So the first ten games have been and gone. It was generally thought when the fixture list was announced that City had been handed a tough start to the season. But were we right? Was it actually a difficult start in hindsight?
Time to crunch some numbers.
You know the method by now: take each team in turn and add up the current league position of every side they have played this season, divided by the number of games played. This calculation produces the average league position of each opponent, home and away.
For example, if you have played the teams in 6th and 10th at home, you have an average home opponent score of 8.00.
The lower the average score, the harder your fixtures have been. Therefore the teams at the top of the following three tables have had the toughest fixtures, those at the bottom the easiest.
? If your team is near the bottom of both the League Two table and the OVERALL table below, start worrying – it means you are struggling despite having had an easy set of fixtures.
? Conversely, if your team is near the top of both, a good season may well be in the offing because you have done well from a challenging set of fixtures.
? However, if you are high in the League Two table but low in these three tables, are you only doing well because your fixtures have been kind?
? And the opposite could be true: if you are in the lower reaches of League Two but high in these tables, your league position should improve once the easier fixtures come along.
? Therefore Lincoln have had the third most difficult set of fixtures in League Two. On that basis, 12th place after ten games is not at all bad.
? The table suggests that Stevenage, Luton and Accrington may be in false positions and may slip down the table once the tougher fixtures kick in.
? Mansfield may be disappointed to be only 9th in League Two with the fixtures they have had, especially given the amount of money exiting the Call Girl Stadium in weekly wages.
? Conversely, Morecambe have had a horrendous start in terms of fixtures and may well be in a false position near the bottom of the League Two table. Chesterfield, Carlisle and Cheltenham have also had tough starts and may have better times ahead.
? Supporters of Crewe, Yeovil, Colchester and Forest Green should be very afraid: your teams are near the foot of League Two despite relatively straightforward starts.
Let’s split the numbers between home and away fixtures now.
Again, the clubs at the top have had the hardest fixtures.
? Lincoln have managed just two wins from a relatively easy set of fixtures – an opportunity missed?
? Luton have played 3 of the bottom 4 at home.
? Barnet have played 3 of the top 6 at home.
? Of the teams at the top, Luton, Accrington, Stevenage, Newport and Notts County have had it relatively easy at home.
? Colchester are fourth bottom of League Two despite having had a good set of home fixtures.
And now for the AWAYS; remember the teams at the top have had the hardest fixtures:
? So the Imps have had the hardest away fixtures in League Two, despite having played Forest Green (24th). They have played 4 of the top 8 away including the top 2.
? Stevenage and Accrington have had relatively easy away fixtures as well as home – they would both appear to be in a false position.
? Poor Morecambe have had the hardest home fixtures and the second hardest away.
None of this may actually amount to very much of course, and you never know what lies ahead. However, these numbers may explain why some teams have made better starts than others, and why some may be languishing. Who might be in a false position? More importantly, it gives us an idea of which sides may start to climb the table once they reach clearer waters in the fixture list; and perhaps an indication of who might slip in the opposite direction once their waters start to muddy.
— Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) 28 September 2017