Championship GW3 Review

The midweek action of GW3 in the Championship was brought to end on Wednesday, and as expected, there were plenty of talking points. Using expected goals (xG), Infogol’s Analyst takes a look at the action, assessing performances and not just results. The Analyst will aim to paint a clearer picture of the week’s matches, including selecting a Team to Back for GW4.


Actual vs Expected Goal (xG) totals GW3 


GW3’s team to back, Cardiff, got the job done with a 2-0 win over Sheffield United, though this was the third most ‘unfair’ result of GW3. The expected goals suggest that the game should have been tighter with the fairness rating being low due to the small discrepancy between Cardiff and Sheffield United’s xG, with the most likely result being a 1-1 draw. Nonetheless, Cardiff extended their 100% record this season, and have the lowest expected goals against (xGA) of any team in the division.


Warnock gets one over his former employers


Millwall have been unlucky in both of their defeats this season, with their latest being a 4-3 loss to Ipswich. Mick McCarthy’s team scored a late winner to take the three points, but this was an ‘unfair’ result. Both teams created good chances in the match, but Millwall generated almost double the amount of xG Ipswich did, suggesting that either Ipswich were lucky, or Millwall aren’t as clinical, or both. The likely thing is that Millwall aren’t as clinical as expected, because it was a similar story against Nottingham Forest on the opening day, but sooner or later they will take some chances, so keep an eye on them.


Having been on the wrong end of an ‘unfair’ result in GW2, Barnsley found themselves on the right side of one. Their 2-1 home win over Nottingham Forest was the most ‘unfair’ result of the GameWeek, with a fairness rating of just 50.87. Barnsley had just a 9% chance of scoring two goals from the chances they created, so were extremely fortunate, but the most important thing for Paul Heckingbottom’s side was that they got their first points of the season.


Percentage chance of scoring (x) from chances created – Barnsley vs Nottingham Forest 


Norwich’s 2-0 win over QPR was a fortunate one as they didn’t create too many high-quality chances, while Wolves did well to get the three points against Hull, though that xG total includes a late Hull penalty.


Reading had to weather a late Aston Villa storm on their way to getting their first win of the season, mainly due to the Royals sitting back after going 2-0 up. Draws between Brentford and Bristol City (2-2) and Birmingham and Bolton (0-0) were both fair results as there was nothing to separate the teams, though Bristol City left it very late to make that the case.


Bobby Reid scored late to earn a point 


Middlesbrough and Derby were dominant throughout their matches against Burton and Preston which finished 2-0 and 1-0 respectively, creating plenty of chances while conceding few. The two fairest results of GW3 came from Yorkshire, with Sheffield Wednesday drawing with Sunderland (1-1) and Leeds (0-0) drawing at home to Fulham. Both matches were even contests, so a point all around was fair.


GW4 Team to BackSunderland


Sunderland looked very strong in their opening game against Derby, and have since picked up four points away at Norwich and Sheffield Wednesday. It’s a return that will please manager Simon Grayson, and Sunderland look a good price at 6/4 to beat a Leeds team who have struggled to create chances in recent matches.


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