Minute-by-minute league tables: League 2, 28 Feb 2020

Something that gets discussed a lot is which clubs start and finish games well (and badly), but rather than just break down when clubs score and concede their goals during a match, what I’ve done here 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 40-48, so below the GIF there’s a full gallery of static images for each club.

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.

First of all, here’s the GIF – clicking it will bring up a version that can be paused and skipped:

Second-placed Crewe would be in the bottom half if matches ended at half-time, so they’re clearly not starting games as well as they’re finishing them. Grimsby are another team who like to leave things late, as they’d be sitting rock bottom if only goals scored up to the 50th minute counted. Scunthorpe meanwhile would be better off if the latter parts of matches were removed – if every match was halted at 58 minutes they’d be in the play-offs rather than lower mid-table.

… and here’s the gallery.