League 1 timelines, 18 Oct 2016

A quick explanation

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

As usual, here are timeline graphics for the latest round of 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 the highlights. Every jump in a line is a shot, with bigger jumps corresponding to more promising chances (at least as far as I 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 denoting the goals they actually scored.

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

Match-by-match review

I’m still working out the best way to summarise a round of fixtures after mixed results from my experimentation so far this season. For now I’m regressing to a simple canter through each timeline – if you want to see how the model predicted each game you can revisit the previews here.


This was a strangely disappointing performance from Bradford: they were expected to win this one at a canter against one of the division’s lowest-rated sides but a second half collapse saw them look fortunate to escape with a point. Southend should be pleased with their showing overall, which offers them real hope of avoiding the drop if it can be replicated on a regular basis.2016-10-18-bury-wimbledon

While Bury created slightly better chances overall, they were almost anonymous apart from a productive spell just before the half hour mark. Wimbledon also attacked in fits and starts but were the marginally more fluid overall – still a draw may have been a fairer outcome overall.2016-10-18-chesterfield-fleetwood

Chesterfield’s finishing looks to have cost them here: they looked in far better shape with half an our on the clock but were stunned by a late first half goal from one of Fleetwood’s few chances up to that point. The visitors enjoyed the second half more and were able to comfortably close out the win.

This looked like an unlikely candidate for a Coventry home win, with Oxford one of the division’s stronger all-round performers so far. After a sluggish start from both sides the Sky Blues found their rhythm first and looked to have deserved their half time lead. A closer second period saw the visitors earn their place on the scoresheet, but the result looks to have matched the chances created overall.

Gillingham were unable to build on their deserved first half lead here. The game slowed down after they went ahead and despite creating enough chances to score again, the hosts were unable to respond when Walsall pegged them back just before the hour mark.

Bolton’s two goals bookended an otherwise flat display to give them a fortunate-looking away win. Leaky defending has plagued Millwall this season and looks to have done so again here, although their visitors’ goals came from two of the game’s better chances.

With five minutes left on the clock, MK Dons were coasting towards a deserved victory, but they’d peaked after half an hour and a sluggish second half ended with a stunning rally from Bristol Rovers which earned them a point. The visitors doubled their expected goals tally in netting their two late goals and ended up looking worthy of the draw.2016-10-18-oldham-scunthorpe

Scunthorpe started this game more brightly but Oldham recovered to match them and were the rare beneficiaries of some clinical finishing. The Latics went into this game as the division’s most wasteful finishers and the Iron the most clinical, so perhaps the universe rebalanced itself a bit here.2016-10-18-peterborough-northampton

The model predicted goals here, although usually the presence of word “Peterborough” is enough to do that. The Posh have the division’s best-rated attack but also one of its worst-rated defences, so goals tend to follow them. Northampton’s usually-ruthless attack was unable to exploit the latter here as they look to have been deservedly beaten, even if the scoreline flattered their hosts slightly.2016-10-18-port-vale-charlton

This game was flagged as an unlikely source of goals and before Port Vale’s late penalty a 1-0 Charlton win looked a fair outcome. The Addicks had done most of the attacking and looked on course for a deserved away win before Vale netted from the spot, having barely threatened for much of the game.2016-10-18-shrewsbury-sheff-utd

Managerless Shrewsbury appeared to have been well (and unsurprisingly) beaten here, with Sheffield United making amends for a sluggish first half with a dominant showing after the break. Neither side was able to get many shots away before half time but only the hosts failed to remedy that problem thereafter.

Rochdale were plagued by leaky defending early in the season and it looks to have beset them once again here. Despite being the away side they out-created Swindon here in a relatively dull game, but allowed all three of their hosts’ shots on target to find their net.