The astonishing statistics that show Town are on the right track

The astonishing statistics that show Town are on the right track

It’s 11 days until Ipswich Town are back in League One action. STUART WATSON takes the chance to reflect on the Blues’ start to the campaign.

East Anglian Daily Times: Kieran McKenna says now is a good time to reflect on Ipswich Town's start to the season.Kieran McKenna says now is a good time to reflect on Ipswich Town’s start to the season. (Image: PAGEPIX LTD 07976935738)

TIME TO REFLECT

After last Tuesday night’s 3-2 win at Port Vale, Blues boss Kieran McKenna was asked how he assessed his side’s first third of the campaign.

“I haven’t spent too much time reflecting,” he replied.

“It’s all eyes and all guns blazing for Charton on Saturday now.

“November is a bit different with at least one, hopefully two FA Cup games, plus an EFL (Trophy) tie and not so many league games.

“So I think when we get through Saturday it will be a chance to look back on the first period of the season.”

So let’s do just that….

East Anglian Daily Times: Marcus Harness celebrates during the 3-2 home win against Portsmouth.Marcus Harness celebrates during the 3-2 home win against Portsmouth. (Image: (C) Copyright Stephen Waller)

THE BASICS

Town are 17 games into their 46-game League One campaign (37%).

They are second in the table with 11 wins, four draws and two losses.

The Blues are four points behind leaders Plymouth, three ahead of third-placed Sheffield Wednesday and 12 ahead of seventh-placed Derby.

McKenna’s men crashed out of the Carabao Cup at the first hurdle, losing 1-0 at home to League Two strugglers Colchester United, but have progressed to the Papa John’s Trophy knockout stages and also have the FA Cup to look forward to.

There are at least 31 games left in all competitions, but that number could get closer to 40 depending on cup progress/replays.

East Anglian Daily Times: Ipswich Town skipper Sam Morsy and manager Kieran McKenna, pictured after the 2-1 win at Morecambe.Ipswich Town skipper Sam Morsy and manager Kieran McKenna, pictured after the 2-1 win at Morecambe. (Image: Archant)

COMPARISON OF RECENT HISTORY

How does 37 points on the board at this stage compare to previous seasons?

It represents an increase of 13 points on last season’s slow start (W6 D6 L5), is eight points higher than the start to 2020/21 (W9 D2 L6) and is two points ahead of what Paul Lambert’s men had after a flying start to the campaign 19 /20 (W10 D5 L2).

MILES COVERED

Gone are long journeys to Accrington, Plymouth and Morecambe. Ipswich have already traveled 3,712 of their planned 8,359 miles for league matches this season (44%).

After the game at Exeter on November 19, Ipswich have no major trip until Bristol Rovers on Tuesday, February 14.

The cups can of course throw up some serious mileage and congestion on the fixtures, but as it stands there are only four midweek fixtures left on the calendar.

McKenna will relish the chance for some extra time on the practice field.

LIKE-FOR-SAME FIXTURES

Comparing fixtures from the previous campaign is not an exact science due to teams entering the division from top to bottom.

What I have done here is to match this season’s new League One boys to the club that had finished in the same Championship or League Two position a year earlier.

For example: Forest Green (League Two champions 2022) is the equivalent of Cheltenham Town (League Two champions 2021), while Barnsley (bottom of the Championship 2022) is the equivalent of Sheffield Wednesday (bottom of the Championship 2021).

To complete the set, Exeter = Cambridge, Bristol Rovers = Bolton, Port Vale = Morecambe, Peterborough = Wycombe and Derby = Rotherham.

East Anglian Daily Times: Tyreece John-Jules celebrates during Ipswich Town's 3-0 home win against Cambridge United.Tyreece John-Jules celebrates during Ipswich Town’s 3-0 home win against Cambridge United. (Image: Steve Waller)

It’s a far from perfect system, given that Cheltenham, Cambridge, Bolton, Morecambe, Wycombe and Sheffield Wednesday all remain in the division, but it gives us a system to judge Town’s progress season-on-season.

I will start. Ipswich are a staggering 28 points up with the above model. They have outscored 14 of the corresponding 17 games and gone behind in just one.

