Minute-by-minute table: League 1, 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.

Fleetwood would be top if matches ended 25 minutes earlier

If you’d stopped every match this season after 66 minutes, the Cod Army would sit proudly atop the division, which ties in with this stat that I dug out the other day showing how many points they’ve dropped after scoring first. Their high point comes on 44 minutes, at which stage they’ve amassed 47 points compared to their “full time” total of 33, although they’re still sitting on 46 at the hour mark. With 75% of the goals they’ve conceded coming in the second half, it’s clear what needs to improve, but a play-off place still looks to be well within reach.

If you stopped games at half time, Bristol Rovers would be rock bottom

The sister stat to the one I mentioned above shows the impressive number of points that Bristol Rovers have recovered after conceding first this season, and we can see the impact of those comebacks here. If only first halves counted they’d be bottom of the pile: in fact after 43 minutes they’ve only got 15 points to their name, which is half their actual tally of 30, so if they could only start games better then they’d surely be sitting higher in the table.

If matches were an hour long, Charlton would be in the play-offs

If Russell Slade had managed the final half an hour of matches more effectively then he’d probably still be at the Valley helm. With 62 minutes on the clock, Charlton’s record is good enough for the top six, but by the 85th they have one of the four worst and would be in the drop zone if not for the six points that they’ve won across the final five minutes of their matches this season.


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