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If Statistics Won Games: Millwall 0-2 Ipswich
Written by Kropotkin123 on Monday, 12th Jan 2015 10:48

Welcome back to the fallacious blog that inspired audiences worldwide to believe we had a chance of beating Derby, predominantly because it managed to finally get a prediction correct. After last week’s forecast turned out to be the biggest let-down since [i]The Matrix Reloaded[/i] hit the cinemas, If Stats Won Games returns the once again back the Blue Army!

[b]Last Week's Predictions[/b]


Success Rate: 0%

Conclusion: Sheepish Town Ram-raided…

Alright, alright, I only spent all of Sunday thinking of that one.

[b]The Derby Fallout[/b]

First and foremost, we should deal with the elephant in the room. Whether we agree or disagree with the merits of Derby’s victory, it no longer matters. What matters is the context of the defeat.

We lost our first game in 12. We lost our first home game in 11. We conceded our eighth goal at home this season. It was the first time we lost to top six-opposition, despite playing all of the other top six sides in our unbeaten run.

It was an excellent run and had to come to an end at some point. The statistics suggested that loss would have been against Brentford, so despite the loss, the actual results have now come back in line with the predictions.

For over one hundred years, football supporters have been creating a huge array of apophthegms. There are so many now that it is impossible to know which one to believe. For example, when we play a side in the bottom six “there are no easy games in this league”, but when our promotion rivals play a team in the bottom six it will simply be “stroll in the park” for them!

Whilst it is true that all games come with their own unique set of challenges, the statistics cut through supporter superstition and show our next eight games to be much easier than our last eight games.

Going forward then, we should hold great faith in the team that has surprised us all to put themselves in this awesome position. We have an excellent opportunity to go on another amazing unbeaten run, given the quality of opposition we have played, and the quality of opposition in the up-coming games.


Ipswich have lost four games this season, which is the fewest in the division. So with us losing to Derby last week, statistics suggest we are highly likely to extend our unbeaten away form to six games. We shouldn’t expect to see a repeat of our last game, which is great news for all those making the trip down to Millwall!

Millwall are currently in the relegation zone, after losing their last four matches. They haven’t beaten a team in the top 10 all season and have lost 50% of their home games. Millwall currently sit 23rd in the home table and 22nd in the last eight form table. They are weak offensively and defensively, sitting 21st in both tables.

Ipswich have won 33% of their away games and sit eighth in the away table. A victory would put us fifth, as we have a game in hand against all above us, except Bournemouth. Ipswich have a 100% record against teams in the bottom seven, scoring at least two goals on every occasion. A professional 2-0 victory is the most common result.

Millwall have often been tanked by the top seven sides, conceding three or more goals in half of their games. They have lost their last four homes and have conceded in their last five home games. It’s worth noting at this point that each time I look at a new variant of statistics, it is to try and find something that should check our enthusiasm going into the game.

Some may argue that we traditionally don’t do well at Millwall, but I consider these type of statistics to be quiet meaningless. We aren’t the same side that took on Millwall last season, nor are Millwall the same side that took us on. Our respective league position should be enough evidence to counter those types of irrelevant statistics.

[b]Playing Style[/b]

Millwall’s main statistical weaknesses seem to revolve around their defence. They are weak against set-pieces, counter attacks, and through balls, which seems like the ideal set-up to consistently concede at home.

It is certainly worth noting that Millwall have, perhaps surprisingly, won five out of the six games that have taken the lead in, conceding a mere four goals. On the flip side, when they concede first, they haven’t won a game, losing 11 out of 15. The first goal is the most important in this game, as it should set the tone of the match.

Millwall create a similar number of chances to Ipswich, averaging 13 shots to our 15. However it is clear from the statistics that they just cannot create the same quality of opportunity that we do. Millwall have scored 24 goals to our 41, and the most telling statistic for this is that 48% of their shots are limited to outside of the area, whereas 37% of our shots come from outside of the box.

In many ways Millwall’s style is just an archaic version of our own. The statistics are striking, they play 95 long balls per game, whereas we play 93. They play 312 short passes per game, whereas we play 288. Their average passing streak is 3.6, ours is 3.5. Evidence suggests it is the intent and quality of our play in the final third that makes the difference, not underlining methodology.

[b]Player Focus[/b]

Shaun Williams is Millwall’s best player. He has played in 22 of their games this season and plays as a defensive midfielder. He makes 2.4 tackles and 2.6 interceptions per game, compared to Skuse’s 1.3 tackles and 3 interceptions.

