Everton: The Jekyll and Hyde show?

I was posed the following question by my good friend Ben:

“why are Everton always terrible in the first half of the season and then brilliant at the end?”

This is a stigma that has hung around the team for at least the last five years so I’ve taken the 386 league games since David Moyes took charge of the team.

Firstly lets split their performance down by month, in this table expected points per game is calculated from the shots ratio (TSR), an explanation of PDO can be found here.

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In terms of performance there actually is only one month, October, where the shot ratio is more than one standard deviation from the mean, the rest are pretty tightly grouped. Unsurprisingly points and goal difference per game mirror each other pretty well.

I’ve highlighted half of the months, those where the team has the highest PDO. In other words these are the months where the team gets the most luck. In the table below I’ve grouped the months to see if PDO is the only difference between them.

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Everton control the ball the same amount all season long, and yet, courtesy of a bloated PDO, score more points between December and April. How about if we break PDO down into its component parts:

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And herein lies the difference, for some reason if Everton take a shot between December and April it’s 29% more likely to result in a goal than if they take a shot between May and November.

So finally what does a typical Everton season look like and how does it compare to the rest of the Premiership?
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Everton games are typically slightly busier in terms of events compared to an average premiership game, their sh% is exactly league average, and their sv% is somewhat above league average.

To summarise:
Everton have some pretty bad luck in August, putting them in a falsely low league position
From there they pretty much tread water until December
Once the calendar turns to December they begin a stretch of five months during which their PDO is a full standard deviation above league average and they’re 29% more likely to score a goal with a given shot

If we look back in ten years time and this pattern persists I’d be pretty surprised.

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