Wycombe Peterborough's attack is too good for this division. Some how Wycombe score one penalty and came away with a 3-3 draw. I see Akinfenwa was given one, but looked like two OGs to me. Wycombe didn't look bad in defence, Peterborough just have good strikers.
Fleetwood Ipswich looked to be the better team in the highlights with a couple of nice moves. Jackson's control and ball through to Norwood was great. Norwood needs to find a bit more confidence in front of goal. Maybe he's playing within himself with the injury. Fleetwood didn't seem up to much. A couple of half chances. Should have been 2-0 with the bad penalty miss
Coventry City Shocking defending. Zero communication. If you watched that game in isolation, you expect them to be in the bottom six. It was really was that dreadful.
Blackpool Play on Monday
Sunderland Lincoln were by far the better team. Big mistakes at the back. Should have been 4-0 from the highlights. A missed penalty and a certain goal denied by Lincoln's own player blocking the shot
I was really surprised at how bad the teams were at the back.
Introduction Par was set at five points from one win and two draws. We managed to get a haul of seven points, which means we were 2 under par. Google promises me that this is an Eagle.
Before we get into the Round Three overview. Let’s take a moment to acknowledge an important fact. 20% of the season is done. Done and never to be seen again. Whatever Doris Day has in store for us, we’ve done well up until now.
We are undefeated. We’ve had six clean sheets. Four of which were away from home. We have conceded the least goals in the division. Scored the fourth most. We have the best away form. The best “last 8” form and are top of the table.
On a side note, if you have no clue what this post is about, please go down to the bottom to catch-up on how the projections (not predictions) are made.
Round Three: Eagle First up was Doncaster, who at the time were undefeated. They are are currently seventh, which is where they are projected to finish. But with Lincoln capitulating in the wake of the Cowley brothers departing on the 9th September, Portsmouth sitting in 20th and Rotherham not up to much, don’t be surprised if they are in the play-offs or better.
They have a tidy defence, which is the second best in the league, a good work ethic and the majority of their games have been against top half teams. It should be no surprise that when they are on it they can shut out and beat teams like Peterborough, as they did on Saturday.
Where they may struggle this season, relatively speaking, is in attack. At 1.38 goals per game, they sit below the league average of 1.40. When pushing for a top two spot, they may fall short for this reason.
We were projected to draw against Doncaster and we did. It was a decent result.
Next up were two away games. First we took 3,360 fans to Milton Keynes on a Tuesday night. If you haven’t seen the posts floating around, this was one less than the rest of the away support for the entire league. Let that sink in a moment. That is awesome. The videos were awesome. The result? Also awesome.
This was forecasted as a draw. So we really did steal two points here to move onto 5 under par. Golf refuses to validate any score lower than three-under par with a birds' names. It’s a little inconvenient, but they probably didn’t have this blog in mind when they started it.
Forecasts always get a hiding from reality, which is always more bizarre than projective measures. When we were forecasted to draw against Milton Keynes, the simple calculations didn’t take into account that Milton Keynes don’t do draws. Nine games, no draws. So it is somewhat fortuitous that we came away with a win and not a loss I suppose.
Although that would require us conceding, which after five clean sheets in a row is also looking increasingly unlikely. Another bizarre stat that crops up with Milton Keynes is that they have played the most home games in the division (six). With them sitting 15th in the League, I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up placing well below their 11th place forecast.
Gillingham were four games unbeaten before they played us. Home games also accounted for 70% of Gillingham's total points and 71% of the goals they have scored so far this season. This includes a 2-0 win against third place Wycombe. So they were in good form, particularly at home and were probably hopeful we would underestimate them so they could walk away with a draw or sneak a win.
Gillingham were always going to be a threat in this game, with a 1.56 goals per game (inclusive of our result) this puts them well above the aforementioned 1.40 league average. Even though we kept a clean sheet against them, they remain the league’s joint seventh highest scorers.
Another great following, filling out all of the 2,000 seats in the away section. Holy, keen to boost my statistics count, said he was at Gillingham for 2.5 years and it is only the second time he has seen the away end full.
Round FIve Projections: Seven Points, 2 wins, 1 draw Okay, okay, okay. I know. This is definitely harder on paper than on the forecast. This may be where we relinquish some of our hard earned five-under par. Either way, we love to assign fault on TWTD and I can categorically lay the blame at the bookies feet. They hopelessly forecasted that Wycombe would get relegated in 22nd place. They had the same odds as Tranmere and were only below them due to alphabetical descrimination.
