Nuggets

The other week I found a magazine called Football Extra in WH Smith.  It’s a sports gambling magazine, and while I don’t do that anymore, I’m interested in what the industry does because their goal is, of course, to set odds, to predict the future, and to be very accurate in so doing. To get to this point they need to understand the game, and this has long been a fascination of this blog.

We’re nowhere near there, of course, but here are some interesting facts.  These don’t tell us too much, in truth, but I’ll present them nevertheless:

  1. In home games only, Fulham were 15th last year
  2. In away games only, we were 10th
  3. Oh….
  4. We were 18th in home games against the top half of the table
  5. But 7th in away games against the top teams
  6. We were 11th in home games v the bottom half
  7. And 17th in away games against the bottom half.
  8. So relatively speaking, our most effective quadrant was away to the better teams.  Weird
  9. We were fourth overall in goals per game (us and opponents combined) at home
  10. But 13th in away matches
  11. We were middle of the pack in points per game when we scored first
  12. But LAST in retrieving points having first conceded!
  13. Berba scored 11 in the first half and four in the second
  14. QPR had four penalties last year, and three were saved. We scored all five of ours
  15. We averaged the same number of goals conceded per game at home and away (1.58 per game)
  16. But scored 1.47 a game at home and 1.16 away.
  17. We failed to score in 42% of our away games, which feels high
  18. Against the three teams that were relegated last year, our results were D1-1, W2-1, L2-4, D3-3, W3-2, L1-2.  That’s 10 points dropped out of a possible 18 available.  That’s terrible
  19. Against Sunderland, who were fourth from bottom, we lost 1-3 and drew 2-2. Another four lost points. So from 24 available against the bottom four teams, we took 9.
  20. That’s terrible
  21. But it does make me think the same thing won’t happen again, and that we probably have a lot of scope for a ‘regression to the mean’ type improvement. We had few flukey results against the biggies so really it’s almost all positive.   Based on this I think we MIGHT comfortably exceed expectations this season
  22. We did the double over one team: WBA
  23. Kacaniklic scored four times, three away from home!

5 thoughts on “Nuggets

  1. Interesting stats Rich. In particular that our away form is not quite as bad as our press says it is, and that perhaps Sidwell is far more important than we realised. On the other hand, stats for last season of course have no influence on what happens this season, just as the last toss of a coin has no influence on the outcome of the the next toss. But I hope you’re right.

  2. Welcome back Rich!

    Re: points 5 and 8, you could argue that the sample size is so small that it doesn’t tell you much. Or, more accurately, it reminds you of the 0-1 anomaly at Spurs. For all we know that single result (by no means an exceptional performance, I’d argue, just one that happened to finish 0-1 rather than the usual 1-0 or 0-0) moves us seven or eight places in the ‘away against the top half’ league table.

    I guess we also won at West Brom and Swansea who are ‘top half’ teams. I dunno.

    There’s definitely something to note in how bad we were against those at the bottom. I thought a lot last year about how the four away points dropped in the Autumn at Southampton and Reading (2-2 and 3-3) were defining points in the season. At that point we really were playing well (Arsenal away was around that time too) and had we not conceded those last minute goals, we’d have been flying.

    As it was, we didn’t secure the points we should have – then Sunderland at home came along and killed us.

  3. With respect to point 21, I’m not as optimistic as you that Fulham have the potential to bounce back to being a better team.

    Whilst I am happy (so far) with the reinforcements to the team – Upgrading at keeper, centre back and to some extent in midfield – this team feels like it is lacking an identity. Hodgson had the defensive rigidity and ‘sum of parts is better than the individual’ ethic, Hughes maintained this and added more aggression and a more direct style and even in Jol’s first season we had an identity as a slick passing outfit with real bite in central midfield provided by Dembele, Murphy and Diarra.

    With the loss of a load of key players last summer, last season became a lesson in damage control and any identity was lost. From what I’ve seen so far this pre-season, not much has changed and Jol’s not had the financial flexibility to rebuild a team in his image. I like karagounis but an established premier league outfit should not be relying on 36yr old free transfer to run the midfield!

    With the right additions we could be looking at a better season, but the chronic lack of investment will eventually take it’s toll and a hotch-potch team can only cut it for so long.

    Feel free to tell me that I’m being a miserable bastard (and I’d love to hear others thoughts) but there just seems to be something missing from this team and I can’t quite tell what it is.

  4. Alex, I feel a miserable bastard too, which isn’t habitual. It mainly comes from attending the Betis and Parma games, which have aroused the same kinds of thoughts as you have voiced here. My version is more downbeat to the extent that the Parma game leaves me doubtful that we have (as previously supposed) upgraded our goalkeeper. On the day he was appalling.

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