League 1 timelines, 6 Aug 2016: points dropped but an encouraging performance for Oxford

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:

L1 2016-08-06

In the top right Millwall look to have made short work of Oldham as they look to go one better than last season and seal a return to the Championship, while Oxford (middle row) made a purposeful start to life back in the third tier even if they couldn’t wrap up an opening day win.

Individual matches

2016-08-06 Bolton Sheff Utd

Sheffield United look to have paid for their slow start here: they barely troubled the home defence in the first half and despite creating a couple of good chances after half time were unable to drag themselves level. Bolton also endured a few quiet spells and can consider themselves fortunate to have started their campaign with a win.2016-08-06 Bradford Port Vale

This match looks to have largely fizzled out by half time, with both clubs creating more before the interval than after it, with Bradford likely to be the more disappointed with a share of the points. The Bantams fared better overall but – as was often the case last season – their attack lacked the required cutting edge. They topped my defence rankings last season but up front their performances were relatively “mid table”, so it remains to be seen if they’ve made sufficient improvements up front to challenge for promotion.
2016-08-06 Bury Charlton

Charlton endured a depressing start to life back in the third tier with the more sluggish of two flat first half performances. There was little for either set of fans to cheer before Bury’s penalty with 20 minutes remaining, and besides their two goals the hosts hardly threatened in the second half, so this game could easily have ended as a draw on another day.2016-08-06 Millwall Oldham

While their numbers were boosted by an early penalty and they endured long spells without a shot – particularly after half time – this looks to have been a comfortable win for Millwall. Visitors Oldham didn’t trouble the home defence at all until late in the first half and were unable to force their way back into contention during an even but dull second period.
2016-08-06 Northampton Fleetwood

Northampton got off to a great start with an early goal in an otherwise largely uneventful first half an hour here but looked convincing thereafter. Fleetwood needed longer to get going but equalised with their most promising opportunity shortly after half time. This game looks to have fizzled out quietly in the last 20 minutes, with the hosts producing the stronger showing overall. 2016-08-06 Oxford Chesterfield

This was a convincing return to League 1 for Oxford, who broke the deadlock after a flurry of chances but were unable to reap the three points to go with their performance. Visitors Chesterfield offered little apart from a modest surge either side of half time, yet were able to snatch a point during a quieter and relatively even second half. On this evidence – along with United’s strong showing in League 2 last season (they consistently topped the E Ratings) – the home side look well-equipped to thrive at this level. 2016-08-06 Rochdale Peterborough

At first glance Rochdale look to have been robbed here, although if you subtract the contribution of the penalty which led to their second goal then the difference in expected goals isn’t quite as dramatic. Still, for Peterborough to net three times from less than a goal’s worth of chances suggests that they would struggle to repeat this feat on a consistent basis.

2016-08-06 Scunthorpe Bristol R

A forgettable opening half an hour was ended when Bristol Rovers found the net with their first shot of the game, but the visitors barely threatened thereafter. It wasn’t until the final 30 minutes when hosts Scunthorpe burst into life with three replies and, while they look to have been the worthier winners overall, the margin of their victory looks somewhat flattering. 2016-08-06 Shrewsbury MK Dons

Shrewsbury were unable to offer much of a goal threat here, with MK Dons restricting them to speculative efforts. The visitors started strongly with several good chances but then faded as the rest of the first half degenerated into a grind, only to pop up with a seemingly deserved winner with 20 minutes left on the clock. 2016-08-06 Southend Gillingham

This match looked pretty even at half time, with both sides having found the net from chances of similar combined quality. However the second half saw Gillingham dominate, with Southend only mustering one decent effort of note, and bookend it with two further strikes that wrapped up a comfortable victory. Despite their strong start to last season, the E Ratings consistently ranked Southend’s underlying performances as among the worst in the division, so it remains to be seen if they can stage a repeat. 2016-08-06 Swindon Coventry

Despite Swindon getting off to a slow start, with home fans having to wait almost half an hour for their team’s first shot, Coventry were unable to take advantage and succumbed to a late winner when they themselves endured a quiet spell at the end of the match. The visitors looked in better shape for much of this contest but could only muster one effort in the final 35 minutes and were undone by a surge of attacks from their hosts. 2016-08-06 Walsall Wimbledon

Walsall made their chances count here – the two big jumps in their line represent the two close-range goals that followed their early opener from a free kick. The hosts’ created little else, although in fairness Wimbledon also threatened rarely, with their late penalty one of only two big opportunities.