We can’t just change things around to suit us at this stage. If I decide to change things around it will be halfway through the season, when we have played 22 games, switching to a fixed league table standing.
Tranmere were predicted to finished 21st and are currently 18th. After a generally poor start, they only have one loss in five. A draw against Peterborough and a win against Burton should give them the confidence that they can finish above Southend, Wimbledon and Bolton.
Tranmere got promoted last season, with our new striker James Norwood being a key reason for that. We are already seeing why he was so successful last season and by his accounts can do much better.
Tranmere are not really having fun on the road though. Only 11% of their points and 7% of their goals have come away from home.
Fleetwood, who sit in fourth place, are outrageous when it comes to goals. Their matches average 3.33 goals per game (GPG), which is the joint third highest. The difference to a team like Peterborough and Tranmere (also 3.33 GPG) is that they score and concede rather than score or concede.
Whilst Peterborough are joint second lowest when it comes to both teams scoring (33% BTS),. Fleetwood are joint third highest with 78% BTS.
100% of their matches have had 2+ goals per game and that is in stark contrast to us. Our matches have the joint second lowest goals per game. Even with a 5-0 win against Bolton and a 3-0 win against Shrewsbury, this shouldn’t be too surprising, given our six clean sheets.
When two contrasting playing styles come together, it is always interesting to see which one prevails. Personally I can see us shutting them out, as they don’t seem to travel too well. So far they have only amassed four points from a possible 12 on the road. Note they scored eight goals in these games, but conceded nine.
Onto Wycombe. When we last spoke, Wycombe were 4 over par. This meant that despite sitting in 5th place, they were actually doing worse than a projected top 2 side and despite a decent set of results, I really expected them to fall away.
Instead it is Lincoln who have really fallen apart. Wycombe’s last 6 form is eighth, compare to Lincoln who are now 21st in the form table. Over the past six games Wycombe have won three, drawn two and lost one. They have scored nine and conceded seven. This is compared to our W5, D1, L0, F12 an A1.
Wycombe’s sole loss this season has come Gillingham. Looking at their fixtures, the jury is still out on whether they have actually been playing like a top six side, or whether they are just playing well against poorer opposition. Over the next six games they play Rochdale, Peterborough, Ipswich, Sunderland, Blackpool and Rotherham. This horrible set of fixtures highlights that they have had some easier games and it will really show us if they are here to stay.
To highlight where I sit on this, they have played four of the bottom five at home, and fifth team away. They have only played three of the top 10 and have played one more game than Ipswich, Coventry, Fleetwood and Sunderland. They have played two more than Doncaster in seventh.
With this in mind, the seven point par may be more realistic than first thought.
Top Seven Table Team, Points, Par Ipswich, 21, -5 Coventry City, 19, +1 Wycombe, 19, +5 Fleetwood, 17, +2 Sunderland, 16, 0 Blackpool, 16, +8 Doncaster, 15, 0
To recap, the higher the minus figure, the better you are doing. In a 24 team division division, par would be 90 points. So at the moment Ipswich are on course to get 95 points (89 when we factor out Bury).
Ipswich are the only team in the Top Seven to remain under par. This suggests we are currently on course to win the league. But bear in mind that 80% of the season is still to play for, so let’s not go counting chickens just yet.
Second place is projected to be Doncaster or Sunderland. Sunderland’s form is dubious though. A -3 picked up against Portsmouth is really helping to hide some horrible results.With Doncaster, it underlines what I said about lower league opposition and their firepower.
I don’t know enough about Doncaster. I don’t know if they need to bring in a striker or a creative player for their strikers. But against the four best teams they have played they are -7 and against the bottom four teams their have played they are +7. It is a massive swing. If they can pick up someone to break down these lower ranked teams, they can really make the top two a realistic target.
Wycombe and Blackpool are really highlighting the fortuitous fixtures they have had in this table.
Side Note For Newcomers Round 1: Establishes why I did this, why 90 points is the target, how I have modelled the fixtures and what par is based on. There are also two nice and related videos in response. - www.twtd.co.uk/forum/464305/round-one-albatross/#4
Round 2: A lot of people didn’t like that par was set at nine points for round two, so further explanation was given. There are a lot of good questions that would potentially make a nice FAQ, given a bit more commitment on my side.
Pointofblue really draws out that projections aren’t connected. So when we played Sunderland we were both projected to lose. The fact that we drew meant we both got -1. This is because we are projecting 90 points for each team, not simulating a league. - www.twtd.co.uk/forum/465308/round-two-par/#16
Recap: Round One - Albatross We had established a few things last time.
