Midweek previews: EFL, 24-25 Jan 2017

Below are the individual preview graphics for each game in the forthcoming round of midweek fixtures. These smash together minimalist versions of two visualisations: each club’s E Ratings and their relative positions on the attack and defence scatter graphics.

I’ve explained them fully here, but in summary they’re intended as a simple pre-match comparison of two teams using high-level performance data. The graphic has three sections:

  1. The current ratings (with ranks) of the two teams and how these have changed over the past 30 league matches;
  2. A probability forecast for the match based on the ratings;
  3. Scatter graphics showing the teams’ attacking and defensive performance this season.

Cardiff have been in great form lately and their awful start to the season is well and truly behind them, but this is a potentially momentum-smashing fixture. Brighton aren’t in the top two by accident: they’re one of the best-rated sides in the division and their clinical attack could exploit a visiting defence which is still among the most porous.

It’s not been a good season for Gillingham so far and their performances have been consistent with their lower mid-table league position overall. Their defence has been the main concern and it’s not getting any better, so the visit of a Wimbledon team that has adapted well to life in the third tier and looks “top half” at both ends of the pitch means that home advantage may not count for much here.

These two have performed similarly in defence – allowing opponents plenty of shots but soaking up a lot of punishment – but are chalk and cheese in attack. Oldham have been both quiet and horrendously wasteful this season while Peterborough are relentless going forward, so the visitors are likelier to run out winners.

With Reading’s form stuttering it’s tempting to conclude that their bubble may have burst: their results this season have been far better than their performance data suggests. However the regularity with which they’ve thwarted the model means that more evidence is needed, and the visit of Fulham – who have been absolutely on fire and are the most likely beneficiaries should the Royals slip out of the top six – provides a handy barometer of the two sides’ prospects.

Fleetwood are the division’s form team at the moment but their performances have been far more modest than the high-flying Blades’ lately, particularly up front. The home side look irresistible and are excelling at both ends of the pitch, so it will be interesting to see how much control the play-off chasing visitors are able to assert here.


Forest’s performances have dropped off a cliff lately, so this is a timely fixture for improving Leeds and an opportunity to gain ground in the promotion race. Both attacks have been impressively clinical and the vulnerable visiting defence in particular could be in for a torrid evening.