Previews: 20th, Southampton, 36 points

Southampton have followed in the footsteps of Norwich in achieving successive promotions to jump from League One to the Premiership. I imagine that most of their fans would be happy if they were to achieve a similar league finish to that of the Canaries last time around.

Firstly let’s have a look at how they’ve done it in terms of general counting numbers (points and goal difference), along with a couple of other stats, total shots ratio and PDO.

An explanation of total shots ratio can be found here and here, for PDO see here and here.

If you haven’t seen these bubble plots before I explained the concept here but basically, higher = better team, further right = more luck, bigger bubble = more points, brighter bubble = more extreme goal difference (green = +ve, red = -ve).

I’ve purposefully scaled the both the axes and bubble sizes for each preview, which means you can put two of these plots side by side and compare the relative performance of two teams over the past three seasons.

Whichever league they’ve been in Southampton have been a terrific team over the last three years, they’ve achieved a combined +125 goal difference over the 138 game span, which is a simply stunning return. They also scored 92 points in ’10-11 with distinctly average luck. It’s not really surprising to see they took a step back last season, likely due to the improved competition being faced, but they were still comfortably one of the better teams in the Championship.

Looking forward to next year, and using the method of using ‘comparable’ teams to determine future performance that I outlined previously (linK), what’s a good guess as to how this will translate into points (and potential league positions) next season? (A list of the comparable teams can be found at the bottom of the post)

So it’s not pretty but nor is it the end of the world. They’re basically in the realm of most promoted clubs. With a bit of luck they stay up, if a few things conspire against them they go down. It’s worth saying at this point that I’ve yet to find a good predictor of points for teams promoted to the Premiership, every team kind of ends up in the 35-40 point range, which was a big part of the reason I wanted to find something better: hence the ‘comparables’ system I’m using here.

Finally this is the fledgling league table:

The comparables for Southampton were: ’09-10 West Brom (91pts in year ‘0’, 47 points in year ‘1’); ’05-06 Watford (81, 28); ’04-05 Sunderland (94, 15); ’10-11 Swansea (80, 47); ’07-08 Hull (75, 35); ’04-05 West Ham (73, 55); ’05-06 Sheffield United (90, 38); ’01-02 West Brom (89, 26); ’00-01 Bolton (87, 40); ’08-09 Burnley (76, 30)

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