A Statistical Look at Rene’s Reign

As to be expected, there is much gnashing of teeth over Rene’s sacking. The performances in the past 6 days suggested that maybe a corner had been turned, that maybe this “toilet bowl” of a season was finally getting some draino. Or, *gasp*, the bathroom was finally getting remodeled.

What’s also expectedly absent from so much of the writings are any form of research or analysis of Rene’s reign. But hey it sounds good to say Fulham are the next QPR or Cardiff or Leeds United. And that “madness” has taken over and we hit the “panic button” and that our “absentee owner has no idea who Felix Magath is”. I rarely assume anything different from the sport’s fans.

But pop open the hood and you’ll find Rene’s reign has been a bit of a dumpster fire to put it bluntly. Let’s look at some advanced stats from when Jol got canned to the current day.

{Warning, I’m going to use some of those newfangled things known as statistics. If you’re one of those “stats are bad” types, then just jump to the bottom where I discuss goals. You know, another type of statistic.}

TSR SV% Sh% PDO
Jol 0.316 70.5 27.9 984
Rene 0.371 65.1 25.7 908

In case you don’t know, TSR means Total Shots Ratio, SV% is Save Percentage, SH% equals Shot Percentage, and PDO is Scoring % + Save %. Read full definitions here. These are important because they, especially TSR, usually have a strong correlation to goal difference and points. Also, all stats are from James Grayson’s blog.

The only positive you can really deduct from the above is that Fulham are no longer getting outshot as exponentially as they were before. Each of the remaining metrics were down. It’s not good enough, it’s not sustainable, and the “moral victories” of the past week simply cannot paper over that fact.

For context, let’s look at Tony Pulis and compare what he’s accomplished, arguably with far less than what Rene has had to work with, to his predecessor.

TSR SV% Sh% PDO
Holloway 0.429 58.7 23.1 818
Pulis 0.461 67.9 20.2 881

His god-forsaken style aside, we see that Pulis has increased the teams TSR, SV%, and PDO. In layman’s terms, he’s shored up the defense despite the slight downtick in shot conversion (which is mainly due to his god-forsaken set piece/long-ball system). This is a sign of progress beyond what the current table shows, as standings can occasionally be disguised by smoke and mirrors (HI THERE WEST HAM IN 11TH!). This is why Crystal Palace have gone from regulation certainties to a steady lower/mid table finish.

If you don’t want to read or acknowledge all those fancy stats, here are some more basic ones:

One tenet of Rene’s reign was to go into the half tied at 0-0 or something thereabouts and have it fall apart. In fact, Fulham have been drawing at halftime a league-leading 15 times this season. Of that, 8 were under Rene.

Not bad on the surface, but only twice did Fulham get a result of any capacity in those matches: both wins, both in his first four games, both solitary goals. In total, when drawing, the club conceded 17 goals while scoring only 4 after halftime. Take those two victories away and it’s 2 GF and 17 GA.

Plus plus plus only in one game, his *second*, did Fulham take a lead into halftime and see out the result. Need I remind you we’re currently 20th?

Regardless of how you slice it, regardless of what disaster* of a squad you have, regardless of all the feel-good-emotions we’ve accrued in the past week…that’s beyond terrible.

It was a bungled removal from office. But Kahn really had no choice.

{*Okay, fine, it was a disaster before he got here. Martin Jol should have been fired last spring and we’re reaping that now. Also, MAF should have sold the club earlier or at least attempted to have *some* liabilities for the future owner, and we’re reaping that now. Also, until Mitroglou’s record fee, we’re also reaping not spending more than £500,000 on a striker for nearly 5 seasons (and that was on David Elm!) UPDATE: Since Berbatov, not Mitroglou, which was officially “undisclosed”. And on and on.}

9 thoughts on “A Statistical Look at Rene’s Reign

  1. Agreed except your last comment: “we’re also reaping not spending more than £500,000 on a striker for nearly 5 seasons (and that was on David Elm!).” We spent 5 mill on Berbatov didn’t we? Plus whatever Bent is costing (on loan I know, but still significant dollars).

  2. The stats don’t take into account the tantalising evidence of the last two matches with new, younger, players being integrated and some old guard ditched.

    1. But what does that “tantalising evidence” amount to? That we can bunker and grind out a draw? How much does it mean on the heels of some horrid results? Those were feel-good performances, sure, but they ultimately accomplished nothing.

      1. And despite ‘parking the bus’ we still conceded 5 goals. So as much as there was hope & the matches felt like we were at least in the game, all it really amounted to were some passionate displays – there still wasn’t really enough to suggest that we were going to be winning games anytime soon.

        Allardyce & Pulis seem to manage to park the bus and keep concessions down to zero, or one – which is exactly what this situation calls for. I felt Rene had a simple enough task to do when he took over – get the team organised, make them harder to beat and there was enough in the squad to suggest we could win some games. The first 4 or 5 games signalled an improvement, but after those, the similar failings of defensive disorganisation, ill balanced sides & cheap concessions made their mark & suggested that we’d failed to sort the basics out. So I can very much understand why the board have felt compelled to act again – if anything, they will be regretting giving Jol so long this season, after the inadequacies of most of last season.

  3. Maybe those stats will improve under this new guy…but we will probably still get relegated. Whilst I don’t know much about new guy, I would feel more comfortable with Rene overseeing our squad in the championship blending in our youngsters in a bid to come back up. I am baseing that solely on gut instinct to be honest. I don’t know. I like Rene. I really do. Maybe he won’t ever be management material, but god, if Fulham had played their cards a bit better, maybe we still stood a chance of retaining him on the staff as he is obviously an exceptional coach. As it stands, he’s probably a bit peed off with all this and will be negotiating the terms of his release this week…

  4. Good piece. I was sorely disappointed Rene was relieved of duties, but now I can see why. I’m still left with “was Rene given enough time?” for his stats to be truly relevant but the trend wasn’t promising after that initial bump…. and as Tony suggested, with all the new talent brought in who hadn’t been thru all the losing, we will never get to see how that would have played out, and given what is at stake, it was probably a good idea we didn’t.

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