Championship GW8 Review
Leeds remain top of the Championship despite their first defeat of the season, Harry Redknapp leaves Birmingham and many more talking points – a normal weekend of Championship action! Using expected goals (xG), the Infogol Analyst will review the weekend’s action, assessing performances and not just results to paint a clearer picture of the week’s matches, including selecting a Team to Back next time.
Sheffield United’s four match winning streak was brought to an end by Norwich at the weekend, though the Blades were unfortunate to come away from the game empty-handed. They went down 1-0 to a Yanic Wildschut goal, but the chances that United conceded were of a low-probability, suggesting that they limited Norwich to shots from tight angles or shots from distance. From the chances created by both teams, Sheffield United had just a 16% chance of losing the game, and this was the most ‘unfair’ result of GW8.
Ipswich got back to winning ways against struggling Bolton, but they were fortunate to do so in what was a very even match. Both teams created good chances, and the xG totals were very even (1.09 – 1.17). Ipswich opened the scoring with a deflected effort from distance and were playing on the counter attack from then on. They have won five of their first seven matches, but have been very fortunate to do so, they have an expected goal difference (xGD) of -4.67xG, and the results they are achieving aren’t sustainable with a process as poor as this.
Burton’s 2-1 win over Fulham, and Aston Villa’s 3-0 win over Barnsley were both results that were ‘unfair’ but for differing reasons. Burton were second best in terms of chances created, so were fortunate to get the much needed three points. Aston Villa were on the right side of the result against Barnsley, but the score line was harsh on the home side, who created some good chances themselves. That win for Villa though will ease the pressure on Steve Bruce, whose team are now unbeaten in five league games.
Harry Redknapp’s reign of Birmingham is over after a fifth straight defeat. They were beaten by Preston 3-1 in front of their own fans, which was to be the last straw for Redknapp. The scoreline was unfair on Birmingham though, as they didn’t concede that many chances to their opponents, but they are now in trouble and sit second bottom of the table.
Cardiff scored a last minute equaliser against Sheffield Wednesday to earn a 1-1 draw, a scoreline which was matched by Brentford at home to Reading and in the game between Hull and Sunderland – which was the ‘fairest’ result of the gameweek.
Bristol City (4-1), Middlesbrough (3-2) and Millwall (1-0) registered deserved home wins over Derby, QPR and Leeds respectively. Bristol City once again generated a host of opportunities, as did Middlesbrough, but Millwall’s win was based on a solid defensive performance, limiting the league leaders to just one shot in 90 minutes, equating to 0.03 xG – the lowest one match total of any team so far this season.
Joint league leaders Wolves gained another win, this time on their travels against Nottingham Forest. They continue to impress, creating plenty of chances while conceding few, and their process suggests they will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.
GW9 Team to Back – Aston Villa
Aston Villa’s process has improved over recent weeks, and looks to be finding a level of consistency. They face an inconsistent Forest side in GW9, and Steve Bruce’s team can get another win. They look a decent enough price at 4/5.