|If Stats Won Games: Brentford 2-1 Ipswich|
Written by Kropotkin123 on Tuesday, 23rd Dec 2014 17:31
Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Traitor!! Splitter!!! It’s the latest instalment of If Stats Won Games
[b]Last Match Prediction[/b]
Ipswich 2-1 Middlesbrough: Nearly! Incorrect.
Ipswich score two against the best defence and the best away team in the division: Correct!
Murphy to score: Correct
Ipswich score between 31-45mins: Correct
Ipswich score between 76-90mins: Incorrect
Middlesbrough score between 76-90mins: Incorrect
Success rate: 50%
Conclusion: “Bounce in a minute, I’m gonna bounce in a minute!”
First of all, I’m sorry. Like every other hard-working, honest and committed Ipswich fan, I believe we will win every single game (don’t look back through my comments, the truth isn’t always important when setting a scene). It doesn’t matter how much I try and convince myself otherwise, from a form perspective, we will lose!
I know it isn’t in-keeping with the Christmas spirit, but this Brentford side only have a worse home record than Ipswich, and Ipswich are a different class! Like Ipswich, Brentford have only lost one home game this season, and by coincidence, it was also to an over-rated team, four points adrift of the play-offs, that smelt of mustard. (That was for tractorgrl).
Don’t get me wrong, I think Bournemouth are better, and I predicted a 2-1 win. I think Middlesbrough are better, and I predicted a 2-1 win. However, whether I think a team is better or not makes no difference to statistics. Statistics don’t care for my opinion, they force me to accept that Brentford deserve to be in their position and are most likely to beat us.
The first five games of the season have little bearing on how a team will fair in the next 41 games. So our away loss to Reading says a lot less than our away loss to Cardiff. Cardiff are the fourth best home team in the league, we had an off day there, and we were dispatched.
Our first unbeaten run lasted eight games until Cardiff and our current unbeaten run lasted nine games prior to Brentford. From a timing perspective, we are due an off game, against a top home team, in which the opposition take advantage.
Brentford’s current form is excellent. In fact, in the last six matches Brentford are top, and Ipswich are second. In the last ten games Brentford are second and Ipswich are third. Missing out August, Ipswich are first and Brentford are fourth. Whereas we are unbeaten in nine games, Brentford have won seven of their last eight games. These games have included Derby (fifth), Blackburn (eighth), Forest (ninth) and Cardiff (at Cardiff!).
At home, Brentford have won 64% of their games, losing a mere 9%. They have scored 21 goals, and have conceded 11. Eleven is relatively high, an average of one per game. They have failed to score in 18% of their home games, and haven’t lost in seven home games.
Maybe I am building up their home form too much, overtly concentrating on their recent run. Despite their run, they have only won 55% of games. We’re on 50% and our best winning run like theirs is five wins in six games (divided by a draw).
Brentford only have us left to play in the top seven, and have lost all bar one of those (the win coming against Derby). It’s worth noting that Brentford played Derby in their last nine games, and Derby would be tenth, if we took a league table over that period.
The way Brentford play does give me some cause for optimism, but this is the first time I have sought to expand the statistics to the style of play we should expect to receive from our opponents. Consequently, I won’t be using it as a factor in my decision. I’ll leaving it a week to first observe the impact, before deciding how to utilise it.
Statistically speaking, Brentford are effective on the counter-attack, effective on the wings and effective at utilising the through-ball. They are vulnerable in aerial battles, vulnerable when defending counter attacks and vulnerable when defending down the wings. To nullify their play we should set ourselves up to play for a draw. We must keep our shape at all costs, and hit the on the counter-attack, down the wings.
In Brentford’s last six games, 44% of their play has come down the right-hand side, 11% above a balanced style of play. Sometimes up to 50% of their play can come from down the right flank. Very little comes down the left flank, with the centre being the next most tried area. Brentford play a lot of short passes, often making 100-200 more than their opponents. This translates into a lot of possession-based football, before opting for the right-wing or centre.
Our side has usually dealt with possession based football well. So we shouldn’t really fear the fact Brentford have had 56.2% of the possession in their last six games, with a high of 64%. We should take heart that Huddersfield beat them, whilst only keeping 41% of the play.
We haven’t got the fastest of central defenders, and Brentford do favour a through ball. 62.5% of their chances come from the middle, after their build-up play favouring the right side. They have a high of 88% of their shots, coming from the middle.
We are going to have to try and stamp this side of their game out by not over-committing men, and exposing ourselves. Our midfielders will have to press them early on to break up their play. This is something we are well drilled on.
I definitely feel this is a game we should set out to draw, as we are far more likely to win, and far less likely to lose, as a consequence. If I was counting this section, I would go for a 1-1 draw, but I am not. I therefore predict a 2-1 loss, but hope this new insight will prove me wrong, and gives more added value to the blog.
After reading about their style of play, Brentford’s goalscoring times should be of no surprise. Counter-attacking play, that is reliant on through-balls, manifests into nine goals scored in the last 15 mins of the game. Defenders tire, teams over-commit, it is a recipe for a Brentford goal. If it is level after 75 mins, we should shut-up shop and see the game out. It would be the most effective approach.
For context, our most likely time to score at home consists of a mere five goals, and the next nearest to Brentford in the last 15 mins is two goals behind on seven. Brentford, unsurprisingly, have score twice as many goals in the second half, at home, than they have in the first half.
It seems, amongst supporters, that there is a perception that we concede late on in the game. I think this comes from the disproportionate home timings record. But away from home we are pretty solid in the last 15 mins. Only twice away from home have we conceded in the last 15 mins, which is the joint-third best in the league, some way behind Fulham’s 11, so we are well equipped and positioned to shut the game out, if need be.
Whilst Brentford are most likely to score in between 46-60 mins and 76-90 mins, we are most likely to score between 61-75 mins. Despite the stats telling me we will lose, I cannot see us throwing away a 1-1 draw with 15 mins to go, unless we succumb to a cacoethes to get forward and find a late winner, I think we are far more likely to draw. But I reluctantly stick to the 2-1 prediction.
I stuck to this for the same conviction that said that we would beat Boro, despite their great away record. If we don’t lose, I believe this will be one of our most accomplished performances, as it would mean we would be breaking up a threatening team, and defying the statistics. I’m really looking forward to see if we will rise to the challenge.
Brentford 2-1 Ipswich
Brentford to score between 46-60mins
Ipswich to score between 61-75mins
Brentford to score between 76-90mins
NB: A big thanks to CherryHintonBlue, who influenced the inclusion of the playing style section! Please ask CherryHintonBlueJNR for my forgiveness, that I don’t produce a Latin version!!
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