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Two points per game. Will it be enough?


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Will two points per game be enough to get a top two place at the end of the season? 
Apologies for the lengthy post. I was jotting down a few thoughts and it turned into an essay. Apologies too for any data/mathematical error that I’m sure someone will spot. Hopefully, any such errors won’t affect the conclusion.


Nearly a quarter of the season gone and 5 teams still have 2ppg or more. Can they all keep it up for the season?

Looking at the current league table it looks like the top 8 might be starting to break away from the rest. Ok, Accrington are only a point behind Derby in 8th but have played a game more. Accrington, Cambridge, Exeter, Shrewsbury occupy 9th to 12th. You’d expect these teams to fade as squad depth becomes more important. So maybe there is a mini league of 8 that we need to win.

The usual view is that you should beat the teams around you: the six pointers, but I often look back at the Burnley team of a few seasons ago. A decent, but not exceptional, team won promotion on the back of beating, home and away, every team in the bottom half (24 wins). Basically, they beat the teams they were expected to beat, no shocks or bad days at the office and that allowed for a few losses in the six pointers. Looking back to last season, it was these types of games, against teams in the bottom half, that cost us promotion: draws at Cheltenham, Wimbledon, etc. So in our mini league of 8, it’s how well we do against the bottom 16 that reduces (or increases) the pressure in the 6 pointers.

So how well are we doing against bottom 16 teams? Played 6 won 6. Good start, but it got me to thinking how well are the other teams doing? That led me to produce two different tables: results v bottom 16 and results against top 8.

It’s not just Wednesday that are doing well against the bottom teams. There seems to be a gulf between the top 8 and the rest with an average of 2.43 pgg earned. This backs up the argument that the top 8 are a class apart. As you’d expect, the ppg against the top 8 is much lower (both sides can’t win). That said, Plymouth apart, teams are only getting about 1ppg. It’s all pretty even - almost half the games are draws compared to a quarter for the league as a whole.

Table versus bottom 16

Team. Played W-D-L-Pts

Ply.            5.     3-0-2-6

Ips.            6.     6-0-0-18

Wed.          6.    6-0-0-18 

Por.            6.     5-1-0-16

Bar.            7.     5-1-1-16

Bol.            6.     5-1-0-16

Pet.            6.     5-0-1-15

Der.            7.     3-2-2-11

Total.        49.   38-5-6-119 @2.43ppg

Table versus top 8

Team. Played W-D-L-Pts

Ply.            6.     5-1-0-16

Ips.            5.     1-3-1-6

Wed.         5.     1-2-2-5

Por.           4.      1-2-1-5

Bar.           4.      1-1-2-4

Bol.           4.      1-1-2-4

Pet.           5.      1-0-4-3

Der.           3.      2-0-1-6

Total.       36.   13-10-13-49 @ 1.36ppg (excluding Plymouth it’s 1.1ppg)

Note that Plymouth seem to be a bit of an outlier in both tables. Very good against the top sides, but mediocre against the rest, albeit they’ve only played 5 games against lower sides. This seems to adversely impact their season projection.

Taking ppg against top 8 and projecting to 14 games, and the ppg v the rest to 32 games gives an end of season table as below:

Season Projections based on current ppg.

Team. ppg top 8 + ppg bottom 16 = Total points

Ips.        16.8.       +         96.             =    112.8

Wed.      14.         +.        96.              =   110

Por.       17.5.        +.       85.33          =   102.83

Bol.        14.         +.       85.33.          =    99.33

Pet.      17.5.        +.        80.               =    97.5

Bar.       14.          +.       73.14.           =    87.14

Der.       28.         +.       50.29.           =   78.29   

Ply.      37.33        +        38.4.           =    75.73

Now I’m not suggesting that Wednesday will finish on 110 points, nor that there will be three teams finishing above 100 points. But what I do think is evident is that there is a significant gap between the top 8 and the rest such that if those top 8 play to their ability, without taking games for granted etc, then they should continue to win the majority of those 32 games. As we saw yesterday, dodgy pitches are a great leveller and as we get into Dec/Jan pitches will only get worse, but this is balanced by the strength of the top 8 squads which can manage the long winter slog much better. 

So, 92 points, will that to be enough to guarantee automatic promotion? I think not.

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That is a really well constructed and interesting look at the season so far.

I can see where you're coming from, but I suspect it's too early in the season to be extrapolating results, as you've already alluded to. I understand (waiting to be proved wrong now) that no-one has failed to achieve automatic promotion from L1 with a points total of 92 before, so I would suggest it's unlikely to happen this season too.

My thoughts are that teams such as Bolton, Pompey, Derby and Plymouth don't have the quality in depth that the likes of us and Ipswich have and will drop unexpected points as a result of injury and fatigue over the course of the season. It'll be interesting to watch though.

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I’m inclined to agree with the above.  I’m seeing our main promotion rivals as Ipswich, Peterborough and our six fingered cousins from up the A61.  In answer to the OP, yes I think 92 will be enough, but we should be aiming for 100 anyway.

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Currently, the top eight have won 38 out of 49 games played against the bottom 16. About 75%. This suggests (doesn’t prove, but suggests) there may well be a gulf in quality between these two groups.

When the season gets tough with heavy pitches and two games a week some, if not all, of the top eight will have their squad depth tested. But so will the teams with the smaller squads outside the top 16. 

If, and stress the if, there is a significant margin between the top 8 and the rest then even a weakened Bolton / Barnsley etc ought to win their games against the lower teams. There’s only precedent and the levelling effect of muddy pitches, to suggest that the current 75% average win rate won’t continue. Even if half the teams fall away that leaves four teams picking up, on average, 24 wins, plus any draws. It’s not a lot further to the 92 point mark: to be made up with results against the “weakened” top eight sides.

On the too early to extrapolate point. That always the case, even after, say, 35 games, it’s a bit speculative. But perhaps reassessing after the next seven games (Plymouth plus 6 from the rest - not sure of other teams’ fixtures) it’ll be more meaningful. Can we pick up six wins in a row between Plymouth and Derby? 
[NB: I’m ruling out wins at neither Plymouth nor Derby.]

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This is all going to hinge on size of squad and luck. Wednesday and Ipswich have got big squads and lots of coverage. The rest have got strong 11’s but maybe not strength in depth. So if any of those other teams pick up a couple of injuries, then it becomes a taller order.

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Basing this hypothetical question on the original post:

If Wednesday finished second on 110 pts, would you be disappointed not to win the league? Or would the fact that automatic promotion had been achieved mean you couldn't actually give two shiny shites?

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5 hours ago, HoylandOwl said:

Be as your username suggests, smile and be happy. 

I’m very happy at the moment mate. Best start in 30 odd years 3rd in the table. Scoring goals. Weather will play its part we’ve shown we can grind out a win on a ploughed field. Still room for improvement 🙌🙌🙌🙌 

Wednesdays going up bro 

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On 07/10/2022 at 18:13, HappyOwl said:

I’m very happy at the moment mate. Best start in 30 odd years 3rd in the table. Scoring goals. Weather will play its part we’ve shown we can grind out a win on a ploughed field. Still room for improvement 🙌🙌🙌🙌 

Wednesdays going up bro 

Agree with all of that apart from the use of “bro”. 

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