Here, for the eighth month in a row on this Blog, is a screenshot taken from the BBC website showing Leeds United leading the way in the Championship, the second tier of English football.
As noted almost every month throughout the last two football seasons, I have followed Leeds since childhood. I did not expect them to return to the top of the table so soon after losing the first two games in February (1-0 at home to Wigan, 2-0 at Nottingham Forest). At the next game, away at Brentford, Leeds conceded in the first half thanks to a goalkeeping error. Brentford fans started singing, “Leeds, Leeds are falling apart, again” to the tune of Joy Division’s “Love will tear us apart”. Another goalkeeping error gave Leeds an equalizer and 1-1 was the final score.
Since then, Leeds have won five consecutive games without conceding. West Brom, who were seven points clear at the top after beating Preston on 25 February, have only managed one point from their last two games and are now in second place. The four teams in the play-off places have all dropped points in recent games so Leeds sit seven points clear of Fulham (third) and 11 points clear of Brentford (fourth).
Last season I wrote about the importance of averaging at least 2 points per game. In this piece from February 2019 I noted that none of the teams in the Championship were managing this, and I showed how many successive games each team would have to win to do so. It’s true again right now and with 9 games to go only Leeds and West Brom are capable of averaging 2 points per game over the course of the 46-match season. Even if Fulham (in third place) were to win their remaining games they would finish on 91 points, just short of 2 points per game.
Not for the first time, speculation such as this has got me looking back over previous seasons to check for patterns and precedents. In this case it’s all related to teams averaging 2 points per game in the Championship, and covers the last 20 completed seasons. Here are the questions that crossed my mind, along with the answers.
- Has a team ever averaged 2 points per game and finished outside the top two? No.
- In how many of the last 20 seasons have both of the top two teams averaged at least 2 points per game? 4 (2017, 2014, 2006, 2003)
- In how many of the last 20 seasons have neither of the top two teams averaged at least 2 points per game? 8 (2015, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2000)
- In how many of the last 20 seasons has the top team been the only one to average at least 2 points per game? 8 (2019, 2018, 2016, 2010, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2001)
Unsurprisingly, I used a spreadsheet to analyse the data and here’s a sample to show the top two teams in each of the last 20 seasons, their points totals, and how many points per game they averaged.
|Final Position||Team||Played||Points||Points Per Game|