Williams's biggest weakness is his discipline, having received two yellow cards and two red cards so far this season. With McGoldrick and Bishop playing in and around his zone, I don’t expect him to avoid a card of some colour.

Considering how few goals Millwall have scored, they must be thankful that Williams has chipped in with two goals this season, and two assists. The fact that a defensive midfielder has this sort of record, suggests that there are some serious weaknesses in their leading line.


Overall I think 2-0 to Ipswich is the most likely result. Not only have we recorded this scoreline five times this season, we have also recorded it four times against the bottom six teams. This is in addition to scoring exactly two goals in six of our games against bottom seven teams.

Away from home we have scored six goals between 16-30mins, so get ready to start the celebrations early. For those that seek to beat the half time beer and pie queues, because we haven’t scored between 31-45mins should heed this warning; Millwall have conceded eight goals at home during this period.

Despite this we are more than likely to score one either half. This is most likely to occur between 61-75mins, where we have scored four goals and they have conceded six. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Murphy is likely to get one of those goals, as he failed to score last week.


Millwall 0-2 Ipswich

Ipswich to score between 16-30mins

Ipswich to score between 61-75mins

Another big thanks to Callis for the graphic assistance!

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

paulthebluealien added 11:11 - Jan 15
Great stuff mate - let's hope you're absolutely spot on!

JohnStirk added 13:59 - Jan 15
Apophthegms! Pleased to see a return to form..

horsehollerer added 14:33 - Jan 15
Boy, do we need statistics to start winning games again! Great stuff as always. Cheers

ericclacton added 14:52 - Jan 15
Oh your back, lovely, I get really excited when I study your Stats.
I've read your blog thrice and It's a joy from top to bottom. Wonderful, fingers crossed you are correct.


Kropotkin123 added 16:22 - Jan 15
I forgot this went live today, good job Phil's on the case!

Thank you all. I was actually thinking don't let John down, as I was starting, so got it in nice and early!

tampa_bay added 16:58 - Jan 15
Always look forward to your blog. Have you ever worked out how far up or down you'd be had you backed your statistical predictions financially?

portmanteau added 22:17 - Jan 15
after that atrocious non-performance against soton and millwall unable to get any worse its a nailed on certainty for three defeats in a week.

CherryHintonBlue added 12:46 - Jan 16
Great stuff as ever. So much so that I've just stuck a fiver on Murphy and 0-2 at 25/1. If it comes in, I'll let you sit in my swanky X Block seat at the next home match. Oh. You already are. :-)

Palestine added 14:14 - Jan 16
Love it. Don't know why this blog isn't on the main feed of the site. It is excellent, and useful tool for viewing the game. I'm going to Millwall!!

I'm slightly worried their bad run of form has to tend some time. Therefore my prediction (and sod's law as I'm going) is a dour 0-0 or 1-1 draw (or at worst 1-0 defeat). Either that or we win and maybe Holloway gets sacked? and their fans kick off big style....


Kropotkin123 added 16:39 - Jan 16
@ CherryHintonBlue: ha ha, the pressure's on! :P

@ Palestine: Gav originally encouraged me to get these into a blog format; and Gav, Phil and CherryHintonBlue have all contributed ideas to improve upon the original idea. Gav is also working with Phil on site improvements that should make all blogs a lot more focal. I'm fully behind their ideas, and am happy for it to stay a part of that format! :)

@ Tampa_Bay: I haven't actually backed my predictions with money yet, so I haven't looked at where I have the greatest/worst success rates. CherryHintonBlue's 25/1 looks very tempting though, so I may give that a go.

Thanks for the kind comments all.

Upbeat added 16:51 - Jan 16
Top stuff Kroppers! (although we may need a third option to bring out Williams' Green side given the latest rumours)

itfcserbia added 19:05 - Jan 16
well good thing Williams is banned for them then

itfcserbia added 19:06 - Jan 16
oh, and a great read, as always kropotkin :)

Generic added 19:30 - Jan 16
Actually, the first football apothegm wasn't until 1932, prior to that they were all aphorisms, and the odd maxim. Do your research, Kropotkin (if that's even your real name).

jayceee added 11:03 - Jan 17
haha - another good read - and hopefully correct :)

Apophthegms - err, slightly ashamed to admit that I had to google a definition, lol.

ericclacton added 17:34 - Jan 17
Not far off Kropers you lovely man, well done says eye.
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