What would the Championship table look like if matches ended earlier?

Imagine what the league table would look like if every match this season had been suddenly ended at the same specific minute. For example, if every game had finished on 85 minutes, would your team be sitting higher in the table having not conceded all those last-minute equalisers and winners?

One of the things I love about the Internet is that once you find the right community, you can generate and develop ideas substantially quicker and more effectively. As part of some really helpful feedback he gave on my previous post, @neilallison of the Sky Blues Blog showed me this excellent graph he’d developed to understand how Coventry’s points tally would look if their matches had finished at different times.

The challenge he outlined was whether it was possible to see how the table would look if you applied this approach to every team, and I just so happened to have the required data to hand.

This post marks my branching out into video. Well actually that’s already happened, and by comparison this barely qualifies, but I wanted to try something a bit more experimental than usual. The following animation, which I strongly recommend you view in HD and full-screen due to the amount of data therein, steps through what the Championship table would have looked like on 16th March if every match to date had ended at a specific minute, starting with the 1st and going all the way to the 90th.

Burnley certainly start well, don’t they? It’s also interesting how many crucial goals Birmingham score late on. You’ll notice that I’ve split out home and away records so that you can see where each team’s goals are going in, and also that I haven’t taken Portsmouth’s points deduction into account (given that it isn’t a reflection of their on-field performance).

I’m aware that I could have done a better job of the video, so just in case it looks horrible I have prepared a backup plan. The following graphic (which clicking will enlarge) shows how the table would look after each 5 minute interval:

As always, feedback is welcome – I’d be very keen to understand whether animations like this are the way to go, or whether I should just stick to the ill-disciplined visualisations. If people like this then I’ll refine it and produce versions for Leagues 1 & 2 as soon as I can.

8 thoughts on “What would the Championship table look like if matches ended earlier?

  1. How do you treat goals scored in added time? Coventry have conceded at least five goals after the 90th minute and it is Coventry fan’s perception that they wouldn’t be in the bottom three if games had ended on 90 mins.

    • For the purposes of this I’ve counted all added time goals as coming in the 45th or 90th minute respectively, but you’re right it would be interesting to treat this separately. I may well do this in my next iteration.

  2. Really interesting stuff. As a Leicester fan, interesting to see that we hang around in the play-off positions pretty much from 20 minutes until 75. We obviously take a while to get going and stop concentration in the later stages…

    I think this could work nicely as a line graph for each team so you could chart your teams progress through the minute intervals. Keep up the good work though!

  3. Pingback: Unii fac fotbalul, alţii îl descifrează. Povestea statisticianului Ben Mayhew

    • That’s very much the plan – I wouldn’t dream of producing something for the Championship without also creating L1&2 versions. I usually test new stuff on one division first to get feedback before rolling it out for the others.

      • Cool. As a Hartlepool fan I’d be interested to see how League One plays out. Hopefully you’ll be able to come up with some version that puts us in the playoffs!

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