The quickest, simplest and most obvious way of answering this question is to look at City’s points tally at the same point last year and compare it with this year.
The comparison shows that City are just 4 points better this season than last, right? Wrong.
Well, wrong (ish).
Last year I read an article by Simon Gleave (@simongleave) of Infostrada in which he developed a different way of looking at, and quantifying, how teams have improved (or not, as the case may be) year on year. He called it the ISG coefficient (his post here).
So how does it work? Simply by comparing results from last year against the same fixture this year. Fixtures that involved teams who were promoted or relegated are replaced by the team that took their place. For example, the top promoted team is replaced by the top relegated team, so Reading v Hull City becomes Bolton v Hull City and so on.
Rather than apply the ISG coefficient to the whole of the Championship, which would take me and my ZX Spectrum weeks to do, I have only applied it to Hull City, looking for some indication that the Championship table doesn’t tell the whole story.
The results paint a positive picture.
ISG coefficient – Hull City
The figures show that, whilst City have improved by 4 points in the Championship table, they are actually 12 points better than the corresponding games of last season. They have also scored 12 more goals, suggesting a more attacking style but have also conceded 4 more than the same games last term. Interestingly, 5 of the 12 points were a gift from Leeds.
Some more headline figures:
- City’s biggest points gains have come as a result of turning 7 of last years draws into wins this time around (+14 points)
- Only 2 games have seen last years losses result in draws this term (+2)
- City have managed on only 2 occasions to turn losses from last season into wins this year (+6)
- 4 games have seen City drop points v the corresponding game last year (-10), with Peterborough taking 5 of these alone.
- Thus the answer to the question “Are City better than last season?” is, yes, but actually by quite a bit more than is instantly visible.
Finally, to predict the total Hull City total points tally at the end of the season we simply take all of City’s remaining games and assign the same results as the corresponding game last season.
From this point to the end of last season, using corresponding fixtures, City picked up a further 30 points. This would see us end the season with a total of 80 points.
Will it be enough?
As an addendum, and using some licence, we can gently (grossly) manipulate the final tally of 80 points. Currently, using the ISG coefficient, City are approximately 31% ahead of last season. By applying the same level of increase, weighted over 18 weeks (19.8%), we can assume that City will get the 30 points plus a 6 point increase.
86 points sounds much better….