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If Statistics Won Games: Ipswich 2-1 Wigan
Written by Kropotkin123 on Wednesday, 28th Jan 2015 10:54

After last week’s tepid edition, a rejuvenated [i]If Statistics Won Games[/i] pulls no punches with a brand new, season-defining, phylogenetic branch of statistics – The Wider Context.

[b]Last Match Prediction[/b]

Brighton 1-2 Ipswich: Incorrect

Ipswich to score between 0-15mins: Incorrect

Ipswich to score between 16-30mins: Correct

Brighton to score between 76-90mins: Incorrect

Ipswich to score two goals: Correct

Daryl Murphy to score: Correct

Success rate: 50%

Conclusion: “Bonkers”

[b]The Wider Context[/b]

This week, thanks to CherryHintonBlue, I’m introducing a new section which puts our results into the wider context of our promotion push. Out goes the guesswork of where we stand and the odds we are up against, and in comes fresh realism in the form of probability drawn from over 15 million simulations. For perspective, there are more simulations for each statistic in this section than there are people in Belgium, Portugal or the Czech Republic.

Following our defeat to Brighton, simulations dictate that Ipswich have 14% chance of finishing first and 17% chance of finishing second. Cumulatively Ipswich have a 31% chance of finishing in the top two. For comparison, Bournemouth have a 52% chance, Middlesbrough have a 47% chance and Derby have a 38% chance.

Ipswich have a 91% chance of making the play-offs. This is extraordinarily high, given our hopes and expectations at the start of the season. Few probabilities are higher at this stage of the season, with Blackpool’s 99% chance of relegation being the most definite.

The weekend’s most important fixtures for our chances of promotion, excluding our own game, are Cardiff vs Derby and Brentford vs Middlesbrough. Our chance of winning the title increases by 1.2% in both games should Derby and Middlesbrough lose. For the record I would do it for a top two finish, but I don’t have those statistics available to me.


Two defeats and three wins in our last five games is not promotion form, just look at Bournemouth, Brentford, Watford and Naridge! Okay, whilst including Naridge in the promotion candidates is stretching things somewhat, you get the point, four of the top six sides have this five-game form. Our relatively poor form hasn’t been in isolation and it is only because we have such an extreme focus on ourselves that makes us seem more fallible than our rivals, at this moment in time.

It’s just that time of year, when fatigue catches up with a team. Our squad has been hit by injuries and illnesses, within a run of back-to-back games, to the extent that we couldn’t even fill our bench against Millwall. So having this break, whilst others have continued to play, couldn’t have come at a better time.

Whilst it wasn’t nice to go to Brighton and lose, and we haven’t performed particularly well of late, we should place our form in its true context. We have been in such excellent form for so long, that despite losing two out of our last three games, we are still a point off first place, battling it out with the division's best teams.

Statistics show we are still sixth in the eight-game form table. We are top of the home league table, with a game in hand over Derby, Middlesbrough and Watford, who are second, third and fourth respectively. We’ve score the fifth most of goals and conceded the fourth least.

Despite our recent run of results, Ipswich are still overwhelming favourites for this match against Wigan. Wigan have only won once in their last 13 league games, losing nine along the way. They have won only 15% of their games and sit 23rd in the table. Wigan, following Rotherham’s win against Bolton, are now eight points adrift from safety and have a 27% chance of survival.

It looks bleak for Wigan, but this season they have recorded a victory away from home against Derby, so like any game in this division, it isn’t a foregone conclusion. The statistics aren’t favouring a sizable victory either, due to Wigan posting a 14th position in the defensive table. However, they have conceded 13 times in their last 14 games, which isn’t an enviable form of consistency.

Wigan have lost 69% of their away games, with 3-1 and 2-1 losses both contributing a 23% share. Wigan don’t actually have a great scoring record. Despite the most common away scores featuring one goal for Wigan, they sit 19th in the offensive table. When you see they have failed to score 43% of the time at home, the instant thought is that they stick 10 men behind the ball away from home, and catch people on the break.

Overall, form dictates this is more likely to be a 2-1 victory to Ipswich, than it is 3-1 win. If we achieve this narrow victory against Wigan we should be treating it as a moral boosting return to form after our well-deserved mini-break. It shouldn’t be treated as a weakness if we do not hammer them.

