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pete

The Run in the challengers falling by the wayside

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After yesterdays failure by Swansea to significantly close City's 10 point lead.  With 11 to go a review of the contenders for the Championship title over the last six games is a subject for review.

Norwich City 6 wins on the trot after what was a minor blip, scoring plenty, conceding very few and playing some attractive stuff seeing games effectively managed the favourites for the title needing perhaps 4 or 5 wins.

Now lets analyse the contenders.

Watford the second favourites have won 5 and have excellent results at home away from home beat the minnows but cannot beat the better teams like Bournemouth.  However there wins at home are not emphatic e.g. Forest.  With tricky away games coming up Cardiff and Norwich second place at best is their fate.

Swansea until yesterday had two games to get within 5 points of City.  However failed to overcome a Blackburn team of in indifferent form and now look to be third at best.  Won 4 of last six but 2 last minute penalties and a thrashing at Huddersfield are evidence they are struggling towards the seasons end.  Last nights result gives City fans more encouragement regarding the title.

Brentford have on only 2 of last 6 and lost 4 including a comprehensive defeat at Carrow Rd.  The gloss of a 21 match unbeaten run is being quickly forgotten which is a pity as the Bees until recently were perhaps the second best footballing side in the division.  But injuries to key players and loss of form show the relentless Championship is taking its toll.

Reading are pretenders only and not seriously considered.

Bournemouth have fallen by the wayside and unable to handle the Championship.

Two form teams are threatening to join the play off party.  Barnsley seven consecutive wins have baffled all the pundits can they continue to climb the table? the Championship is a tough league and will test last seasons strugglers.  Look likely to crash the play offs certainly playing better and getting results and performances consistently than those mentioned above.  Cardiff under Mick McCarthy have revived since his appointment and are getting results and performances that may take them into the play offs, games coming up against Watford and Swansea will hopefully continue the upward progression.

There are three teams involved in the Championship promotion race that are in excellent form and are producing results and performances to wards the end of this gruelling season and we are looking forward to taking the title at a canter.

OTBC Championship winners 2020/21            

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Posted (edited)

It was always likely that fatigue and injuries would/will bite for other teams over the run in and that we would have a mainly fit squad for ours (I’m a great believer in things generally evening out and the vast majority of our bad luck was pre Xmas). Add to that Swansea and Brentford having to play games in hand and us having a slightly easier run in and I don’t see anyone catching us let alone two teams. We will probably have another little blip but it feels like we have hit our straps now and should power away from the pack to wrap up the title. 

Can see Watford finishing second due to the quality and experience they have and the others have to hope that Barnsley run of steam otherwise they ain’t going up. You wonder if Cardiff peaked too early and I can’t see Reading or B’mouth rising their game again by enough. Brentford and Swans pretty much in the Play Offs already unless their form collapses. 

Edited by Gordon Bennett

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Watford look the most streetwise and able to grind out results at the end of the season. However they play us, then Millwall, then Brentford, then Swansea in their last 4 games this season. I hope we'll be done and dusted by then but I can see second place being decided in those final two head to heads. 

I just nipped over to 538 to look at their predictions https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/soccer-predictions/championship/ . At the moment they have: 

Norwich 95 points

Watford 84 points

Brentford 83 points 

Swansea 83 points

 

Which says what we already know. If we keep playing our game and avoid complacency we'll be fine. But it's going to be tight between the next three

 

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It's been a two-from-four race for quite some time already, with Bournemouth having faltered after a fairly good start. Brentford went on a spectacular run until they hit the top, since when they've lost 4 out of 6. Swansea have picked up a couple of very lucky wins on their way to winning 3 from 6. Watford are the only one of the challengers on genuinely good form having won 6 from 7.

It would obviously take a monumental failure from us, coupled with at least two of the chasing pack having a serious upturn. 90 points will almost certainly be enough for top, let alone 2nd place. That's just 4 wins and 2 draws for us. Rather reassuringly we've actually won all of our home games against other top 8 sides with Watford, Bournemouth and Reading still to come to Carrow Rd. Watford, on the other hand, have picked up 0 points from their away games against the current top 8 and still have to travel to Cardiff, Norwich and Brentford before what could be a promotion decider at home against Swansea on the final day.

