By Tom Williams
Here’s another statistical update for you on Lincoln City’s performances thus far in the season. I won’t go back over the explanations and introduction to how I collect the stats and why anomalies compared to other sources might occur, so if there’s any confusion please check out the previous stats article or get in touch!
The picture we get of the basic stats so far shows that despite some frustrating results, the Imps are still holding an advantage over their opponents. Our slightly in favour proportion of goals, shots, shots on target, and corners give the impression that our current position of 11th is probably about right. Once again our ‘competitive’ approach is evident with the Imps totting up considerably more yellow cards and slightly more fouls than our opponents.
Our chances and shots are a topic that has prompted considerable debate amongst fans. It’s pretty clear this is an area Lincoln City need to improve to really worry the promotion hopefuls, with the Imps currently sitting 17th in League Two in terms of goals scored. However, the stats do indicate that the attacking situation hasn’t been as dire as some have suggested. We have played some strong sides in the league (the average current position of our opponents is actually Lincoln’s position, 11th) as well a League One team currently chasing the play-offs and a squad team versus squad team match up with the Stags. Despite the strong opposition, the Imps come out on top overall on the shot accuracy measurements. The Imps have had more shots than our opponents, got a greater percentage on target, and have converted a better ratio. So while attacking is certainly an area we need to improve to be a real force in this division, the Imps have held their own and aren’t as toothless as some suggest.
The minutes played record thus far isn’t all too surprising although it’s interesting to note that our three strikers are still jostling for minutes with Matt Green (pictured top) playing 68%, Rhead on 50%, and Palmer restricted to 41% (but rising rapidly). Furthermore, the people at Electronic Arts may feel justified in their ratings with Lincoln City’s best four players in FIFA 18 dominating the minutes played scores.
We scored in the first half an hour! It took until game 12 but it happened! The table now looks slightly less bizarre but there’s still an obvious bias towards the second half with 71% of the Imps’ goals coming after the break. Hairdryer treatment at half time? Better physical and mental condition? A bit of both?
Interestingly, the same graph for our opponents is remarkably similar. The two together show that the opening of our games tends to be cagey before bursting into life in the run up to half-time. Fancy an extra half hour in the pub?
Although the Imps have finally scored in the first 30 minutes, they are still, by my judgement, yet to hit the top half of the net. We might have to wait for a Bostwick screamer for that.
A lad that’s come in for a bit of stick online is Josh Ginnelly, with some accusing of him of being too lightweight, lacking end product, and a defensive liability. This isn’t a view I personally buy into but it might be a reflection of his tendency to drift in and out games somewhat. Nevertheless, he lead the way in terms of how frequently the team scores goals when a player is on the field. The Imps have scored as many with him on the field as Rhead or Arnold, in far fewer minutes. Perhaps, due to his pace and skills, he occupies defenders in similar way to how Rhead’s physical presence bought space for teammates last season. Ollie Palmer’s increased presence is supported by his impressive score in this measurement, significantly superior to those of his rivals for a position.
The aforementioned criticism of Ginnelly’s defensive contributions might be supported by his appearance at the negative end of this chart. This trend, shared with Whitehouse, of the Imps both scoring and conceding more when these players feature might be a product of the way they are often utilised, as impact subs. These charts indicate that they can be seen as a role of the dice, an attempt to win three points, perhaps at the risk of losing one. This trend is probably exaggerated by the tendency towards second half goals noted earlier. Another interesting point in this chart is the lofty position of Rhead and Waterfall, two bastions of our National League success who have recently found gametime hard to come by. Rhead’s score, in particular, might indicate he could well be a formidable asset for defending leads as it would appear that the more direct style we adopt to suit him leaves us far less vulnerable, if often less potent.
The last topic I’ll cover in today’s article is that of our defence, something that has been somewhat overshadowed by fans’ focus on our attack. We can see the emergence of ‘Habergham, Dickie, Raggett, Eardley’ as our currently favoured combination. It will be interesting to see how long they can stay ahead of ‘Eardley, Waterfall, Raggett, Long’ in terms of minutes per goal conceded.