With the exception of the looming Playoffs, the EFL is done and dusted for another season. For stats geeks, that means there is an opportunity to crunch the numbers and see if there is anything that we can learn from the 552 games played across the season.
The Championship is always tagged as exciting, but 138 games – around 25% of the total – had just one goal or no goals in the game. That’s a slight improvement on last season, but much of the load was carried by Norwich and West Brom piling in with 93 and 87 goals respectively respectively. Indeed, West Brom and Norwich were the great entertainers, with the 41% of the Baggies and 48% of the Canaries’ matches having at least four goals.
Of the top teams, Tony Pulis’ Middlesbrough may have been the most culpable for boring matches, failing to score in 30% of all games, part of the reason Pulis is feeling the pressure. 1-1 was the most frequent scoreline across the whole season, occurring 68 times, with a 1-0 home victory next on the list at 55 times. Still, there were some goal-fests, most notably the 5-5 draw between Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest in November.
While plaudits will be given to Norwich for winning the Championship with an impressive 94 points, they got off to a horrible start, winning just once in their first six games. Leeds saw the biggest downturn of any team, taking just 31 points and suffering 10 defeats since Boxing Day. Aston Villa were clearly the streakiest team in the Championship, reeling of 10 victories in a row in spring, after failing to win at all in February.
Backing the form team, Aston Villa, for the Playoffs? It might interest you that the 2/1 second favourites according to 888sport did not record a single victory over any side that finished in the Top 4 this season, something which will buoy semi-final opponents West Brom (9/2 to win the Playoffs) and favourites Leeds (37/20), neither of whom tasted defeat at the hands of Villa this season.
Down at the bottom end of the table, relegated Rotherham’s attack was reasonably potent (they outscored 7th place Middlesbrough) but the defence was the leakiest in the league with 83 conceded. Bottom club Ipswich recorded just five wins throughout the season, but they went through a remarkable period in February and March with six 1-1 draws in seven games. Using this bet calculator, we worked out the accumulative odds for that occurring were well over 20,000/1.
Teemu Pukki took the top scorer award with 29 goals (and an impressive nine assists), but he was not the most prolific striker in the Championship. Of all players who scored 10 or more goals in the Championship, Dwight Gayle (23 strikes for West Brom) was the most efficient, hitting the back of the net every 124 minutes. Pukki, meanwhile, took 132 minutes per goal. Birmingham’s Che Adams was the most accurate of strikers with 10+ goals, hitting an impressive 69% of his shots on target.
In total, 1473 goals were scored across the entire Championship season (excluding the Playoffs). That’s up from 1409 in 2017/18, and actually represents the highest total since the 1494 goals scored in the 2012/13 season. Hopefully that suggests we will see more in the way of goals and excitement in the 2019/20 EFL Championship season.