Championship GW1 Review

GW1 of the Championship came to an end with an enthralling encounter at the Macron Stadium on Sunday, and as ever there were plenty of talking points throughout the 12 matches. Using expected goals (xG), Infogol’s Analyst takes a look at the action, assessing performances and not just results. The Analyst will aim to paint a clearer picture of the week’s matches, including selecting a Team to Back for GW2.


Actual vs Expected Goal (xG) totals GW1 

(The fairness metric is a representation of how accurately the real score line reflects the underlying chance creation in the match. It is generated by comparing the probabilities of the home, draw and away outcomes based on actual goals against those derived from expected goals. The closer to 100 the final number is, the more aligned the two are and thus the actual score can be seen as ‘fair’ based on the chances of the match. As the number declines, the further away the real score line is from that expected by the shot based events of the game, i.e. the result was more ‘unfair’.)


All three teams relegated from the Premier League failed to register wins on the opening day of the Championship season, with Hull and Sunderland gaining draws and Middlesbrough losing. Hull scored a second half equaliser against Aston Villa, though they were fortunate to come away with a point after conceding some good chances. Sunderland were a touch unfortunate not to get all three points against Derby, but there were plenty of positives to take away from the game, and Middlesbrough were unlucky to lose at Wolves in what was a tight encounter decided by a defensive error.


The three beaten play-off teams also failed to get wins in GW1, with only Fulham coming away with anything at all. They drew at home with Norwich in what was an evenly fought game, in which both teams created plenty of chances. Sheffield Wednesday and Reading suffered defeats on the road, losing at Preston and QPR respectively. The Owls were a touch unfortunate as the only thing separating them from Preston was a dubious penalty decision, but Reading were deservedly beaten in what was a very poor display from Jaap Stam’s side.


Improvements needed for Reading


Dominant wins for Bristol City, Cardiff and Ipswich round up the GW1 Review. Bristol City were in fine form against Barnsley to get their season off to the perfect start, and so were Ipswich, who beat Harry Redknapp’s Birmingham in comfortable fashion – their best attacking display (according to xG) for over a year. Cardiff beat Burton in what was the ‘fairest’ result of the GW, with Neil Warnock’s side also putting in the best defensive performance of the weekend.


Leeds started the season well with a deserved victory away at newly-promoted Bolton, though it was far from easy as the Trotters piled on the pressure in the second half. Of the other two newly promoted teams, only Sheffield United fared better, beating Brentford at home, though Infogol’s fairness rating suggests that they were very fortunate to get the three points.


Leeds off to a good start 


It was the other way round for Millwall, who were beaten by Forest on Friday night, but part of the most ‘unfair’ result of GW1 according to Infogol’s fairness rating. A fairness rating of 27.38 is very low, and, just by looking at the expected goal totals you can see why. Millwall generated 3.14 xG on the night, conceding just 0.51 xG, with Infogol calculating that they would have lost this match just 3% of the time and would have failed to score just 4% of the time. If they keep performing in the same manner, they will pick up plenty of points this season.


The Lions to Roar to Victory in their next match 


GW2 Team to Back – Millwall


Having put in the performance of the week but came away empty handed, Millwall are expected to get their first win of the season in GW2 as they host Bolton. If they perform to a similar level then they should have no problem getting the win; they look a good price at Evens.


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