With regression comes opportunityBy
Last night I was having a quick look at the Premier League goals scored/conceded statistics. I am quite a fan of combined analysis of mean average and standard deviation/variance of individual team’s goal scoring/conceding trends.
A couple of things from the season so far really jumped out at me.
Which team would you anticipate has the lowest average goals scored per game at home this season? Blackburn? Nope. Stoke, possibly? Nah. What was that from the back? Hapless Portsmouth? Not even close.
Birmingham City. The hottest team in the land are the league’s coldest in front their own fans.
Although they are coming off the back of fantastic draws with both the champions, and prior to that the champions elect, and riding a 409 game unbeaten streak, Birmingham have scored a grand total of 9 goals in 11 home games this season. Good (or bad) for an average of 0.81 goals per game.
To put this into context, Tottenham scored 8 goals in 45 minutes against Wigan in November.
It is mid January and Birmingham have only managed to score as many goals as an average European chasing teams would hope to have scored on Halloween.
Don’t get me wrong, I am aware that there is more than one way to skin the proverbial cat. Alex McLeish’s men have done fantastic job, particularly the back four. Props to AM for keeping the same starting eleven together for so many months. Rafa, take note or you may be following the original tinkerman to some second tier European club in the summer, with nothing more than a “Blow me f*ckface”.
Birmingham have a fantastic balance of steely battlers (Carr, Ridgewell, Ferguson, Bowyer, Carsley, the list goes on and on), underrated players such Sebastian Larsson and maverick talents such as James McFadden and Christian Benitez. Sprinkle in the courageous centre back pairing of Johnson and Dann (who have been a revelation) and you have yourself quite a team.
They remind me very much of the Everton team of recent years.
Having said all this, to have accumulated the number of points that they have with the worst home offence (and 6th worst overall offence) in the league, is not just remarkable, it is unsustainable.
It is inevitable that players are going to have off days and at some point will make individual mistakes. Referees will make bad decisions that go against them. Stronger opposition will eventually come out on top.
And whilst every man and his dog have their spending money on the Blues, make sure you don’t miss the value sitting on the other side of the fence.