It’s probably not a coincidence this website hasn’t been updated since: “Kit Symons: the right appointment”.
In all seriousness, what else needs to be said?
Fulham find themselves comfortably (as comfortable as one can be in the Championship) mid-table: almost away from the relegation quagmire, almost within touching distance of the playoffs. Yet Kit’s 15 games in charge is more than each of last year’s 3 managers.
Fortunes could continue improving or regress, so why not investigate the club’s fortunes under Kit’s reign to date and look at some fancy numbers (courtesy of Owain Thomas)
When Kit took over on September 18, Fulham were 24th with just 1 point, 0-1-6, a -12GD, and scored 6 goals in 7 games.
The club’s TSR (Total Shots Ratio; often has strong correlation to points and goal difference) was .503, which despite the terrible record was good enough for 13th overall (context: last season in the EPL Fulham had an awful TSR with .392). Yet their PDO (go here) and Save% were both atrocious, a league-worse 72.2 PDO (100 is the mean) and 49.98 Sv%.
In layman terms, and within the statistical prism, Fulham were not getting horribly outplayed and outshot under Magath (as they were a year prior under Jol). They were simply terribly coached from a tactical standpoint.
Attributing Sv% is tricky, but in my opinion conceding 18 goals in 7 games and having a Sv% under 50% basically means that our opponents had time to “pick their spots” per se. Just take this: in Felix’s final game, Nottingham Forest scored its first 5 goals via their first 5 shots on target. That’s not just absurd, it’s an indictment of the defense.
As these things tend to happen (and something statistician Owain Thomas suggested when Felix was sacked) , Kit Symons saw an immediate reversal in the team’s fortune (what pundits call “new manager bounce”).
As of last week, sans the Sheffield Wednesday game, Fulham posted a slightly decreased 0.485 TSR; but saw improvements in their PDO and Sv%: 92.09 and 59.79 respectively. [Update: as of 12/23 TSR: 0.482; PDO: 94.94 and Sv%: 60.61%]
Translation: the team is about the same in terms of overall shots for/against but has shored up the defense immensely.
Which has then translated to Fulham’s current standing of 13th with 28 points, 8-4-10, -4 GD and 35 goals in 22 games.
Overall Kit as posted a 8-3-4 record in his 15 games as caretaker and official manager of the club. This equates to an amazing 1.8 PpG, which is better than all but 3 teams entire season’s PpG to date. Further context: Magath posted a .142 PpG in the Championship. (Yes, that’s a decimal before the 1.)
If Fulham can maintain this streak over their remaining 24 games, they should end up with about 71 points; not a sure thing for the playoffs but certainly within touching distance.
Kit has also settled on an established 11, with a majority of the subs coming in defense due to the numerous amounts of injuries there. Whereas Magath was making an average of 3+ changes per game, Symons is making a just a hair over 2 per game (and just exactly 2 per game in last 5 games; with a defender involved in 3 of the 5 games).
Intriguingly, the likes of Woodrow, Roberts, David, Hyndman, and Eisfeld, aka the promising youngsters that were the only panacea to Magath’s reign, have barely featured under Symons. Roberts’ late substitute appearance last week was his first action since November 5. Woodrow scored a goal last week from the penalty spot, but hasn’t started since late October and logged just 54 minutes total since then (about 10mins per appearance). David has made the bench once under Kit.
Conversely the reintroductions of Hugo, Burn, and Ruiz have come to define Kit’s stint as repairing the damage done by Magath (and to some extent Rene and Jol).
But if there is one feather to Kit’s cap, it surely must be the emergence of Lasse Vigen Christensen, who has started all 15 matches under Kit and scored 5 times—as many as Ross McCormack.
Kit’s tenure has been thrilling. We should look back and really enjoy what he’s done, and hope it can continue.