I thought a comparison of NUFC's point total to the 'ghosts of Championship seasons past' might lend perspective to how elite (or not) their results are. Clearly, Newcastle's only competition for promotion are the other teams in the league this year but how do they compare to past teams at the same point in the season? If history tends to repeat itself, what might history reveal about our future? As we progress through the season, how special are they performing in this perspective view? Are we at all blinded by our gladness that the past few years of disappointment seem to be in the past?
This analysis reviews the performance of the eventual top six teams in the Championship from the past three years week-by-week through their entire season as well as NUFC's performance back in the 2009-10 season (102 points). As a refresher, the list of other teams includes:
* 2013-14 - Leicester (102), Burnley (93), Derby (85), QPR (80), Wigan (73), Brighton (72)
* 2014-15 - Bournemouth (90), Watford (89), Norwich (86), MIddlesbrough (85), Brentford (78), Ipswich (78)
* 2015-16 - Burnley (93), Middlesbrough (89), Brighton (89), Hull (83), Derby (78), Sheffield Wednesday (74)
The Update (through 1-Oct)
NUFC's performance is historically solid. 22 points through 11 games would place NUFC at the top of the table in the 2014-15 season by one point over both Watford and Norwich, the eventual second and third place finishers respectively. Brighton (7-4-0) had 25 points at this stage last year and QPR (8-3-0) had an impressive 27 points through 11 games in 2013-14. Interestingly, all of the eventual winners in each of the past three Championship seasons were a minimum of four points off the lead through 11 games so a fast start to the season has not recently been a recipe to winning the league. (Anyone think Huddersfield is going to buck that trend?) 2014-15 champions Bournemouth (4-3-4) were six points down the table two years ago with only 15 points to their credit.
The 2009-10 NUFC team (7-3-1) had 24 points through eleven but lost games number 12 and 13. They did earn points in every game the balance of the season except one which was a loss to Derby Co. in the 29th game they played. That record would be a huge achievement to duplicate.
Below is a link to a line chart showing the top six teams from last season compared to this season's NUFC along with the trend of the 2009-10 Magpies. Full-season point totals are beside the team's name. (I'm learning the SBNation technology... my apologies until I can figure out how to actually embed the image of the table so it may be visible directly.)
22 points through 11 games simply enough calculates to a 2.0 points/game average. If offered today, would you take 92 points at year end? Do you find any surprises in the data? What are your predictions for the end-of-the-season point total now that it is essentially one quarter of the games have been played?