[b]Playing Style[/b]

Wigan are another team that attempt possession football, featuring eighth with 52% possession. This is probably a hangover from the Roberto Martinez era as they don’t execute this style very well and seem to be highly dependent on set pieces.

A third of Wigan’s goals have come from set pieces, making their open-play contribution the third worst in the league. Opposing fans often say Ipswich are dependent on set pieces, but we have scored roughly double the amount of goals from open play and our set pieces only contribute a quarter of our goals.

Wigan try and make the most of their play by working down the channels. 79% of their play is from the wings, making them the best team in the league for working the wings. We sit in fourth with 78% of the play down the wings, so don’t expect much play to be in the middle of the park.

Both teams like to play in the opposition’s half and both teams prefer taking their chances in the 18-yard box. 55% of their shots come from here, putting them fourth in that table, whereas we are top on 59%. For reference, Blackpool are bottom on 42%.


Despite having great fun doing this section, it really does appear to have no relevance to when we will score! With that said, we will definitely score between 31-45mins, and there is no way we will concede at this time. Our record stands at 6-0 in this time period.

Our second goal, thankfully, will come between 46-60mins. Although our home scoring record is tied equally between 46-60mins and the dreaded 76-90mins section, Wigan have conceded five between 46-60mins and only three between 76-90mins.

Wigan are most likely to score between 41-45mins. But with over half the season played, I’m pretty certain we can take it as an absolute that they won’t score then. Trailing by one goal is 76-90mins, which should set up another lively end to the game, perhaps unfairly leaving us questioning our resolution.

We are overdue a centre-back scoring, so don’t be surprised if Smith or Berra are amongst the list of contributors this week.

[b]Player Focus[/b]

Wigan’s stand-out player is James Perch, who hasn’t been sent off in the previous game, like the last two stand-out players I originally wrote about. Interestingly, Perch would statistically be our seventh best player, which doesn’t say great things about the rest of their team. He does still score highly and is statistically 0.03 points better than our fellow right-back – Luke Chambers.

Perch has scored two goals this season and has played in four difference positions so far this season. He is statistically perceived to be weak at tackling and poor at concentrating. So for all his ability that boosts the rest of his score, he doesn’t sound like the greatest defender in the world!

Perch makes 2.5 tackles a game, 2.3 interceptions and 2.7 clearances. This is in contrast to Chambers’s 1.5 tackles. 1.3 interceptions and 5.2 clearances. Like last week’s comparison, this pattern is indicative of our contrasting style of defending.


Ipswich 2-1 Wigan

Ipswich to score between 0-15mins

Ipswich to score between 16-30mins

Wigan to score between 76-90mins

A big thanks to CherryHintonBlue for both the ticket and the improvements!

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

JewellintheTown added 13:53 - Jan 28
Top notch as usual, Kropotkin123. Hope the predictions are right, ideally though a larger margin. Goal difference for us needs some catching up with.

I always enjoy your articles, thanks.

ericclacton added 15:21 - Jan 28
I look forward to kropotkin123, a good read with a touch of wit.
I'm a bit concerned with our recent form, I feel optimistic now, good blog. COYB.

tractorgrl added 18:58 - Jan 28

carsey added 11:37 - Jan 29
Funny how stats can make you feel better. Like others I am concerned we seem to have gone off the boil but if other teams are having the same problems with results maybe it's not so bad after all.
Still would like to see us hammer someone to improve goal difference

MedwayTractor added 11:56 - Jan 29
Just a comment about Wigan's preference for attacking down the wings - they've just sold Callum McManaman to West Brom, which should (tempting fate) work in our favour!

Kropotkin123 added 13:40 - Jan 29
yeah, good point.

horsehollerer added 06:38 - Jan 30
Another brilliant installment - many thanks!
Personally, I think a little too much has been made of us going "off the boil" recently. We have won 4 of our last 6 league games, and we managed scored 5 goals in our last two tricky away games. When things were going great, we weren't exactly playing the likes of Brentford and Charlton off the park - we just scored at good times (and often!). We'll be healthy and rested and raring to go again against Wigan. Which, of course, guarantees us nothing :)

Binner added 12:16 - Jan 31
Good work as usual, Mr Kropotkin.

Before reading this had already gone for Berra to score first in a 2-1 win. Am now planning how to spend my winnings...
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