Form tables, 21 Dec 2016

Ahead of the Boxing Day fixtures I’ve done a quick refresh of my new-ish form table graphics to see what state the clubs in the top four English divisions are in going into the festive calendar.

Totally skippable explanation

What I’ve done is to combine basic information on each club’s last six results with the ‘expected goals’ data that I use to measure chance quality in my match timelines and dashboards. Like many of my graphics, this is very much a “first pass” and may be refined as time goes on.

For each club there are two elements:

The first, headed “Match performance” is a row of six colour-coded circles: dark for a win, light for a draw and hollow for a defeat. However, the circles don’t all sit in a neat line: their vertical position is based on the balance of chances in the match: higher means they created more, lower means they created less and there’s a horizontal line behind each row of dots to indicate where a perfectly balanced match would sit. The point of doing this is to identify whether a club’s performances are in line with their results, and also to pick up any potential trends in performance that the results alone may be masking.

The second, headed “Expected goals”, totals up and compares the quality of chances across the last six matches using two bars. The upper bar is darker and counts up the ‘expected goals’ value of all the opportunities created and the lower, lighter bar counts up the quality of chances allowed. This is intended to give a broader picture of what’s been going on at both ends of the pitch and how attack and defence compare, which I found was hard to glean from the bubbles alone.

In each graphic the clubs are sorted first by points earned in the last six matches and then by their ‘expected goal’ difference.

Premier League


Chelsea unsurprisingly top the form table but their attacking output has been pretty modest compared to the likes of Tottenham and Man City.

I feel a bit sorry for Leicester, who have out-created their opponents overall in their last six matches but only have a win and two draws to show for it.


ch-form-2016-12-21Sheffield Wednesday are finally starting to get the results their play has merited this season, while Leeds and Reading are still near the top of the form table despite being out-created overall.

Blackburn games look to have been particularly entertaining lately, with over four goals’ worth of chances created across their last six fixtures.

League 1

l1-form-2016-12-21Peterborough’s strong run of results has been achieved despite some relatively indifferent underlying performances, so perhaps it’s too early to be backing them for a promotion tilt.

Meanwhile Sheffield United’s impressive rampage continues unabated – it doesn’t look like anyone can get near them at the moment.

Bury’s winless run unfortunately looks deserved, with the Shakers being consistently out-created in recent games.

League 2

l2-form-2016-12-21Wycombe have impressed during their recent winning run while the likes of Stevenage and Carlisle have looked less convincing despite their own good form.

At the bottom of the form table, Notts County have been heavily out-created lately while Accrington look to have been a bit unlucky, having given as good as they’ve got.