Here’s the breakdown:

Bolton (h): L 5-0 > D 1-1 = +1 pt.

Forest Green Rovers (a): L 2-1 (Cheltenham) > W 2-1 = +3 points.

MK Dons (h): D 2-2 > W 3-0 = +2 points.

Burton (a): L 2-1 > W 1-0 = +3 points.

Shrewsbury (a): D 1-1 > W 3-0 = +2 points.

Barnsley (h): D 1-1 (Sheff W) > D 2-2 = Same.

Accrington (a): L 2-1 > W 2-0 = +3 points.

Bristol Rovers (h): L 5-2 (Bolton) > W 2-0 = +3 points.

Sheff Weds (a): L 1-0 > D 2-2 = +1pt.

Plymouth (a): L 2-1 > L 2-1 = Same.

Portsmouth (h): D 0-0 > W 3-2 = +2 points.

Cambridge Utd (h): L 1-0 > W 3-0 = +3 points.

Morecambe (a): D 1-1 > W 2-1 = +2 points.

Lincoln (h): L 1-0 > W 2-0 = -3 points

Derby (h): L 1-0 (Rotherham) > W 1-0 = +3 points.

Port Vale (a): D 1-1 (Morecambe) > W 3-2 = +2 points.

Charlton (a): L 2-0 > D 4-4 = +1 point.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVNvtJEROqI

COMPARISON OF CLUB HISTORY

In terms of points (37), this is one of the best starts to a season in Ipswich Town’s entire history.

Here’s where the Blues team is, 17 league games in, during the club’s most iconic campaigns:

00/01: W9 D3 L5 Pts 30 (finished fifth in top-flight).

99/00: W8 D4 L5 Pts 28 (Second Division Playoff Winner).

98/99: W9 D5 L3 Pts 32 (Came third in second class).

91/92: W7 D7 L3 Pts 28 (Won second division title).

81/82: W11 D2 L4 Pts 35 (Came second in top-flight).

80/81: W10 D6 L1 Pts 36 (Came second in the top flight and won the UEFA Cup).

79/80: W6 D2 L9 Pts 20 (Came third in top-flight).

76/77: W11 D4 L2 Pts 37 (Came third in top class).

74/75: W9 D2 L6 Pts 29 (Came third in top-flight).

67/68: W8 D8 L1 Pts 32 (Second Class Champion).

61/62: W8 D3 L6 Pts 27 (Top-flight champions).

East Anglian Daily Times: Ipswich Town players celebrate Wes Burns winner against Portsmouth.Ipswich Town players celebrate Wes Burns winner against Portsmouth. (Image: (C) Copyright Stephen Waller)

ON TRACK?

Ipswich have averaged 2.18 points per game so far. Extrapolated over the course of a 46-game season that equates to 100 points – title-winning form.

For reference, averaging the last 10 fully completed seasons, here’s what it takes to finish in League One:

1st: 95 points, 2nd: 90 points, 3rd: 85 points, 4th: 79 points, 5th: 79 points, 6th: 74 points.

One way to look at it is that Town are already halfway to a play-off clinching overall with just a third of the season played. So a top six finish, which proved elusive in the first three seasons of League One football, already looks like a very good bet.

The top eight at this stage of last season finished as the top eight.

So McKenna was right last week when he said “the league table tells lies at this stage”.

There are usually one or two teams that move up the table in the second half of the campaign.

East Anglian Daily Times: Freddie Ladapo and Cameron Humphreys celebrate during Ipswich Town's 3-2 win at Port Vale.Freddie Ladapo and Cameron Humphreys celebrate during Ipswich Town’s 3-2 win at Port Vale. (Image: PAGEPIX LTD 07976935738)

A bigger concern is that recent history sounds a little cautious about Town’s chances of automatic promotion from here.

The last three seasons suggest that one of the top two tops is staying the course, while the other is fading away.

Plymouth were top at this stage of last season with 36 points. They finished seventh.

Lincoln were second at this stage of 2020/21 with 32 points. They finished fifth.

Ipswich were of course second at this stage of 2019/20. And they finished 11th.

Let’s hope Town are a team with staying power. There is certainly more than enough evidence – which part two of this piece will address – to believe that they might be.


#astonishing #statistics #show #Town #track

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