Ups and downs with Hull, QPR & Villa (and Leicester and Burnley instead of Saints and WBA)

John McCormick:
John McCormick: you can count on us

You might remember the theme of this series of posts was to track the progress of selected teams towards  38 points, which  required them to average 1 point per game throughout the season. The teams I chose as relegation candidates at the start of the season, on the basis of some history and rather flimsy statistics, were Hull, QPR, and Villa, with WBA and Southampton as wildcards. SAFC were mentioned, of course, not quite in passing and from my eternally optimistic SAFC supporter’s viewpoint.

With around six games left it’s time to see how these teams are doing.

I have to say I was wrong, so wrong, about Southampton, who were safe by Christmas. Nor did I foresee that Leicester would reach mid-point in bottom place. Could they become the third team to make the great escape? And was it sentiment that made me ignore what the bookies were saying? They  appear to have been right about Burnley while I was wrong, at least as the Premier League currently stands.

West Brom should be safe, thanks to the appointment of never-relegated Tony Pulis, as should be Crystal Palace and NUFC, who both drifted onto the relegation scene. Alan Pardew made a miserable start to the season with the Mags but staged a good-enough-for-safety recovery and then left for Palace, who staged a recovery of their own. Three new managers, three safe teams, unless John Carver does something imbecilic.

All of this is reflected in the first of the charts below; WBA and Southampton are the only clubs from my selection to sit above the one point per game line, as do Palace and NUFC, and they have all been above it for a while.

 Rolling average points per game since the start of the season:

points_per_game_April_2015

What of the remaining clubs? Will the other three new managers do better than the three who stayed?

The graph above is a little too crowded to form any opinion so in the next graph I’ve removed those four safe teams and the first few games (which is why the bottom scale is below thirty). This allows me to focus on the bottom six and I’ve changed a couple of colours and solidified and smoothed the curves to make it easier to see how they’ve been doing.

What do you make of it?

rolling average points per game since game 10. Updated 20/4/15
rolling average points per game since game 10. Updated 20/4/15

A discerning eye might note that Burnley have risen from a low base and have reached the giddy heights of QPR. The same eye might also see a long slow decline on the parts of Villa and Leicester, a decline that halted shortly after the appointment of a new manager for the former and with the rekindling of fighting spirit in the latter.

A discerning brain might think “So what? It’s only that toerag McCormick and his dodgy numbers.

But wherever you look, whatever you use, there’s not a lot to say any of the new managers have what it takes, or that any of  the unchanged ones have found a magic formula.

When I look at the second chart the word  that comes into my mind is “erratic”, a description which fits all six bottom teams. Recent  reports on this website have generated comments about the form and fight of our competitors in  the relegation mini-league. Their failure to roll over and die is a worry, especially as that’s become our forte but it hasn’t always been translated into points and this lack of consistency might just give us hope.

I’m posting this before the weekend’s games. Let’s see what happens and maybe I’ll update the graph and my comments after Sunday. Maybe I won’t. After all, who can trust dodgy numbers?

Meanwhile, keep keeping the faith.

Postscript
It’s Monday morning now and I’ve just been listening to a Liverpool fan letting some (unsympathetic) Evertonians know that Ballotelli’s disallowed goal was not not offside. “So what”, I’m thinking. “Villa thoroughly deserved their win”. It looks like I have to review my statement about none of the new managers having what it takes. With Leicester winning their third game in a row I also have to review my statement about the managers who have stayed and magic formulae.

It looks like it could become a five, or even four, horse race and we’re one of the four.

Join the Salut! Sunderland Facebook group – click anywhere along this line

and follow us on Twitter: @salutsunderland … click along this line

Click anywhere on this sentence for a glance at the home page – and highlights of all the most recent articles …

Jake flags the new feature allowing you to have your say on topic or off

Leicester, Burnley, QPR, Villa, Hull, WBA, Palace and SAFC: all flatlining

John McCormick:
John McCormick:

At 24 games in it was time for my review of the relegation prospects I set out at the beginning of the season but with game 25 only two days later  it made sense to wait.

You’ll remember my chosen three were

QPR – chosen because a promoted team is almost certain to go down and most often it has been the playoff winner.

Hull, on the basis that second season syndrome’s due and as two London teams have never been relegated in the same season QPR’s demise must mean Palace are safe.

