Championship timelines, 18-19 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 looks to have been a close and relatively low-key contest before half time. Newcastle’s goal early in the second half failed to elicit a response from Barnsley, who like many of the Magpies’ opponents this season struggled to create chances of genuine menace.2016-10-18-birmingham-rotherham

While Rotherham took a while to get going they ran Birmingham relatively close here and were doing an admirable job of keeping them quiet in the second half before the hosts’ late penalty. Before that deciding goal the Millers were in control and chasing what would have been a precious equaliser, so there are some bright sparks for Alan Stubbs’ successor to work with.

Blackburn edged a tight first half and then appear to have battened down the hatches in the second, with their last shot of the match arriving before the hour mark. From that point on Forest rattled in a regular succession of chances as they chased the game, although lots of tiny little jumps in their line suggests that they were unable to work the ball into the Rovers’ penalty area very often and instead reduced to speculative attempts from range. Rovers’ approach paid off despite a late scare and the win moves them out of the bottom three.

The model predicted a bit of a mismatch here and Brighton duly delivered the home win, but apart from a close-range chance early in the second half there wasn’t much between these two sides. Wolves were largely able to contain their hosts, although seemingly at the expense of their own attacking ambitions.

An even and relatively low-key stalemate saw Derby’s old attacking problems resurface: the Rams carved out little in the way of gilt-edged chances and allowed Brentford the game’s most dangerous-looking attack on the hour mark. However their defence held firm against one of the division’s sharper front lines and they threatened more regularly overall.2016-10-18-fulham-norwich

I generated a fair bit of incredulity from Fulham fans for suggesting that this would be a close game. The feeling was that the Cottagers’ poor home form – particularly compared with Norwich’s impressive points haul – rendered their cause hopeless, but apart from their two penalties the Canaries weren’t able to offer much here. The hosts’ attack has been one of the division’s best for a while, even if it often leaves the defence exposed, so goals were always likely here.2016-10-18-ipswich-burton

I had this one down as a likely 0-0 based on Ipswich’s long-standing woes in attack, but they took their chances well while their improving defence kept Burton at arm’s length. The Brewers can at least be encouraged by having created marginally more overall but were unable to find a way through and remain uncomfortably close to the relegation zone.2016-10-18-leeds-wigan

While Wigan’s late equaliser will have stung, this result looks to have been a fair one, with the visitors creating chances of near-identical combined quality to Leeds and matching their hosts closely throughout.


Bristol City took over an hour to get going here in another worryingly flat attacking performance which continues the ebb which has followed their swashbuckling start to the campaign. The visitors only really got going once fewer than 20 minutes were on the clock, at which point QPR’s relentless second-half pressure finally told. The hosts sat back and soaked up a desperate late rally to move within a point of the Robins.2016-10-18-reading-aston-villa

A late Aston Villa penalty made the difference here and ended a lengthy run without an away league win. Reading had looked off the pace until their equaliser early in the second half but look to have done enough to earn a draw before Villa’s spot kick claimed all three points.


These two sides ran each other close throughout, with Cardiff likely to be the unhappier given their early lead and slightly better overall performance. After a dire first half an hour, Sheffield Wednesday’s recovery was rewarded shortly after half time and to their credit they continued attacking after drawing level.2016-10-19-preston-huddersfield

A goal down and without a shot to their name after half an hour, Huddersfield appear to have left it too late to find their rhythm here. Preston did well to net three times from the modest chances they created against their visitors’ notoriously stingy defence, and opted to sit back after registering their third. With Huddersfield having created the third-fewest chances in the division this season, this proved to be a winning strategy.