Hull City 08-09 & West Ham United 06-07: Two very different ways of staying up

Both Hull City (in 08-09) and West Ham (in 06-07) survived on the final day of the premiership season. Loooking back at those teams they were both effectively saved thanks to a run of 9 games. For Hull it was their first 9, where they picked up 20 points and looked like they could be safe by Christmas. West Ham went about it in the opposite manner, picking up 21 points in their final 9 games of the season to avoid the drop.

What I want to answer is whether the performances of these teams really did go through the peaks and troughs suggested by the way they picked up points or did they just appear to get all of their good luck and bad luck in big lumps during the season?

The underlying numbers suggest that they were two similar teams.

Team G ratio SOT ratio TS ratio Sh% Sv% PDO
West Ham United 0.372 0.447 0.449 17.41 76.31 937
Hull City 0.371 0.431 0.432 18.31 77.22 955

*In the table ‘G’ stands for goals, ‘SOT’ is shots on target and ‘TS’ means total shots

Their shots on target ratio suggests they would both be borderline relegation candidates (the average 18th place team has a SOTR of 0.439) and so it’s no suprise to see their survival being in doubt right up until the last day of the season. That being said they also both suffered from a poor PDO.

So were the teams actually better during those series of 9 games than they were during the rest of the season or was it simply a case of extreme good luck?

Team G ratio SOT ratio S ratio Sh% Sv% PDO
WHU games 1-29 0.296 0.441 0.455 14.38 72.97 874
WHU games 30-38 0.609 0.462 0.455 25.45 85.94 1114
Hull City games 1-9 0.560 0.398 0.383 28.57 85.14 1137
Hull City games 10-38 0.321 0.442 0.448 15.24 74.40 896

The numbers show that the two teams performed in a pretty similar way all season. The increase in points was sparked by an unsustainable spike in PDO, which resulted in both teams picking up a lot of points.

The running total of each teams SOTR suggests that this is how they would have been expected to score their points

Again there’s no major pickup or dropoff in performance during the season and I think it more closely matches what the underlying number are telling us. These two teams are extreme cases of teams getting all of their good luck and bad luck lumped together which caused swings in performance that are simply unsustainable over a whole season.


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