Middlesbrough started the season as the undisputed favourites to win the Sky bet Championship and gain promotion back to the Premier League. This came from the chairman’s publicly stated ambition to “smash the league” and a total transfer spend of over £40 million (although net transfer spend was only around £15 million). There was high hopes across Teesside that the newly put together team would be able to do just that. However things haven’t turned out anything like that for the Teessiders. In the wake of Saturday nights chastening defeat to Bristol City the team are now 14 points behind Cardiff City and the second automatic promotion place.
I want to try and cut through the opinion and look at one graph which probably wont give a definitive answer on the question above however will inform some views on how Steve Gibson should be thinking.
The graph above plots the points per game. For reference I have added the points per game on average required to avoid relegation, reach the playoff and achieve automatic promotion. On that I have plotted the actual points per game and the expected points per game, which is the critical piece of information. The expected points if derived from expected goals for each match and I have included it as that value will give an understanding of the luck. If a team was outperforming expected points then they could be termed as lucky and vice versa. Reviewing the trend for Middlesbrough this has unfortunately not being the case. Their actual points is within 2 points of the expected points therefore i think they are exactly were there performances deserve to be. This is bad news for Gary Monk as this performance is far below what i expect the minimum expectation was for the season, automatic promotion. I wouldn’t say this definitely means he should sacked however this is not good statistics. I will do further posts over the week to dissect if there are any clear reasons why.