Our Season So Far

‘ Our Season So Far ‘

By Gary Field
After the completion of the game today we currently stand 8th in the Championship table with 33pts out of the 69 available, with the club having stated that our aim this season is to finish in the top 6 after 46 games then it must be said the points won at the midway point of the season is simply not good enough to achieve this target. I said after 12 games that we needed more than 37 points at the halfway stage of the season to have a realistic chance of reaching the playoffs, we are 4 points adrift and in my opinion unless something changes, and quickly, we have no chance of reaching the playoffs.

In my opinion our biggest failing since we passed the 12th game has been our away form, in the 6 away games since we have collected just 4 points from the 18 available. To put that into perspective last season we took 5 points from the 18 available at the same stage, last season Russell Slade had the opportunity to blame his predecessor OGS, but not this season as the blame, in my opinion, falls squarely at his doorstep.

The last time we had around 33 points was in season 2005/06 when we had 34 points and were in 5th place, that season we ultimately dropped off to finish in 11th place with 60 pts, in my opinion, unless things change quickly we will finish in about the same position.

At the start of this season expectation levels were not exactly high amongst our fans, despite that ALL talk at the club has been about reaching the top 6 after 46 games, so surely our current position has to be at best disappointing to the owner of the club. The question is “What will VT do about it?” I know what I want him to do but I won’t be holding mu breath.

So after the completion of 50% of our games and to fully appreciate our current position it is worth looking at the official league statistics covering the areas which not only identify performance, but how effective the team is against key performance criteria. The following is a comparison of our season against the average performance of the team since the club returned to the Championship. The comparison is I think very interesting;

Wins %: 35% – 41%
Draw %: 39% – 29%
Loss %: 26% – 29%

Average Goals Scored: 1.21 – 1.48
Goal For Conversion Rate: 9.54 – 8.20
Failed To Score%: 25% – 13%

Average Goals Conceded: 1.08 – 1.18
Goals Against Conversion Rate: 12.84 – 9.41
Clean Sheets %: 30% – 29%

Possession 48% – 51%

Points Won: 33 – 35

Currently we have the 11th ranked attack in the Championship with only 28 goals scored (2 fewer than this stage last season), with an average of 1.21 goals per game, averaging 11.61 attempts at goal per game and scoring on average every 9.54 attempts, (0.23 fewer than this stage last season). Indeed 28 goals in the first 23 games is the 2nd lowest total in the last 12 seasons.

However our defensive performance so far this season has been the biggest area of improvement over previous seasons, but in 6 of the last 7 games we have conceded 2 goals per game and that is a massive concern. Currently we have the 9th ranked defensive record in the championship with 25 goals conceded, which has been beaten only once in the last 12 seasons (24 in 2008-09). Although our opponents are having on average 14 attempts at our goal each game they, again on average, are taking 13 attempts to score which is the highest average required to score against us in any of the last 12 seasons.

So few surprises for anyone there because I think we all know we are not a free scoring team but we were very organised, difficult to score against and as a result grinding out results where for instance last season we probably would have lost. However at the moment most teams score at least 2 goals against us so what was looking a good performance is slipping away quickly.

One interesting stat is the number of bookings we have had this season, 47, which is the highest total over any of the last 12 seasons, and 15 more than our average of 32. This raises the question about player suspensions and will this be a concern as the season moves on?

All of this, in my opinion, are clear indications of what was a good start after 12 games slipping away and unless something happens quickly to change both results and performances, in my opinion, our season will fall away with little or no chance of reaching the playoffs.

So we are now off the pace and playing catch up and to get back on course to achieve the target of a top 6 finish we need to have more than 54 points after 34 games. That means taking 21 points from the 33 available in the next 11 games. In my opinion a very tall order and unless there is dramatic change it won’t happen.

With Home attendances still a concern if we fail to get ourselves back on track after 34 games what will be the likely affect on Season Ticket sales for 2016/17 when they go on sale in February.
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