Championship timelines, 7 Aug 2016: have Huddersfield clicked?
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.
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:
There were a fair few disappointing opening performances – Newcastle, Blackburn and Leeds all “flatlined” to an extent – but also some eyebrow-raising starts. Huddersfield (in the middle) are of particular interest because last season’s E Ratings suggested that they were performing better than their results suggested, so their comfortable win could be the start of a strong campaign.
This looks to have been an unfortunate choice of curtain-raiser after a bore-fest of a first half that saw few attempts at goal. Fulham made amends by stunning their recently-relegated visitors just before the break and managed to suppress a (rather limited) second half rally from Newcastle that suggests some last season’s defensive problems have been dealt with.
Birmingham should be the more grateful for their point here as their flat first half showing could easily have seen them go in a goal behind at the break. Fortunately for them, Cardiff struggled for fluency themselves after the break but the hosts were unable to take advantage.
While the scoreline looks to have flattered Norwich here, the disappointingly near-anonymous display from Blackburn means that the points were fairly distributed. The Canaries raced into a three-goal lead before their hosts had even fired in their second shot of the afternoon, which didn’t occur until their consolation goal after the hour mark.
Bristol City recovered from a sluggish start to record a deserved victory here, having failed to trouble Wigan’s defence for much of the first half. However the home side responded well once the visiting Latics had taken the lead, rattling in a fair number of chances without much in the way of a reply before their pressure finally told in the final ten minutes.
Derby started promisingly here, creating several good chances before Brighton had gotten out of first gear, but they faded before half time and allowed their visitors to dominate the game’s final hour. The away side couldn’t conjure much in the first 30 minutes but earned their share of the points with a far more fluent display thereafter.
As I mentioned earlier, Huddersfield played like a top half side last season according to the E Ratings model, so I wasn’t surprised by their strong showing here. Brentford – themselves no slouches last term – were kept largely contained, although their equaliser came after they seemed to have found a way to stifle their hosts in return. The home side’s rally saw them restore the lead their performance deserved and it will be interesting to see where they go from here.
A goalless and seemingly dull first half gave way to a pulsating second here, with six goals raining in. Ipswich looked to have overachieved last season based on their poor E Ratings so I was expecting a relatively close game, and the overall performances of the two teams appears pretty similar. Barnsley looked to have a slight edge until the hour mark when their hosts struck twice in quick succession and it looks like finishing – or perhaps defending – was the main difference between the two sides.
This looks like an incredibly close game from start to finish, with the two teams’ expected goals totals rising almost perfectly in step with each one another. Newly-promoted Burton actually out-created hosts Forest slightly overall and look to have been worth a point here, so it will be interesting to see whether they can defy the odds and survive at this level for more than one season.
Reading’s signature was one of the easiest to identify in the data last season: they regularly out-shot their opponents by a large margin but many of their efforts were from poor positions. Their first match under Jaap Stam followed a similar pattern although it’s far too early to tell what he’s been able to change, and the Royals deserve credit for containing a Preston side who consistently performed at a “top half” level last season.
There was either some clinical finishing or some sloppy defending – or perhaps both – on display here, with four goals resulting from fewer than a single goal’s worth of chances. Visitors Wolves deserve credit for fighting back from two goals down and also having been reduced to ten men before their comeback was complete; they still generated the better chances overall.
QPR look to have trampled Leeds here, although their first goal from close range and their second from the spot accounted for over half the value of their creative output. However Leeds offered little in return and failed to get a single effort on target, so can have few complaints about the result.
They may have left it late but Sheffield Wednesday look to have been deserving winners here. Aston Villa only mustered one speculative effort at the home goal in the first 50-odd minutes of their Championship debut and were unable to make their second half surge count before their hosts reasserted control in the final quarter of an hour.