Swansea also have 4 of the top 8 still to play with only Cardiff at home, but I wouldn't write them off yet. Draw or win their game in hand and they're 2nd on merit, so they're our closest challenger on paper. I've got a suspicion that they will run us closer than people think.

The main thing in our favour is that we've still got a run of 6 games in a row against bottom half teams before our tough run in against 4 of the top 7 and QPR in 12th. Win 4 out of those 6 and we're already on 88 points and pretty much home and hosed.

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I'm just glad we've got our necks above the water, and really hope we can keep it that way with continuing to do what we are doing well. It's very tight below, and I expect Swansea will regain some form and win their other game in hand (probably with another 96th minute penalty...) to close the gap. Any of Brentford, Watford and Swansea have the squads to do it, but if I was having to bet on anyone right now I would suggest Swansea

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Quote

I just nipped over to 538

Sadly - for all their fancy language & stats - 538 dot com know no more than any of us.

At the start of December (when City had been top for 4 matchdays) they saw it like this:

To win Champs % & pts prediction:

AFC 19% - 79  /  Brentford 18% - 79  /  Watford 17% - 79 /  Norwich 14% - 77

Even on Jan 2nd 538 still had AFC as favourites to win the division.

 

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Petriix said:

It's been a two-from-four race for quite some time already, with Bournemouth having faltered after a fairly good start. Brentford went on a spectacular run until they hit the top, since when they've lost 4 out of 6. Swansea have picked up a couple of very lucky wins on their way to winning 3 from 6. Watford are the only one of the challengers on genuinely good form having won 6 from 7.

It would obviously take a monumental failure from us, coupled with at least two of the chasing pack having a serious upturn. 90 points will almost certainly be enough for top, let alone 2nd place. That's just 4 wins and 2 draws for us. Rather reassuringly we've actually won all of our home games against other top 8 sides with Watford, Bournemouth and Reading still to come to Carrow Rd. Watford, on the other hand, have picked up 0 points from their away games against the current top 8 and still have to travel to Cardiff, Norwich and Brentford before what could be a promotion decider at home against Swansea on the final day.

Swansea also have 4 of the top 8 still to play with only Cardiff at home, but I wouldn't write them off yet. Draw or win their game in hand and they're 2nd on merit, so they're our closest challenger on paper. I've got a suspicion that they will run us closer than people think.

The main thing in our favour is that we've still got a run of 6 games in a row against bottom half teams before our tough run in against 4 of the top 7 and QPR in 12th. Win 4 out of those 6 and we're already on 88 points and pretty much home and hosed.

Yes & No - Swansea I think don't look the part. The last two wins were lets say lucky and even the draw last night was very much against the run play. I can't see them keep winning given their fixtures (that's jinxed it)

To me Watford look the part.

Edited by Yellow Fever

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9 minutes ago, NewNestCarrow said:

Sadly - for all their fancy language & stats - 538 dot com know no more than any of us.

At the start of December (when City had been top for 4 matchdays) they saw it like this:

To win Champs % & pts prediction:

AFC 19% - 79  /  Brentford 18% - 79  /  Watford 17% - 79 /  Norwich 14% - 77

Even on Jan 2nd 538 still had AFC as favourites to win the division.

 

Yeah I don't want to come across as some massive 538 fanboy but I don't think anyone's claiming that they have a crystal ball. They basically try and predict how good a team is based on their fixtures so far, and calculate the probabilities for win/draw/lose for the remaining fixtures from that. Around Christmas I don't think anyone would say there was one team that far ahead, it shows we've put in a good performance since then

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5 minutes ago, Yellow and Green Man said:

Yeah I don't want to come across as some massive 538 fanboy but I don't think anyone's claiming that they have a crystal ball. They basically try and predict how good a team is based on their fixtures so far, and calculate the probabilities for win/draw/lose for the remaining fixtures from that. Around Christmas I don't think anyone would say there was one team that far ahead, it shows we've put in a good performance since then

So is it just an algorithm based on results so far without any qualitative analysis?  Presumably then on day one all teams would have been afforded equal probability of all things?

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11 minutes ago, Yellow and Green Man said:

Yeah I don't want to come across as some massive 538 fanboy

It wasn't a slam at you.

I've been following our progress on 538 & been quite amazed at how they just mirror the general concensus.

AFC had lost their attacking threat (2 x Wilsons and Fraser), Howe had clearly run his course & the club was massively punching above their weight as a PL side. How is all that likely to result in an Automatic Bounceback season? 

