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If Statistics Won Games: Rotherham 1-1 Ipswich
Written by Kropotkin123 on Wednesday, 4th Feb 2015 12:25

Stubbornly defying the second law of thermodynamics, [i]If Statistics Won Games[/i] bravely resists the arrow of time by continuing to create order through the coercion of high entropy.

[b]Last Match Prediction[/b]

Ipswich 2-1 Wigan: Incorrect

Success rate: 0%

Conclusion: Disappointing

[b]The Wider Context[/b]

Wigan was really a game we should have won, if we are aiming for a top two spot. As a consequence of drawing, our chance of finishing in the top two has fallen from 31% to 20%. Our most likely finish has fallen from third to fourth. But our chance of finishing in the top six has stoically remained on 91%. So the most pessimistic or fearful amongst us still have some way to go before the laws of probability back them in their worries.

This week’s big winners were Derby. They now have a 56% chance of finishing in the top two, which is up a massive 18%. Middlesbrough now have a 51% chance of finishing in the top two, up four percent. And Bournemouth now have a 58% of finishing in the top two, up six percent.

Probability certainly seems to suggest we are being shut out of the top two, despite only being three points away from automatic promotion. If we replicate our form for the entire season, over our remaining games, we stand a 28% chance of finishing in the top two. This was at 87% two weeks ago. If nothing else, it highlights our turn in form.

The weekend’s most important fixtures for our chances of promotion, excluding our own game, are Derby vs Bolton and Middlesbrough vs Charlton. Our chance of reaching the Premier League increases by 1.9% and 2.1% respectively with a loss for our rivals.


After the high of being in the top two, Mick McCarthy was evidently keen to take the pressure off his players after the Wigan game by openly discussing the points required to make the play-offs and by talking up Wigan. But from the statistics, a draw wasn’t really good enough for play-offs either.

That said, we are highly unlikely to perform like that for the rest of the season, just like we were unlikely to avoid a poor run of form. Surprisingly, even in this poor run of form, Ipswich are actually sixth in the six-game form table and ninth in the eight-game form table. Even if we project every team’s eight-game form over the rest of the season, we still finish in the top six.

Our recent run is starting to have a negative effect on predictions though, as we slump to another draw against lower half opposition. For perspective, a point away from home is not a disaster, from a statistical or probability vantage point. But it isn’t great either, as even a sempiternal optimist would admit.

Looking back at the season for negative runs, rather than positive runs, we are actually in our third downturn, which surprised me. In our first five games we accumulated five points. From 30th September to 25 October we played five games and got four points. In our last four games we have four points. So perhaps this poor form will extend one more game, before we snap back into gear against Sheffield Wednesday.

That said, we have still won the vast majority our games against the bottom seven sides, so in all honesty I am struggling to align myself with recent form and disregard our mean form from the season. But this complexity is the harsh reality of the task I’ve set myself.

Rotherham have lost seven of their eight games against top six opposition, drawing with Bournemouth on their sole detraction from the norm. Rotherham are in relatively good form. They are 20th in the table, but are 13th in the eight-game form table, four points and four places behind us.

Rotherham have conceded at least one goal in their last seven games, despite being 11th in the defensive table. Rotherham’s biggest weakness is going forward. They have scored 26 goals this season and are 20th in the offensive table. They did manage to put four past Bolton though, despite Bolton looking more resilient since Lennon took over.

Rotherham have conceded in 79% of their home games and are weaker in the home table, than the away table, accruing 17 points on the way to 19th in the table. Despite being 20th, Rotherham only have a 19% chance of being relegated, so they are easily odds-on favourites to survive the drop. Their average simulated finish is actually 18.6, whereas ours is down to 4.1.

Rotherham have lost 36% of their home matches this season, contrasting with us winning 36% of ours. Rotherham have also drawn 36% of their home games, whilst we have drawn 43% of our away games. Due to Ipswich not scoring last game, we should score this match. So a 1-1 draw seems like the most likely outcome.