Aston Villa, on the grounds of their being the only club to have been in the bottom three for each of the last three seasons without being relegated. – See more at: https://safc.blog/2014/12/flatlining-safc-will-we-ever-head-upwards/#sthash.AvEaDeFs.dpuf

In addition, I had two wildcard  teams: Southampton, chosen because of the personnel changes and turbulence the club had experienced and West Brom, selected because of last season’s iffy form and the way they appointed their manager.

My chosen measure of progress was the rolling-point average of each club; in other words, the average points gained per game as the season moved forwards. My logic was and is that any club which managed a point per game would stay up. It’s not exact but as only four clubs have been relegated with 38 points or more since the turn of the century it’s a very useful target.

How, then, have my chosen clubs done? How have we done with them? And are there any other clubs that now need to be included? The answer to the last question is “Of course there are”. Southampton have been a revelation. They reached the magic 10 wins on Boxing Day, are now being spoken of as European Championship contenders and congratulations are in order. Leicester, who weren’t on my radar, have replaced them and Burnley are also strongly in contention as I write.

But let’s look at some figures. Here are the rolling point averages for my chosen club, plus newcomers, plus one or two others who have been around the bottom at some point since the start of the season, in order of current league position:

Game Leics Burnley QPR Villa Hull SAFC WBA Palace NUFC Soton
1 1.00 0.00 0.00 3.00 3.00 1.00 1.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
2 0.50 0.00 0.00 2.00 2.00 1.00 1.00 0.00 0.50 0.50
3 0.67 0.33 1.00 2.33 1.33 0.67 0.67 0.33 0.67 1.33
4 1.25 0.50 0.75 2.50 1.25 0.75 0.50 0.50 0.50 1.75
5 1.60 0.60 0.80 2.00 1.20 0.80 1.00 1.00 0.60 2.00
6 1.33 0.50 0.67 1.67 1.00 0.83 1.33 1.33 0.50 2.17
7 1.29 0.57 0.57 1.43 1.29 1.14 1.14 1.14 0.57 1.86
8 1.13 0.5 0.5 1.25 1.25 1 1.13 1.00 0.88 2
8 1.00 0.44 0.78 1.11 1.22 0.89 1.11 1.00 1.11 2.11
10 0.90 0.40 0.70 1.00 1.10 1.10 1.30 0.90 1.30 2.20
11 0.82 0.64 0.73 1.00 1.00 1.09 1.18 0.82 1.45 2.27
12 0.83 0.83 0.67 1.00 0.92 1.08 1.08 1.00 1.58 2.17
13 0.77 0.85 0.85 1.00 0.85 1.08 1.00 1.00 1.46 2.00
14 0.71 0.86 0.79 1.14 0.86 1.00 0.93 0.93 1.43 1.86
15 0.67 0.80 0.93 1.27 0.87 1.00 0.93 0.93 1.53 1.73
16 0.63 0.94 0.88 1.19 0.81 1.00 1.06 0.94 1.44 1.63
17 0.59 0.88 1.00 1.18 0.76 1.12 1.00 0.88 1.35 1.71
18 0.56 0.83 0.94 1.11 0.89 1.06 0.94 0.83 1.28 1.78
19 0.68 0.84 0.95 1.11 0.84 1.05 0.89 0.84 1.37 1.74
20 0.70 0.85 0.95 1.10 0.95 1.00 0.90 0.85 1.35 1.80
21 0.81 0.95 0.90 1.05 0.90 0.95 1.00 0.95 1.29 1.86
22 0.77 0.91 0.86 1.00 0.86 0.91 1.00 1.05 1.23 1.91
23 0.74 0.87 0.83 0.96 0.83 1.00 0.96 1.00 1.30 1.83
24 0.71 0.88 0.79 0.92 0.83 1.00 0.96 1.08 1.29 1.88
25 0.68 0.84 0.88 0.88 0.92 0.96 1.04 1.08 1.28 1.84

Plotting these figures as a graph makes for a complicated picture:

Rolling point averages of selected clubs, Feb 2015
Rolling point averages of selected clubs, Feb 2015

It’s not complicated as such, it’s just that there are so many clubs so close together. We can say that Southampton have settled and are safe, as are Newcastle, but what about the others? It’s impossible to tell.

