Middlesbrough Performance Review

Hello welcome to the next blog on this blog. If this is our first time here then please have a read of all the other blogs on here and let me know your thoughts anything I havent spotted or things you want looked at. Today we are going to look at the performances of the Middlesbrough first team throughout the season.

The data used for this I have used the rating each player gets on whoscored.com. Overall it was a season to forget for Middlesbrough. Ahead of the season the chairman had promised they would smash the league and £40 million spent in the transfer market seemed to suggest that could be possible. However they ended up 25 points behind winners Wolves and easily got knocked out by Aston Villa in the play off semi final. The idea here is to look at performances over the full season look at if you can see if the change of managers had an effect, did performances improve? Also which areas of the team generally performed well which areas didn’t which might provide insight where the team could be improved in the transfer market.

season perf

Above you can see box plots for each league game of the season including the play offs. Generally the team played better in the wins then defeats. Hows that for an earth shattering conclusion! What is interesting is the team had two managers during the season and it does look like under Tony Pulis the performances were more consistent, Lets look at this in more detail…..

density plot

Now lets look at performances under both managers. The density plot above shows there really wasn’t much difference. The players generally performed at the same level under both managers however Pulis seemed to be able to get more when it comes to ratings above 8.

players

25 different players started a game for the team this season with one player the clear outstanding performer. Adama Traore. However Traore also has the largest spread of performances showing he can be an inconsistent performer. Also it seems generally attacking players are more consistent performers. What will be disappointing is Ben Gibson seems to be overall the worst performing defender in the team. In midfield It looks pretty close between Adam Clayton and Jonny Howson for the best median perofrmances however clayton looks to be much more consistent.

Overall its interesting to review the the players performances over the season. It could be interesting to further stretch this to look at other teams or look at previous seasons for specific players. Also it could be further drilled down into home and away performances. Let me know your thoughts or if you have any questions really would like to hear from you.

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Should Middlesbrough Sack Monk?

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.

middlesbrough Trend

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.