Minute-by-minute table: Championship, 23 Dec 2016

Today I’m updating one of my more off-the-wall pieces, looking at how different the league table would be if matches finished earlier. These usually tend to generate a few comments which begin with “If my Auntie had…” but I think they’re an interesting way to identify teams who tend to start or end matches unusually well (or badly).

What I’ve done is to calculate what each club’s league position would have been if only goals scored up to a certain minute counted, starting with the first minute and going all the way through to the 90th (where we rejoin reality). I’ve then drawn a line for each club to show how their league position would change if you did this.

This creates a lot of data points to visualise, so rather than a static image I’ve used an animated GIF to cycle through each club in turn. This shows every club in descending order of their final league position, on an infinite loop with each frame lasting two seconds. I’ve also gone for a minimalist look to keep load times down.

I appreciate that most people will want to look at their club for longer than two seconds in every 48, so if you click the graphic it will bring up a version in a new tab that can be paused, rewound etc.


Hopefully it’s obvious what’s going on:

  • The horizontal axis is the minute at which you artificially stop the clock in every match, divided by the lines into five and 15-minute segments (I’ve rolled injury time into the 45th and 90th minutes to keep things simple);
  • Vertically you have league position in descending order with the top four, mid-table and relegation places highlighted.

Not every club’s line is particularly interesting, but I’ve picked out a few of the wackier ones below.

If you stopped every clock after an hour, Leeds would be a bottom half side


Leeds haven’t started games all that well this season – in fact with almost half an hour on the clock their starts have had more in common with relegation battlers than title challengers. If you stopped every match on 61 minutes they’d have just 24 points, but they gain another 14 over the remainder of their games, which is pretty impressive going. In fact 42.3% of the goals they’ve scored have come in the final quarter of an hour: the highest of any club in the top four English divisions. This could be down to anything from effective substitutions to superior fitness, or perhaps just a succession of opponents helpfully shooting themselves in the foot late on.

If matches ended at half time, Preston would be in the top two

Preston have scored the division’s smallest share of goals in the second half of matches – just 40% of their strikes have arrived after half time – while only four clubs have seen a larger percentage of those they’ve conceded arrive in the second half than the Lilywhites’ 66.7% (i.e. two thirds). Even as late as the 67th minute they’ve got the fifth best record, so late disappointment is perhaps becoming a recurring theme for their fans.

Rotherham look safe with half an hour to goch-mbm-2016-12-23-24-rotherham

Rotherham are currently a thoroughly depressing 12 points from safety, but if we stopped every game after 64 minutes they’d actually be outside the relegation zone with 23 points: almost double their tally at the final whistle. I’d take that as a positive as it’s not as if they’re getting battered from the first whistle – if they can finish matches more capably then there’s a chance that they can begin to claw their way out of the abyss.


Note: if you’d like a still image for a specific club, just ask me on Twitter.