Wow, so that was January. Ups, downs, ins, outs, and, of course, rumours. Well if all the excitement had you craving some nice numbers (just me?), here’s your fix. Last month saw 6 games, 3 wins, 2 draws, and a solitary loss, The Imps battled some of the best and worst in the division (with mixed results), and marched ever closer to Wembley in the Checkatrade Trophy.
We start, as per usual, with the basics. Nothing too surprising here, we out-score, out-shoot, and out-foul the opposition in general. What I find most interesting is that we continue to be more clinical than our opponents, both in terms of getting our shots on target and into the net. For a bit of comparison, in this Premier League season, Manchester City have a 41% shots on target percentage and a 16% conversion rate. The most frequent shooters in the top league, Liverpool have a shots on target percentage of just 36% and a 13% conversion rate.
It might also be worth noting that our yellow cards superiority (probably a bad choice of word there), is outstripping that of fouls; worse fouls, or developing a reputation amongst officials?
Here’s a pretty basic look at when and how we score our goals, best used in comparison to that of our opposition. What is really striking, in terms of goal times, is just how many more we score in the 2nd half. 35 2nd half goals so far this season, 61% of our total. Not bad considering, we’ve scored the same amount of 1st half goals as our opponents. Both sides continue to score plenty late in the 1st half, so it might be worth risking a queue at the loos.
Our set-piece goals, although not as noticeable as last term, are still racking up nicely, contributing 25% of our total.
Here are some more details on our goals. Obviously Green’s magnificent scoring run has continued and he’s finally scoring with the consistency many predicted he would once he got going. The club have Green down as having 12, but, having watched it numerous times in slow-motion, the 2nd in the Checkatrade against Accrington was an own goal, sorry Greeny! I’m sure it’ll be 12 soon.
Rhead continues to prove doubters wrong and his high stats despite his relatively low minutes show just how dangerous he is. He currently averages a goal or an assist every 137 minutes, scary stuff for opponents. Harry Anderson’s star continues to rise as he demonstrates that far from being just a young exciting talent, he’s holding his first-team place and delivering goals and assists (averaging 1 of the 2 every 2 187 minutes).
Another interesting thing to note is that 26% of our goals have been scored on the left foot, impressive for a side heavy with right-footers. The prolific Green has already notched 4 on his weaker side.
The impact on the aforementioned Eardley and Anderson is perhaps best illustrated by the massive proportion of our goals originating from the right flank. Currently, 39% of our goals have been assisted from wide on the right, compared to just 5% from the left. This is certainly an issue City are looking to address, bringing in the likes of Rowe and Williams and experimenting with Anderson switching wings.
Danny and Nicky’s “special relationship” with Alex Woodyard remains as strong as ever and Danny wasn’t kidding about preferring to have him in his teams. Woody’s incredible battery continues to be pushed to the max with him playing an amazing amount of minutes thus far. The importance of Eardley and Bostwick are also clear with only them even in the range of Woodyard. Rhead continues to be carefully managed, averaging 59 minutes per appearance which results in his low standing on this ranking. Another player of interest in this ranking is Ollie Palmer who, despite holding a minutes percentage of just 41%, rightly pointed out in his post-Newport interview that he’s made 36 appearances, which is the most of any player!
The most frequent offenders aren’t really too surprising, with our more ‘combative’ players racking up their fair share of cards. As demonstrated against Newport County, Ollie Palmer’s gameplan seems to be: come on, grab a goal, get booked. As long as he keeps scoring, I don’t really mind that.
This chart shows how frequently we score when a certain player is on the pitch. Obviously, Ellis Chapman’s appearance at the top of the table, exciting a talent as he is, is a tad misleading, as he’s only played those 33 minutes. The impact of additions Frecklington and Rowe is clear to see, as is the fact that we’re much more dangerous with Anderson charging at full-backs. We can also see the impact that Whitehouse and Palmer can have, when used correctly, to help us grab goals.
As with Chapman previously, Stewart’s appearance at the top of this chart is slightly misleading, having been mostly restricted to Checkatrade action. However, we can see the steadying impact of Neal Eardley and that Rhead helps us to be defensively solid, as well as a threat on the front foot.
Our most-played back four remains the same, however, with half of it now departed that will surely change before the season’s out. While he’s only played 84 minutes, James Wilson has certainly impressed, and we’re yet to ship any with him in the side.
Some of the thing written and said about Farman this season have been unfair. He is a fine goalkeeper whose knack for one-on-ones and reflex saves earned us plenty of points both last season and this time out. However, Josh Vickers has had a tremendous season so far, and I hope he makes a speedy recovery from his injury. Farms now has the perfect opportunity to stake his claim to be the first choice and prove his detractors wrong. However, according to the stats, Vickers has been the better ‘keeper so far.
As seen against Accrington, one of Farman’s weaknesses has been dealing with shots from range. With him in net, we’ve conceded 5 from outside the box, compared to 2 with Vickers between the sticks. This might well be something opposing managers have picked up on, with opposition players opting to shoot more often with Farman in goal, and, unfortunately, they’ve been successful more frequently.