Wednesday, 3 August 2016

What to Expect from the Relegated Premier League Strikers.

The Championship helps to kick off the English domestic club season on Friday.

For the lost souls of Norwich and Newcastle, second tier football will not quite be the culture shock awaiting Aston Villa, a Premier League side since Day One.

A reunion with cross city rivals, Birmingham will be scant compensation for missing out on trips to the Emirates or Old Trafford for the first time in 24 years.

At least the presence of the big three will ensure that upwardly mobile, Burton Albion finally fill their 7,000 capacity stadium for the first time since their non league days.

Just as promotion to the Premier League heralds a season of reduced matchday expectations, fewer goals scored and more conceded, a trip to the Championship, on average improves a sides attacking and defensive bottom lines.

The arrival of unfamiliar opponents promises a more satisfactory conclusion come fulltime.

Taking a lesson from recent history, Burnley, Hull and QPR failed to retain their Premier League status in 2014/15.

The latter improved the rate at which they scored and conceded goals subsequently in the Championship, while Burnley, as champions and Hull via the playoffs returned to the top flight at the first time of asking.

34 players who had at least one attempt on goal in the Premier League of 2014/15 for the three relegated teams also tried their luck with the same sides in the Championship three months later.

As a group they found the Championship a more rewarding environment to showcase their goal scoring skills.

An attempt made in the Championship, once the shot location and type was accounted for was more likely to result in a goal and was less likely to be blocked compared to their experience in the top flight.

As a group, these loyal retainers increased their non penalty shot volume per 90 from 1.27 in the Premier League to 1.39 in the Championship and their expected goals per shot also rose from 0.07 to 0.1.

22 of the 34 players took more attempts per 90 in the Championship than they had in the Premier League, 24 had a higher expected goals per 90 and 20 ticked both boxes.

26 of the 34 turned probabilistic improvement into actual gains by scoring at non penalty goal rates/90 that were as good or better than their returns in the Premier League a season before,

And the productivity leap was even more pronounced if we look at only attackers and midfielders.

So supporters of the three relegated Premier League teams may rue upcoming life in the second tier, but they should be compensated with more excitement at the attacking end of the field. And this increased firepower from players who struggled in the Premier League is one reason why it is a shade of odds on that one of the three returns immediately as champions.

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