensive weakness, which I see as originating with our midfield. Clearly, improving the quality of players in the back four would help, but however good your back four are, in the modern game they will be vulnerable if those in front don''t offer the right kind of protection. However good a left back is, for example, he cannot single handedly deal with a two on one, or three on one overload. Likewise, however good your CB''s are, if marauding full backs are a big part of your armoury, the CBs will be undone unless they have a disciplined DM in front of them ready to drop back and cover the centre. I also think that IBT is over-sanguine in thinking that, with three months before the January transfer window opens, we should be able to recruit the quality defensive players he thinks we need. Even if, by then, we are cast-iron for promotion, what exactly has changed in what we can offer prospective quality signings that will encourage them to sign this time round, as opposed to the last time we were promoted?

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A couple of thoughts on the defence...

1- The thing about Klose is not just how good he is but how much better he makes those around him play. I think Bennett is the most obvious example of player who looks a good 10-20% better playing next to Klose than anyone else in our squad. So when we lose him we not only lose a very good individual but the performances of the unit as a whole suffer. We need to invest in a centre back that possesses the same leadership and organisational skills Klose brings so when a backup does step in we don''t fall apart quite so easily.

2- I agree with WCC about the midfield often not helping the defence out. Tettey is a good ball winner but is a headless chicken at times. In an ideal world we''d have the kind of DM that when we have the ball drops in next to the CB''s, letting them spread wider and allowing the fullbacks to bomb on without worrying about cover behind. Tettey is too often prone to following the ball upfield, hence why we can be quite easily caught on the counter and paring him with Howson (who also loves to run from deep) is asking for big holes to be left in front of our back four. Dorrans addresses this somewhat in that he''s happy to drop and sit deep but his tackling is often a bit weak. A stronger ball winner with similar discipline to Dorrans would form a perfect combo (or Jools favourite ''double pivot'') to allow our fullbacks license to attack freely and our attacking midfield three to interchange without being too concerned about leaving gaps in behind.

This isn''t to say Tettey and Howson aren''t fine for us at this level but I''d argue neither of them are perfectly suited to the CM roles in this formation.

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