Trendlines can simplify the picture at the risk of sometimes being inaccurate. For what they are worth, here they are:

Rolling points trendlines, Feb 2015
Rolling points trendlines, Feb 2015

As far as I’m concerned it’s still impossible to tell although Palace and WBA, with new managers, should be safe. Leicester, I think, won’t recover from being bottom at Christmas. We did, and WBA, but I can’t see it happening again. Hull might just escape second season syndrome but I expect them to falter once more on their path to safety. QPR, despite Tuesday, look to not have it while Burnley might well be battling in vain. Villa, however, might provide a lifeline for one of them, as might we. It’s too close to call at the moment.

I’ll revisit in six or seven games, depending on how the fixtures unravel. Until then, fasten your seat belts and adopt the brace position.


Join the Salut! Sunderland Facebook group – click anywhere along this line



And follow us on Twitter: @salutsunderland … click along this line

Click anywhere on this sentence for a glance at the home page – and highlights of all the most recent articles …

Jake flags the new feature allowing you to have your say on topic or off
Jake flags the new feature allowing you to have your say on topic or off

Fancy leaving a comment? Not sure what you have to say fits this post? Go to the made-for-purpose feature – https://safc.blog/2013/07/salut-sunderland-the-way-it-is/ – and say it there

Pure Poyetry: QPR goalie’s better than our whole team (and we’re not up for challenges)

Jake captures the Bard, with thanks to Owen Lennox
Jake captures the Bard, with thanks to Owen Lennox

 

John McCormick  writes: I wrote an upbeat introduction to the weekend’s e-mail from the manager. Today, I can’t repeat the feat. I’ve travelled across Liverpool to lose a game of chess, which meant the team lost the match, and while taking solace at the bar and watching the final minutes of an apparently entertaining Liverpool v Spurs it transpired we’d once more self-destructed. How does our manager explain this? Let’s find out as M Salut shares with us the e-mail he received shortly after the game:

Read morePure Poyetry: QPR goalie’s better than our whole team (and we’re not up for challenges)

The Salut! Sunderland ‘Who are You?’: the unanswered questions for QPR fans

Jake has ways of making them talk
Jake thought he had ways of making them talk

STOP PRESS – Within an hour or so of this going live QPR fans were quick to step into the breach described in the introduction. Thanks to JC and Josh (and any others waiting in the wings) for promptly filling the gap.

All seemed in order when Monsieur Salut went off to Cuba. A QPR fan, who had long ago volunteered to do the Who are You? interview, had the questions and promised replies. Thinking only of the transfer window and intervening results, I told the interviewee, Gareth Parker, to take his time as ‘things – and therefore your answers – will change between now and Feb 10-ish’. I was not thinking of ‘Arry’s dodgy knees (M Salut knows all about those) and I certainly wasn’t implying that the answers could wait until after the game.

But despite returning from holiday to an email suggesting some revised post-Redknapp questions, which I duly sent last Friday, Gareth has remained silent.

If any QPR fans fancy answering in his place, just go to Comments, specify the question number and give your reply. If there is a good response – and that’s a big if, given how close we are to the game – we’ll come up with a prize.

And apologies to all readers who enjoy this series for this one lapse. I am sure Gareth either overlooked it of has a perfectly good reason for not being able to oblige. We should, however, have a cracker for the Bradford City cup game …

Read moreThe Salut! Sunderland ‘Who are You?’: the unanswered questions for QPR fans

Keir’s Player Ratings and QPR Guess the Score

Jake: have your say on Keir's assessments , then guess tomorrow night's score
Jake: have your say on Keir’s assessments , then guess tomorrow night’s score

Apologies to all for pulling these two items together, a necessity given constraints on time between the two games, at Swansea on Saturday and at home to QPR tomorrow. Agree or disagree with Keir Bradwell’s man-by-man ratings from the 1-1 draw at the Liberty Stadium and then have a stab at the scoreline in tomorrow’s crucial game…

Read moreKeir’s Player Ratings and QPR Guess the Score

Dodgy numbers signify relegation scrap for Hull, QPR, Burnley, Leicester (and us?)

John McCormick:
John McCormick:
looking for a rise

This is my third post in this series, which began in August when I used some dodgy stats and history to identify this season’s relegation candidates, plus a couple of wildcards for good measure (the list in the headline is not exhaustive – Ed). You might remember (or you can revisit https://safc.blog/2014/08/good-news-for-burnley-and-leicester-our-stats-man-has-qpr-hull-city-and-aston-villa/)

I predicted, from 20th place upwards:

QPR – Purely because a promoted team is almost certain to go down and most often it has been the playoff winner. I had to go with this, whatever the bookies said about Burnley.
Hull, on the basis that second season syndrome’s due and as two London teams have never been relegated in the same season QPR’s demise must mean Palace are safe.
Villa, on the grounds of their being the only club to have been in the bottom three for each of the last three seasons without being relegated. That’s scary stuff for a fan.

