The Update (through 1-Nov)
NUFC's performance is unquestionably solid. 34 points through 15 games would place NUFC at the top of the table in any of the past three seasons in the Championship. Only Burnley in 2013-14 had a point total equal to this year's Newcastle. In that year, Burnley had gotten off to an incredible start garnering 32 of the first 39 points available. However, their star dimmed a bit as they only earned 4 of the next 15 and eventually ended the season second to Leicester. Things can change quickly but Newcastle's trend seems to be heading the other direction considering the run they are on and the comparative quality of the teams, at least on paper, that are immediately in front of them on the schedule. Newcastle appears primed to maintain if not increase the rate at which they are earning points as an average per game for the season.
This year's team is even ahead of the 2009-10 NUFC team (9-3-3) that had 30 points through 15 games. The prior squad 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 still be a huge achievement to duplicate but the current squad certainly are trending towards meeting or beating the 102 points the '09-'10 team ended the season earning.
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. It graphs the point totals between match number five of the season and fifteen. 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.)
34 points through 15 games calculates to a 2.27 points/game average. If offered today, I'm pretty sure we would all take the 104 points that this trends toward by 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 third of the games have been played?
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)