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Had a gander at a Swansea fan forum and rather a lot of the comments are about how they have been very poor for quite a number of games now, and have been very lucky to get the results they have. Even the up-beat messages seem to reduce to comments about how they have punched above their weight and should be grateful for that.

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Posted (edited)

Bournemouth are in trouble.  I wonder how much Billing would cost?

Edited by Newtopia

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Watford look the most likely to finish as runners up

The silly little club could well be replaced in the play offs by Barnsley - who would benefit by being in form if they get into the playoffs

Barnsley play tonight, and then play the SLC on Saturday

I wouldn't overlook Cardiff for getting into the playoffs either,

Will be fun to watch

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, NewNestCarrow said:

It wasn't a slam at you.

I've been following our progress on 538 & been quite amazed at how they just mirror the general concensus.

AFC had lost their attacking threat (2 x Wilsons and Fraser), Howe had clearly run his course & the club was massively punching above their weight as a PL side. How is all that likely to result in an Automatic Bounceback season? 

We went on a club record run of defeats, so wouldn't have put us down as favourites to bounce back either. The fact Farke got the lads firing on all cylinders and picked up some decent points at the start of the season with a disrupted and short pre-season shouldn't be underestimated - that was probably the hardest part of his tenure so far and he's done it with flying colours.

Edited by AJ
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Barbe bleu said:

So is it just an algorithm based on results so far without any qualitative analysis?  Presumably then on day one all teams would have been afforded equal probability of all things?

From memory: they predict an "attack score" and a "defence score" for every team. Which they base on last season's results too. And as we were in the PL last season they apply a conversation factor based on the strength of the league. But I don't think they take transfers into account. They update the attack and defence score after each match based on a few key stats. 

To predict the results of a single match they use both teams attack and defence scores and somehow get win/lose/draw probabilities.

To predict the rest of the season they simulate a few thousand run ins by sampling the win/lose/draw probabilities for the remaining matches and take the average points totals.

Edited by Yellow and Green Man
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53 minutes ago, Yellow and Green Man said:

Hahaha ok now I am coming across as a massive 538 fanboy! I just like statistics, I promise. I don't know if that's better or worse 😅

Sounds....complex....

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Posted (edited)

The project 538 methodology is sound, just not particularly responsive to the things that make us great at this level. We'll have ruined their predictions by being pants at the end of last season and then starting slowly again this season. They seem to have it about right now.

Edited by Petriix

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Yellow Fever said:

Yes & No - Swansea I think don't look the part. The last two wins were lets say lucky and even the draw last night was very much against the run play. I can't see them keep winning given their fixtures (that's jinxed it)

To me Watford look the part.

I agree that Watford [look] better than Swansea. But don't underestimate the strength of a miserly defence at this level. Watford still have some of their most difficult fixtures to come, including playing the league leaders (who are on a massive winning streak) away. I think that last game looks tasty.

Edited by Petriix

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1 minute ago, Petriix said:

I agree that Watford looks better than Swansea. But don't underestimate the strength of a miserly defence at this level. Watford still have some of their most difficult fixtures to come, including playing the league leaders (who are on a massive winning streak) away. I think that last game looks tasty.

I think we'll both be on the beach by then 🏖

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I have a Swansea supporting mate, who I’ve been winding up about how lucky they are, but I don’t think I’d want to get promoted if I was them. According to xG they are a mid table Championship side.

 

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1 hour ago, Willmeister said:

I have a Swansea supporting mate, who I’ve been winding up about how lucky they are, but I don’t think I’d want to get promoted if I was them. According to xG they are a mid table Championship side.

 

 

Look at Bristol City down in the relly spots there too

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4 hours ago, Yellow Fever said:

I think we'll both be on the beach by then 🏖

Yes most likely so it's important for Swansea & Brentford to stay close to Watford up to the final 4 games. Watford have the bottom 3 after Cardiff (this weekend) - this is where they can pull away. Swansea & Brentford must match their results - difficult as they have the harder fixtures and have key players out. If it's still in the balance in late April - I want us to put Watford away !

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Swansea haven't been convincing since out match and even their incredibly biased commentators said last game that going a goal behind is a nightmare for them. Watford have a squad that could win this league.

I think second place comes down to them. Brentford needed to beat us to kickstart the final push and the others are just filler.

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