Form tables, 23 Jan 2017
Here’s the latest update of my form graphics (explained here), which visually rank each team in the top four English divisions based on both their results and underlying performances over the last six league matches.
Chelsea may not be creating as many chances as the other clubs at the top end of the form table but they’ve been outplaying opponents more consistently and nobody’s allowed opportunities of lower aggregate quality.
While Burnley and West Brom are in the top half of the form table, both have been out-created overall in recent matches and could therefore fade in the coming weeks.
Sam Allardyce’s arrival hasn’t exactly ushered in a new dawn at Crystal Palace, with their draw at fellow strugglers Watford the only top flight match of his tenure so far in which they’ve out-created their opponents.
I’ve no idea how Barnsley are doing so well given that they’ve allowed chances of more than double those that they’ve created in their last six matches – unless something special is going on then I can’t see their good form lasting unless performances change.
An honourable mention goes to Fulham for creating chances worth 10 goals more than they’ve allowed over the last six games – their rampage shows no signs of abating.
Moving over to the right half of the graphic, Nottingham Forest have looked worryingly toothless of late, having created fewer than four goals’ worth of chances in their last six games and being consistently out-created.
Despite their ongoing losing streak, Bristol City‘s performances – as denoted by the height of the bubbles – are improving and the bars show that they’ve given almost as good as they’ve gotten lately. It therefore feels like a matter of time before they break out of their bad run and sacking the manager would be premature.
Fleetwood are the division’s form team at the moment but while they’re restricting opponents’ chances well they’re not creating an obscene amount themselves. Seven goals’ worth of opportunities in six games doesn’t compare all that favourably with the 12-ish that the likes of Sheffield United and Rochdale are pumping out, so they may need to find another gear if they’re to maintain a promotion pace.
MK Dons were regularly dominating matches even when things weren’t going their way at the start of the season, so it’s not surprising to see them getting the results to go with their performances.
In the lower reaches of the form table, their previous manager is one of three who have presided over a worryingly low attacking output: Charlton, Chesterfield and Coventry have all created a joint-low 4.7 goals’ worth of chances in their last six outings.
Exeter have well and truly recovered from their poor start, having out-created even top-of-the-table Doncaster in their last six matches.
While Portsmouth have the most favourable balance of chances in the division, they continue to struggle to win games consistently. However Carlisle‘s recent stuttering form – despite their impressive attacking output – gives Pompey hope of breaking into the top three.
Grimsby may be in decent form but they’ve been marginally out-created in recent games, so any optimism of a play-off surge may prove to be premature unless performances improve.
The bottom of the form table is pretty crowded, with the five worst performers all allowing over 10 goals’ worth of chances in their last six matches.