The surprising form of Lincoln City – part 4

With parts 1, 2 and 3 looking at what’s gone on this season I’m going to use part 4 to apply what has been learned to look ahead for the rest of the season.

First off I’m going to presume everyone is agreed that shots are linked to goals. Furthermore it stands to reason that the more shots you have on target the more goals you are likely score. (Obviously this is a basic view and doesn’t take the quality of each individual shot into account but the link is there, you can’t score unless you get shots on goal.)

On the back of this I’m going to use the shots on goal since Steve Tilson took charge of the team (that seems fair to me – they’ll be playing under his charge using his systems for the rest of the season). By coupling the shots on goal with the ratio of shots that I expect the team to concede and score (as laid out in parts 2 and 3 respectively) we get an idea of what to expect for the rest of the season.

First the defence:

Shots on target against per game Expected save percentage Expected goals allowed per game
4.19 68.8 1.31

Followed by the attack:

Shots on target Expected scoring percentage Expected goals per game
3.50 28.5 1.00

So what should we expect over the final 18 games of the season?

Goals Expected per game Expected over 18 games
Scored 1.00 18
Conceded 1.31 24

Now before I go onto the next paragraph there’s a caveat. I said I’d show as much of the data I use as possible but the data used for this next paragraph is in a form that simply isn’t compatible with a blackberry. It’ll get put up one day but for now there’s only my word.

Obviously there’s a very strong correlation between goal difference and points in football (and any sport for that matter). A team that has a goal difference of 0 will pick up an average of 24-25 points over a period of 18 games and this is increased/reduced by ~0.6 points for every goal above/below 0 that a team is. So if Lincoln perform as expected then they should pick up about 21 points.

So how does that stack up compared to what we’ve seen so far this season?

Games Points Points per game ±
1-28 37 1.32 -12
29-46 21 1.17 -6
Total 58 1.26 -18

I’ll be honest. To my mind that projects Lincoln to do worse than I expected. In the right sort of area but still low. Having said that I’m not tempted to change it, if you decide what you want the outcome to be before you do any of the research or reasoning then this sort of exercise simply doesn’t work. It’s only works by looking at the information available in a rational way and drawing conclusions from there. At the end of the season I’ll revisit it to see how well it reflects what actually happens and what can be learned for next time.

That’s the last I’ll write about Lincoln for now, if there’s any constructive comments or queries you have then leave them in one of the comments sections.

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