Here are seven team stats we have picked out from the opening weekend in the Championship
Football is finally back with us, following the opening weekend of the new Championship season. Plenty of people will be dissecting what has occurred, but I’m going to be looking at things a little bit differently. You all know what happened on the field – and which of your stars performed and which did not.
Instead, I’m going to take a brief look at some of the team stats from the games and what kind of conclusions we can draw from them. This is not likely to be a huge article on the word count – so please feel free to have a gander.
So, let’s get stuck into the numbers…
1. Millwall had the most shots (23)
Millwall were one of the clubs to start their season early as one of the four teams playing on Friday evening. Going to Nottingham Forest, they may not have quite known what to expect – as Forest struggled last season. If this game is anything to go by though, the Lions will look to attack for Championship survival.
The 23 shots that they manged in their opening game was the most of any club – but the crucial point is they lost the game 1-0. Therefore, it was that many shots without managing to score a single goal. If the club wishes to continue to play in this style, things will certainly be entertaining for their fans – but they must learn to be more clinical in from of goal.
2. Nottingham Forest had the most possession (63.9%) and short passes (528)
It looks as though Nottingham Forest will have a clear style this season. During that win against Millwall, they had 63.9% of the ball and managed 528 short passes. What will be interesting though is if this style will translate into a successful season. I would also add that it’s a lot easier to do this against a newly promoted side than one of the more established Championship sides.
Forest continue to struggle to hold on to their best players and they may also struggle to score goals this season. The fact that they only managed one against Millwall is certainly a hint in that direction. This possession stats are a promising start – but I still expect them to struggle in the league once things settle down a bit.
3. Norwich City were the most accurate passers (86.7% completion)
As impressive as Forest were with the ball, Norwich City can also be proud of their work. Daniel Farke’s team were second in the Championship for short passes with 478, but they were the most accurate passing team over the weekend with an 86.7% completion rate. The Canaries were a decent team with the ball last season – but Farke certainly wants to take things up a level.
The fact that these numbers were achieved in an away match would have been very pleasing and shows that Norwich will have a consistent style in both home and away games. It will certainly be interesting to see how the passing stats compare with Forest after week two. I had earlier predicted though that the Norfolk side would be one of the leading possession teams in the league.
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4. Fulham managed the most through balls (9)
Fulham are another one of those sides that should do well in possession this season – and were joint third with the 442 short passes they managed. The Cottages may well look to get narrow with their attacking play and that was shown with nine through balls during their 1-1 draw against Norwich City.
I have spoken about the Fulham midfield on several different occasions – and I’m impressed with the options they have. We may well talk about individuals down the line – but it’s the collective that works for them. Teams in the Championship need to be aware of the sort of damage they can cause when attacking down the middle.
5. Aston Villa played wide with the most crosses (31)
Aston Villa had to get used to the Championship last season – but Steve Bruce now has the kind of squad at his disposal to make an impression on the league. Regular readers of mine will know that I have them down as champions this season.
It will certainly be interesting to see what sort of style they play with during the season. Steve Bruce is an experienced manager, but he is more likely to play direct attacking football than the patient stuff. In the club’s home draw against Hull City, it was a case of keeping the pressure on from wide positions as the 31 crosses they managed was the highest in the league.
6. Birmingham City won the most aerials (42)
It will certainly be interesting to see how Birmingham City fare in the Championship this season. Last season, it was very much a mixed affair for them with an excellent first half of the season – and a terrible second half. Harry Redknapp is now in charge and it will be interesting how the team’s style changes under his management.
My fans will know that I have tipped them to be fast starters in the league. However, that did not according to plan as they lost their opening match to Ipswich Town. Despite that, we can see that Redknapp’s team will be one of the most physical in the Championship after they won 42 aerials in their opening game. On this evidence, it certainly doesn’t look like the long ball approach will be enough to beat the Blues this season.
1. Bristol City played the most long balls (95)
Bristol City certainly lost their way in the second half of last season – and I do fear for them this season. Therefore, a 3-1 home win against Barnsley on opening day has certainly gone a long way to taking some pressure off. Of course, teams often win their first game only to drop off in future games – so fans will be hoping it’s not a one-off.
It terms of how Bristol City could find success this season, it seems the strategy is less about short passing and more about being direct. The 95 long balls that they played against Barnsley was the highest in the Championship. It will certainly be interesting to see if this continues to be the approach – and if it continues to be successful for them.
This completes the end of the content section, as we brought you some key stats from the Championship this weekend. So, were these the most important stats from the weekend? If not, let us know what we should have included instead.
If you enjoy Championship content like this, then keep an eye on my profile page for all of the latest updates. Next, I will be looking at some teams that may find themselves in relegation trouble and some players that still have to prove they are good enough for the Championship.