Southampton were the first wildcard, chosen because of the personnel changes and turbulence the club has experienced this year.
West Brom, because of last season’s iffy form and the way they appointed their manager, were the second.

Since the turn of the century only four clubs have been relegated with 38 points or more. This allowed me to say any club which managed a point per game would be alright and to use a rolling average of points per game to make projections. A club with an average rising above 1 would be improving but one whose points per game were dropping would cause concern among its fans.

After 8 games QPR were bottom but they were the only team I’d picked who were doing worse than one point per game. We were bang on one point per game and West Brom weren’t much better. Hull and Villa were doing fine, while Southampton were coasting in second place with 16 points and an impressive win record. Burnley and Newcastle, meanwhile, had slipped into the bottom three, with Crystal Palace and Leicester not far above them. (You can read that update at https://safc.blog/2014/10/the-gloomy-stats-that-doom-qpr-burnley-and-newcastle-or-us/.)

However, when it came to trends it wasn’t as clear cut. Hull and Villa were heading downwards after decent starts. SAFC and WBA were treading water. QPR were trending upwards but from a low base while Southampton’s trajectory had them looking at the stars. The other teams were more of a mixed bunch, enough for me to say that while the stats required Newcastle’s presence in my chart my intuition said they wouldn’t stay there.

Now with 16 games gone it’s time to revisit. So, to start, here are the rolling points-per-game averages for my original 5 clubs plus us and the other four:

Game Leics Hull QPR Burnley Palace SAFC WBA Villa NUFC Soton
1 1.00 3.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.00 1.00 3.00 0.00 0.00
2 0.50 2.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.00 1.00 2.00 0.50 0.50
3 0.67 1.33 1.00 0.33 0.33 0.67 0.67 2.33 0.67 1.33
4 1.25 1.25 0.75 0.50 0.50 0.75 0.50 2.50 0.50 1.75
5 1.60 1.20 0.80 0.60 1.00 0.80 1.00 2.00 0.60 2.00
6 1.33 1.00 0.67 0.50 1.33 0.83 1.33 1.67 0.50 2.17
7 1.29 1.29 0.57 0.57 1.14 1.14 1.14 1.43 0.57 1.86
8 1.13 1.25 0.5 0.5 1.00 1 1.13 1.25 0.88 2
8 1.00 1.22 0.78 0.44 1.00 0.89 1.11 1.11 1.11 2.11
10 0.90 1.10 0.70 0.40 0.90 1.10 1.30 1.00 1.30 2.20
11 0.82 1.00 0.73 0.64 0.82 1.09 1.18 1.00 1.45 2.27
12 0.83 0.92 0.67 0.83 1.00 1.08 1.08 1.00 1.58 2.17
13 0.77 0.85 0.85 0.85 1.00 1.08 1.00 1.00 1.46 2.00
14 0.71 0.86 0.79 0.86 0.93 1.00 0.93 1.14 1.43 1.86
15 0.67 0.87 0.93 0.80 0.93 1.00 0.93 1.27 1.53 1.73
16 0.63 0.81 0.88 0.94 0.94 1.00 1.06 1.19 1.44 1.63

QPR and Burnley have never managed to go above the one point per game level, although QPR did touch it after game three. Leicester and Hull have declined from above 1 point per game to significantly less and have stayed there.  NUFC have done the opposite, spending the first 8 games below this level and the next 8 above it. Palace have cycled above and below it, as have WBA. Villa have declined but have never gone below an average of 1 point per game. Southampton have declined but still have an enviable record to date. We have been below the 1 point per game as much as we have been above it.

This can be represented graphically:

Average points per game, Aug-December 2014
Average points per game, Aug-December 2014

Once more, to simplify, I’ll use trendlines:

Average points per game: trendlines December 2014
Average points per game: trendlines December 2014

Trendlines aren’t always the best thing to use ( Villa’s line, for example, doesn’t reflect their current situation) but they do show the different groups. Southampton and NUC are heading upwards and surely safe. WBA and SAFC are just about keeping their heads above water. QPR and Burnley are heading upwards but still have some way to go and Leicester and Hull are looking into the abyss.

