Stat’s more like it: Can statistics get Wednesday promoted?

Stat’s more like it: Can statistics get Wednesday promoted?

Taking a break from the usual look through team and player stats in League One, this short edition will instead take a quick look at the promotion race.

A promotion race that is shaping up to be historical.

The following graph might be a bit hard on the eye at first, but hopefully it gives a graphic indication of the fact this season is – and will be – a hard one, with United and us both having more points than teams in 2nd and 3rd usually have (the same goes for Charlton in 1st):

Graph of points per game for promotion positions in League 1, 1992-2011

Realistically, 4 clubs could finish in 2nd: United, Wednesday, Huddersfield andMilton Keynes. A simple look at the run-in of all 4 doesn’t reveal much, but including a few crude statistical measures on the opponents, we get a better picture of whose run-in is the hardest. First we simply include the opponents number of points so far in the season and then add in the number of points in the opponents’ last 8 matches. Then we multiply that by 0.8, if the match is at home, and 1.3 if it’s away.

But how good is a team’s number then? If we played the 8 worst teams using this measure (four at home, four away) in our last 8 matches, the number would be 390. If instead we played the 8 best, it’d be 647. The average would be 511 and the median 466. How do we compare to the other three promotion hunters then?
(Huddersfield and Milton Keynes have had theirs made comparable to ours and United’s, despite having a match more to play)

Points measure of the run-ins of promotion rivals in 2011-12 League 1

I’m afraid it’s bad news from our point of view:
United’s run in is better than ours, with both the total points and points in the last 8 of their opponents being less than ours. The toughness of ours is about average, while United’s andMilton Keynes’ are both significantly easier than the average and median run-in.

The run-ins:

United Wednesday
Huddersfield Milton Keynes

Points totals for League 1, 1992-2011:

Points total League 1, 1992-2011


The betting man would definitely put his money on United for 2nd. We need to not only defy the odds being against us, but also collect a bigger number of points this season than most has been done previous seasons to get into that coveted 2nd spot. It’s going to be a tough ask of our players, but if there’s one thing this group of players have demonstrated, it’s resilience:

  • Getting a 2-2 at the Lane being 2-0 down with 10 minutes to go.
  • Going into the second Sheffield derby with the knowledge that a loss would’ve given United a potential 14 points lead for second, and not only winning it, but then getting to neck and neck with them within just 5 matches.
  • The manager that brought them together sacked, but despite the upheaval (or because of it?) still getting 10 points of the next 12.

It’ll take another one of those monumental displays of mental steel for us to make 2nd  and claw our way back into the Championship. No matter what happens, this will surely be one of those seasons we’ll all remember, when we get old(er).

Owls Alive
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @ploehmann

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