Posts tagged ‘Championship’
So here we are, the Premier League, fantasy football and all that. But after six games is it possible to make any hard and fast predictions? Well hold onto your scarves ‘cos I’m gonna give it my best shot. Using my completely unscientific ‘Reasons to be cheerful’ accreditation system, this article will attempt to provide some pointers as to how the season could pan out for all us promoted sides. And I’ll try to do it without being sarcastic.
QPR started off last years Championship campaign steadily, maybe even a bit slowly, but once they got up to speed properly (from game eight onwards), they never really looked back (I’m ignoring all the off field stuff). And the same can be said for both Swansea and Norwich. Do these facts help shed any light on how we’ve all started in the Prem? If I were Homer Simpson I’d probably answer “Meh”.
What we can definitely say is all three sides enjoyed fair to middling starts last time round. However, I’d describe the advent of Swansea’s Premier League campaign as more fair than middling; whilst Norwich and Rangers have only one and two points less respectively than they did at this stage last season. So using last season opening six fixtures as a barometer I award the following points on my patented Heath Robinson’d table:
Reasons to be cheerful: overview of first 6 results
- Norwich 3
- QPR 3
- Swansea 1
Onto the most sexual part of football: goals. They’re proving harder to come by for QPR and the Swans, however, we, as in Norwich City, have only scored one less than in the Champs at this stage. On the other hand Swansea, despite huge efforts, had to wait until their fifth game to score and then did their best to make up for lost time by wanging three past West Bromwich Albion. A team, it should noted, that Norwich had just played and barely made their keeper break into a sweat. Nevertheless, for goals scored City are comfortably in the black at the moment averaging just over one a game to the Swan’s and R’s a little under one a game.
Reasons to be cheerful: goals scored
- Norwich 6
- QPR 4
- Swansea 2
Blackpool’s first six games in the top flight equated to two wins from their opening six games, same as QPR and Norwich, whilst conceding 14 goals! Not quite the storming start many have claimed and reason for Norwich, QPR and Swansea to feel quite pleased with their efforts thus far. However, Rangers are yet to play one of the ‘Big Four’/’Big Five’/’Big Whatevers’ and I have to take this into account.
Conceding though, as Blackpool found, is fairly easy and usually quick and painful. Norwich had a propensity for leaking goals last season and that’s been carried forward this season (albeit mainly from the penalty spot until Sunderland). Last season this levelled itself out by the simple fact we normally scored more. Unsurprisingly the Ossie Ardiles model, as thrilling as it is, probably won’t work in the Prem. However, both Rangers and Swansea have already had a couple of clean sheets – sound reasons for optimism. But as I keep saying, until Rangers play one of the ‘Big Ones’ I can’t grant them maximum pointage. Tough love people.
Reasons to be cheerful: defensive performance
- Norwich 6
- QPR 5
- Swansea 5
Finally, perhaps we can gain some cold hard clues to the future by looking at the results against Wigan Athletic, the one Premier League side we’ve all played. And let’s be honest, we all probably hoped to get something more than a draw. Didn’t quite turn out that way…
Norwich drew 1-1 at the DW Rugby Stadium, QPR lost and Swansea drew. Despite conceding a penalty (no surprises there), we were good value for the draw though Wigan were the stronger team by the end of the match. QPR went into the Wigan game on the back of a fine victory up at Goodison. Indeed if they hadn’t hit the post twice they could have been the first promoted side to record that most eye-catching of headlines: back to back wins. Swansea’s draw with Wigan was a two sided affair. They had the better of the first half but the second was Wigan’s. Whereas QPR were unlucky, Swansea enjoyed a big slice of Lady Luck against Wigan. The Lactics had a penalty (well) saved and hit Swansea’s bar and post as they went for the win. So all things considered, a single point all round
Reasons to be cheerful: Wigan head-to-head
- Norwich 7
- QPR 6
- Swansea 6
Based on all this detailed empirical analysis my collated and triple filtered data suggests the following:
- Norwich will stay up but they must be tighter at the back or it could bite them in the behind big style
- QPR should also stay up provided they demonstrate some guile against one or two of the ‘Big Boys’
- Swansea could struggle. They need to score and win more games. And soon
- I find it impossible not to be sarcastic
All of the above are facts. Unless they’re not. I will report back in November to see how we’re all getting on and if my initial findings still ring even vaguely true.
Tags: Blackpool, Championship, Fantasy Football, Heath Robinson, Norwich City, Ossie Ardiles, Prem, Premier League, QPR, Queens Park Rangers, Reasons to be cheerful, Swans, Swansea, West Bromwich Albion, Wigan
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