[b]Playing Style[/b]

Rotherham seem to have a similar style to Ipswich. We both average 405 passes per game, with Rotherham making 295 short passes and 90 long passes, which barely contrasts with Ipswich’s 290 short passes and 94 long passes per game. This is unlikely to be one for the neutrals!

Ipswich hold slightly more of the ball with 49% of the play, compared to 46%. But neither side are possession-based teams. Both teams are in the bottom three of the pass success rate and dribbles per game index, which is a consequence of a tendency to play long passes. Both teams also churn out 14.5 shots per game.

Rotherham make the most tackles per game in the league, whereas we make the second most interceptions. Neither side are offside merchants, but both seem capable to play the system when required.

Neither side makes a lot of saves per game, with Ipswich 16th and Rotherham 20th, so due to their low goals against record, it seems like both clubs cut out a lot of opportunities and consequently only really get beaten by clear cut chances.


Ipswich’s most prolific time to score away from home is still 16-30mins, where we have notched up seven goals. This timing is closely followed by the last 15mins, which accounts for six of our away goals.

Rotherham’s most prolific time to score at home is between 76-90mins, where they have scored five goals this season. Most of their other timings have a mere two goals, which means this really is a stand-out time for them to score.

Rotherham have also conceded a massive seven goals during the last 15mins, with the next nearest being between 16-30mins, and 61-75mins, which both have four goals against. Ipswich have conceded most of their away goals between 31-45mins and 76-90mins. Consequently, synthesis suggests that both goals will come in the last 15mins.

Ipswich are still due a goal from a central defender, so don’t be surprised if one of them gets on the score sheet.

[b]Player Focus[/b]

Rotherham’s stand out player is Icelandic international defender Kari Arnason. At the age of 32 and height of 6ft3in, he has both experience and presence in the heart of the Millers' defence. Arnason is most comparable to Christophe Berra, who is currently our best player this season.

Whilst Arnason would be Town’s fourth best player this season, he would be behind both our central defenders in the pecking order. Arnason’s statistical strengths are tackling, blocking and aerial duals. His main weakness is passing. As a consequence, it would be great if we could get back to the high pressing that brought us so much success in our good run, as we should be able to force errors, if we get them under pressure.

Arnason makes 2.3 tackles, 2.1 interceptions, and 7.4 clearances per game. In contrast Berra makes 1.6 tackles, 2.6 interceptions and 11.5 clearances. Arnason has only added one goal to Rotherham’s tally this season, in contrast to Berra’s five. Overall Berra is rated a massive 0.5 points above Arnason.


Rotherham 1-1 Ipswich

Ipswich to score between 76-90mins

Rotherham to score between 76-90mins

Fingers crossed we do better this week!

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

bellazzurri79 added 18:00 - Feb 4
If we draw 1-1 to Rotherham it's curtains

tractorgrl added 18:47 - Feb 4
We're doomed! Not really, but another must win game.Thanks for the interesting blog!

ericclacton added 09:53 - Feb 5
Eye like it Krops, we have 2 bounce back after Saturday, but it won't be easy.
How about Ann Browse starting to freshen up the m.f., or does that make me sound like a loooona tick.
Wednesday on Tuesday, That's a hard 1.

TR11BLU added 14:33 - Feb 5
I think four points from the next two games would be a good return.

Looking further ahead, an average of two points per game would highly likely get a top two finish. Certainly top three.

Tractorog added 22:33 - Feb 5
Strangely, my enjoyment of this blog has fallen from 87% to 28% along with our form. :)

Great blog nonetheless.

I am however thinking of starting a rival called "if Rog's predictions won games" which would contain the same five words each week. "Of course we'll win". Predictable, but strangely enjoyable.


ericclacton added 10:20 - Feb 6
Tractorog that made me laugh, is it ok if I call you Rog the tractor, Whoopee!!

NEXT, We're on the march with Michaels army.....................
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