I’m not sure about Villa, they might have turned a corner, but I think my original choice of Hull, QPR and WBA have been justified. On the other hand, I didn’t see Leicester coming. If Burnley have replaced Southampton then Leicester surely have replaced Villa, while Palace, not safe by any means, appear to be doing enough to keep alive my predictions about second season syndrome and only one London club going down.

So as we move into Christmas it’s three of my original five, plus Burnley, Leicester and Palace that I’ll be watching. My next report will be in February, after game 24. The transfer window will be closed, no doubt some managers will have changed. Let’s see what the new year brings

 In the 1950s my grandma used to tell us kids about our uncle Jack in Canada. Then it became our uncle Jack in Australia. This weekend Jack’s son Danny visited, with his wife Jackie and children Niamh (age 7) and Declan (age 9). Declan proudly told me he’s a Sunderland supporter. So it’s Happy Christmas to my uncle Jack, 60 years and ten thousand miles away from Sacriston but holding fast to his roots,  to my cousins Danny, Ali and Anne, their husbands and wives, and all their children.

facebook


Join the Salut! Sunderland Facebook group – click anywhere along this line



And follow us on Twitter: @salutsunderland … click along this line

Click anywhere on this sentence for a glance at the home page – and highlights of all the most recent articles …

Jake flags the new feature allowing you to have your say on topic or off
Jake flags the new feature allowing you to have your say on topic or off

Fancy leaving a comment? Not sure what you have to say fits this post? Go to the made-for-purpose feature – https://safc.blog/2013/07/salut-sunderland-the-way-it-is/ – and say it there

 

 

The gloomy stats that doom QPR, Burnley and Newcastle (or us)

John McCormick:
John McCormick:
reading between the lines

Lost in the deluge of post-Southampton news, anger and gallows humour, John McCormick applied a scholarly eye to the statistics he considers relevant factors in determining who goes down, who stays up. Ominously, in this update, the 8-0 defeat is seen as not only wrecking our goal difference but pushing us more obviously into the frame, on John’s interpretation of trends. He hopes and we hope he is completely wrong …

Read moreThe gloomy stats that doom QPR, Burnley and Newcastle (or us)

Dodgy numbers raise the question: ‘Can we dodge the bullet?’

John McCormick:
John McCormick:
reading between the lines

Before the season started I used some dodgy stats and history to predict this season’s relegated candidates, including a couple of wildcards. From 20th place upwards they were:

QPR – Purely because a promoted team is almost certain to go down and most often it has been the playoff winner. I had to go with this, whatever the bookies said about Burnley.

Hull, on the basis that second season syndrome’s due and as two London teams have never been relegated in the same season QPR’s demise must mean Palace are safe.

Villa, on the grounds of their being the only club to have been in the bottom three for each of the last three seasons without being relegated. That’s scary stuff for a fan.

Southampton were the first wildcard, chosen because of the personnel changes and turbulence the club has experienced this year.

West Brom, because of last season’s iffy form and the way they appointed their manager, were the second.

You can read the whole post here: https://safc.blog/2014/08/good-news-for-burnley-and-leicester-our-stats-man-has-qpr-hull-city-and-aston-villa/

Read moreDodgy numbers raise the question: ‘Can we dodge the bullet?’

Terry Fenwick: ‘the drunken scout I blame for never playing for Sunderland’

Courtesy of the British Coaches Abroad Association
Courtesy of the British Coaches Abroad Association


There are worse things
than being the coach, as we must these days call managers, of a team in the third tier of Belgium football.

Perhaps not many worse things, but being the coach/manager who took Cercle Sportif Visé, better but not very much better known as CS Visé, down from the second division in May would have been one of them.

Read moreTerry Fenwick: ‘the drunken scout I blame for never playing for Sunderland’

Keir’s Player ratings: QPR 1 Sunderland 0 (and a bit from Birmingham)

Jake: 'you've seen it all, being a Sunderland fan, in a single season, Keir'
Jake: ‘you’ve seen it all, being a Sunderland fan, in a single season, Keir’

Keir Bradwell sums up the players’ individual performances in marks out of 10 for the games at Loftus Road and St Andrew’s a few nights earlier…

Read moreKeir’s Player ratings: QPR 1 Sunderland 0 (and a bit from Birmingham)