First, par was established from pre-season betting odds. Each team is ranked and weighted according to this.
Second, Barnsley had been used as a marker, as they had achieved 91 points to gain automatic promotion. No team in the last five seasons had finished below second, if they achieved 90 points. I roughly used their home and away form to get an idea of what an expected result is against each team.
Third, Victory against Burton and 2 draws against promotion rivals Sunderland and Peterborough had given us five points. We were projected to get one point. This put us in a healthy position of being four under par.
Since then Bury have been expelled from the league. I’m just going to continue with 84 points as the target, as they 24th in the pre-season betting table.
Round Two: Par We had a target of nine points from these three fixtures and we got nine. It was the first time we won three in a row since the start of the 2017–18 season! I freely admitted that I was nervous about this and our first game seemed to validate those nerves.
We played Wimbledon, who are now on two points from six games, but they have had some tricky fixtures themselves. If they were going for automatic promotion they would have been par 8, compared to our par 10. They certainly haven’t embarrassed themselves, so may be a game that one of the top teams trip up on.
Wimbledon took the lead in that game, heading into halftime with three points. It gave us a sense of character in the team now. Not cursing our luck, or poor form, the players equalised with 10mins to go and then took it to the wire, getting a last minute winner.
A very easy game followed, as we crushed Bolton 5-0 away from home. The only time the result looked in doubt was when their takeover bidding seemingly fell through.
One of the great things to come out of the game was our strikers scoring. Norwodd and Jackson both continued their good form and put another two past Shrewsbury today.
Shresbury had already proven tough fixture for our promotion rivals Portsmouth, beating them 1-0 on the opening day of the season. So, as much as it was a par win, no game is a foregone conclusion and it was impressive that we effectively ended they game in the first 10 minutes.
Overall you can’t ask too much more from the games. Three games, ten goals scored and only one conceded. Performances can improve and that is exciting, given the results we are getting.
We remain four under par going into our next three games.
Round Three Projection: 1 Win, 2 Draws With Rochdale called off, we may lose our top spot. Our next three games become Doncaster (H), MK Dons (A) and Gillingham (A). On paper, I thought they would be similar to our last three. But actually we are playing a different calibre of opposition, so we do need to be a little more measured.
Doncaster are 7th favourites, so expect them to be pushing for a play-off spot by the end of the season. I believe they have gone slightly under the radar as whilst they are 11th and only on 8 points. But this is because they have only played four games. They actually already have some pretty respectable results, such as beating Lincoln (sixth favourites) 3-2.
We are expected to draw at home with Doncaster, which should be a big motivation to get another couple of points in the bag. Doncaster may still feel a little untested away from home, as they have only played one of their four games away so far. Portman Road will hopefully prove overwhelming at this stage of the season.
Unsurprisingly, having played 4 games, Doncaster feature high on the defensive league and low on the attacking league. It is hard to grasp what they will bring.
MK Dons away is also a projected draw. However, they are definitely vulnerable in defence. We should be looking to take the game to them. The have conceded 10 goals from five games and sit fourth from bottom in the defensive league.
This isn’t quite Bolton standards (average three per game), but it is something we would want to take advantage of. With that being said, it is still a projected draw, so we need to bring our A-Game, if we want to grab an extra 2 points.
I have memories of travelling to Gillingham and standing in their away end, which seemed to be made up entirely of scaffolding. We came away with three points then and we are pojected to win here too. Gillingham are in the group of struggling but safe.
Expect them to put men behind the ball. They are more resilient than MK Dons and may prove more of a challenge to break down. Their only win so far this season was a 5-0 win at home to Bolton. We all know how dreadful they were and I imagine the home game could be one of our biggest ever wins, unless they strengthen.
They may be a bit nervous and prone to mistakes, if they don’t put a win on the table before we play them.
The Ipswich fan in me is backing us to get three wins, but this is why we are doing this. To keep ourselves grounded.
Top Six Table The Top Six Table is displayed to give a more authentic look at how our current rivals are doing. The top six are obviously doing really well, right in the mix for promotion. But we want to know who has had the most difficult games, so we know who is likely to stay around and who is likely to fall away.
The bigger the under par number, the better it is for that club. The bigger the over par score, the more likely they are to fall away.
Ipswich, 14 pts, 4 under par Lincoln , 12pts, 3 under par Blackpool, 12pts, 3 over par Coventry City, 12pts, par Wycombe, 12pts, 4 over par Sunderland, 11pts, 3 under par
Whilst Wycombe had a great start, they have played pretty easy sides. This is great for them, as they are picking up points, but until they play better teams, we shouldn’t expect them to stick around.
