Championship timelines, 14 Aug 2016: convincing wins for Brighton and Wigan

A quick explanation

You can skip this if you’ve seen these before.

Returning from last season, here are match timelines for each of the weekend’s matches. There’s a full explanation of these here, but in a nutshell they track how each club’s expected goals tally (the number of goals that the average team would have scored from the chances that they created) increased over the course of the match.

This allows us to get a better sense of how each game played out than from just watching a highlights package. Every jump in a line is a shot, with bigger jumps corresponding to more promising chances (at least as far as we can tell from the limited data available at this level). There are two numbers next to each club’s name: the first is how many goals they scored and the second (in brackets) is how many goals the average club would have scored from their shots. The latter number is what the lines track, with dots on the lines showing goals scored.

You can browse previous timelines by selecting “VISUALISATIONS > TIMELINES” from the menu.

Side-by-side comparison

First of all, here are all of the match timelines side-by-side and using the same vertical scale, which makes it easier to pick out which games saw the most (and least) goalmouth action. I always sort matches by date and then alphabetically by the home team’s name in these posts to make it easier to find a specific one:

CH 2016-08-14

Brighton (top left), Wigan and Wolves (both bottom) all racked up convincing home wins at the weekend, which in the Latics’ case also consigned Blackburn to a second successive three-goal defeat. Norwich and Sheffield Wednesday failed to deliver on its promise as an early test of both teams’ promotion credentials, with a dour-looking 0-0 draw offering little excitement.

Individual matches

2016-08-12 Brighton Nottm ForestAfter a tentative start from both teams, Brighton broke the deadlock and never looked back. The hosts’ opening goal looks to have spurred them on – they racked up a respectable array of chances thereafter – while Forest continued to struggle for inspiration, resulting in a convincing home win. It wouldn’t take much of an improvement on last season to see Brighton hold down an automatic promotion spot.2016-08-13 Aston Villa RotherhamVilla look to have been somewhat fortunate to find themselves two up at half time, having barely surpassed their visitors’ own meagre tally of chances, but by the time the final whistle sounded they were worthy winners. While the margin of victory flattered them somewhat, they offered far more than Rotherham, who never really got going.2016-08-13 Barnsley DerbyThere doesn’t look to have been much between these two sides here, with the combined quality of chances more commonly associated with a bore draw. Derby look to have offered a marginally greater threat so can be justifiably disappointed not to have left Oakwell with at least a point.2016-08-13 Brentford IpswichBrentford barely got a shot away before half time but made up for it with an all-action second half display that saw them finish as deserving winners. Ipswich were unable to take advantage of their faster start – the chances they created were of modest quality – and they faded before the interval.2016-08-13 Burton Bristol C

Just as in their opening match, Burton finished empty-handed despite taking their opponents the distance. Bristol City were a distant second best before their opening goal late in the first half and popped up even later in the second to cancel out what looks to have been a deserved Brewers equaliser. If the home side continue to put in these sorts of performances then it shouldn’t belong before they have some points on the board.

2016-08-13 Leeds BirminghamThis was a far better showing from Leeds than we saw in their opening match and they were probably worth a point here. Birmingham struck early in each half but their hosts were only able to find a response at the first time of asking. Both of these teams overachieved last season based on their E Ratings and it’s not yet clear whether their underlying performances have improved.2016-08-13 Newcastle HuddersfieldThere wasn’t a lot to cheer in this match besides the goals themselves. My data suggests that Huddersfield are a far better side than their final league position last season indicates, so I wasn’t surprised to see them trouble Newcastle. However it was worrying for the Magpies – who looked much stronger at home last season – that they needed a penalty to break their visitors down.2016-08-13 Norwich Sheff WedThese two look to have cancelled each other out pretty effectively, with both failing to produce any chances of note until late in the game. The first half was particularly uneventful, with not even as much as a shot for the crowd to cheer for long periods.2016-08-13 Preston Fulham

Fulham looked somewhat fortunate to beat Newcastle last weekend but they were much more convincing here. Preston were stifled on their own turf for much of the first half and weren’t able to find the net until their visitors were already two goals ahead. It looks like the away side sat back a little after taking the lead, but a surge in the final half an hour was sufficient to earn them all three points.2016-08-13 Wigan Blackburn

This was a second successive three-goal defeat for Blackburn in which they were largely anonymous for the opening 45 minutes. Just like Norwich – Rovers’ opponents on the opening day – Wigan were somewhat flattered by the margin of their victory but there can be little doubt that they were the better side on the day. The Latics were quieter in the second half but had carved out ample opportunities to justify their lead before the half time interval. Blackburn’s lowly finish last season belied some generally solid performances so I was expecting their fortunes to improve this time around, but both of their league outings so far have been decidedly sub-par.2016-08-13 Wolves Reading

This looks to have been a comfortable win for Wolves, with Reading needing almost half an hour to register their first shot and barely creating anything of genuine menace. While the home side endured some lean spells in the second half, the damage was already done by then and they earned both their victory and the margin of it.2016-08-14 Cardiff QPR

This game had all the makings of a bore draw before QPR struck twice late on, with neither side having been able to fashion any chances from dangerous positions. Apart from the visitors’ penalty (which killed the game off) these two sides didn’t create a goal’s worth of chances between them, which will be of particular concern to Cardiff given that they were on home soil.