Licoln, like ourselves, are doing great Despite losing twice, they are a full win ahead of their projection.
Despite getting absolutely tanked 3-0 by Peterborough today, Sunderland were projected to lose that game and are 3 under par. The have played us, Portsmouth and Peterborough in their first three games and this was a tough draw.
Summary August is over. We are undefeated. We are top of the league. We are 4 points ahead of a projected 2nd place finish. Enjoy it!!
I'm currently trying to take a screenshot of a Whatsapp conversation between myself and my old landlord. I want to get the date in there. So I scroll down from the date, to the relevant art of the conversation and is disappears in about 0.5sec. This is too quick for me to screenshot it.
I've tried looking online (So no lmgtfy.com links please!), but can't see anyone with the same issue. An ideas on how to get it to stay for longer?
Searching for perspective Three games down and like most people I'm trying to make sense of things. The lack of perspective is somewhat painful.
I've found myself trawling through the past five seasons to establish what needs to be done. I heard a few mockingly put out 100 points and 100 goals. Sheffield Utd managed 100 points and two seasons later they are in the premiership. So here's to hoping
The least points accumulated to secure automatic promotion was Burton's 85. That same season the title winners Wigan recorded 87 points, which would have placed 5th last season.
The average title winner has accumulated 96 points. The average runner up has accumulated 90 points and the average third placed team has amassed 86 point.
Aside from the trolling Norwich accounts, we all hope to win automatic promotion. Not team in the last 5 years has achieved 90 points in third place. So the average second place points total should by our aim.
Last year's runner-up - Barnsley - got 91 points. Barnsley started off well enough. They were 3rd after 7 games and undefeated. Five loses and three draws from their next 14 games saw them drop out of the top 6. However they rallied over their next 25 games, only losing twice.
In total they lost 7 games over the course of the season and this should be our target. Only lose a maximum of 7 games and don't do a Sunderland.
Bizarrely Barnsley didnt lose at home in the league all season, making a fortress out of Oakwell (autocorrect nearly made me look like a right idiot). Whilst I will use seven loses as a bench mark to plot our progress, I will split it up into 2 losses at home and 5 away.
I've roughly plotted out their home and away form for wins and losses, reaching the conclusion that to achieve automatic promotion you need to win 15 home games and 12 away games throughout the season. This should be supplemented by 12 draws, six at home and six away.
Establishing Par Betting is rife in football. Almost every club has better sponsorship etched into their club tops. The general cycle is... You place money on football. You lose more than you win. Betting companies make lots of money. They pay clubs a fraction of the money they make from you, so you see their betting brand. You then repeat this cycle.
The way they make money through advantageous odds. And here are those odds for League one at the start of the season.
I have used this to plot out what golfers would call "par". I've probably played 5 pitch and puts in my life, so why is is call par is beyond me, but par it is.
In this system it would be par to beat the lower ranked clubs and lose to the higher rank clubs. For example a club like Oxford is par win at home and par draw away.
Round One: Albatross Through this lens we've actually done really well. Our par was just 1 point. We were expected to lose to Sunderland at home, lose to Peterborough away amd draw to Burton away.
With random teams playing each other and no idea if they are any good, this is a good measurement to put our start in progress. We bettered the each game expectation and were three under par (aka an Albatross). Result: Albatross (1W, 2D) Season progress: 4 point surplus
Round Two: Three Wins No chance of an Albatross here, we are out for three wins to hit par. Three back to back wins is something we haven't achieved sinse we won 4 in a row at the start of the 2017–18 season. I can't help but feel nervous, time to get that winning mentality!
AFC Wimbledon come to Portman Road first. They are predicted to finish 16th and if we want to go up we don't want to be spending our hard earned surplus just yet.
An away trip to debt ridden Bolton follows with another win expected. Bolton are not even the poor side we beat towards the end of last season's disaster, so failure to get the three points would be disappointing. They are only ranked ahead of Burton, who might not even get to the end of September
Shrewsbury complete the next round, with another win set as par. Shrewsbury are ranked 19th and were angry that we took their manager and 2 players. In reality we should be angry at them. Lesson learnt, keep the receipt.
I've moved house and don't have internet installed at the moment. Please excuse me if the layout is a bit naff. I'll try and do it better next time when I have access to my computer.
I'm thinking of doing something like this roughly every 3 games. It's way more manageable than every game.
Subsequent posts will not be about Barnsley. I'll add in more stats from form, etc.