With 22 games played in the National League and the Dover situation not withstanding we are essentially at the midway point for Notts in their quest for promotion out of the back water of non league football.
At the time of writing Notts are sat 6th in the league on 38 points and have earned a place in the FA Trophy semi finals where they will face Isthmian Premier League opposition in the form of Hornchurch FC.
A quick look at how things stand after all the games played so far this season:
Notts have played a total of 26 games and have a win% of just under 54% for those games.
To try and assist with some meaningful analysis below I have split the league games between the first and second 11 games played.
Notts appear to have fared slightly better in the first 11 games compared to the last 11 notably in the goals scored columns where the numbers drop considerably both for and against. This is something we will take a closer look at
A quick scan of the xG data below starts to open up some questions when comparing the two segments of matches.
What we can see from the totals in the table above is that Notts have scored 2.23 more goals than expected for the season so far and conceded 3.60 goals less than expected.
More importantly this translates to Notts actually securing nearly 5.5 more points than expected at this stage based on performances.
During the first 11 matches Notts were pretty much performing as expected, however the last 11 matches show that the expected goals against (xGA) is actually double the actual goals conceded (aGA). On one hand that suggests the defence has performed extremely well, but on the other hand Notts have been inviting too much pressure from the opposition which could be problematic if allowed to continue.
We can also see that only 13.41 points were expected for that period based on performances yet 18 points were accumulated. This would suggest that Notts have been over achieving in these games and again questions the sustainability of those results and points.
One of the features of Notts' early games was the number of chances being created. During the first 11 game segment Notts were averaging over 14 attempts on goal per game. This resulted in a goal every 8.66 attempts, averaging 1.67 goals per game.
The second 11 game segment sees a decline in chances created dropping to just over 10 attempts per game but requiring 11.60 attempts per game to score which results in a goals per game average of just 0.91.
To put that into context its a loss of just over 8 goals during that second period.
Ultimately this reinforces the fact that for results to be sustainable you have to be creating enough goal scoring opportunities.
The graph below shows goal attempts and goals scored per game for the first 22 games played in the league.
Moving onto players now and as it stands Michael Doyle has played the most minutes and is the first player to clear the 2000 minutes marker.
Enzio Boldewijn currently has the most appearances having played in every game except for the FA Trophy win over Oxford City.
As expected Kyle Wootton is currently the leading scorer with 13 goals and 4 assists to his name so far this season.
Elisha Sam and Jimmy Knowles (pictured) both have 6 goals to their name with the latter being the most efficient goal contributor being involved in a goal every 88 minutes played.
The player table below provides an overview of all the key stats. You can view an interactive version of the table here where you can view individual players or sort values by column.
At the beginning of the season I created a ratings model for the players. This takes into consideration a wide range of factors based around quantifiable statistics. Additionally I added another layer of ratings based on fantasy league points so players are boosting or reducing their ratings based on goals, assists, clean sheets and cautions etc.
As it stands Kyle Wootton heads the ratings table closely followed by Connell Rawlinson and Dion Kelly-Evans. The great thing for me is that these ratings are probably quite close to how we us fans would see things.
Interestingly if you break the ratings down to minutes played Jimmy Knowles tops the table closely followed by Elisha Sam.
Enzio Boldewijn has the most goal assist with 5 and he and Ruben Rodrigues have featured in the most clean sheets both with 11 to their names.
Kyle Wootton and Jake Reeves both have the most yellow cards with 4 each. Sam Slocombe, Ben Turner and Tyreace Palmer all have 1 red card each.
Based on 3 points for a win and 1 point for a draw Dion Kelly-Evans has the highest PPG of those that have appeared in 5 or more games in all competitions with 2.10 points per game.
Looking ahead we have a very interesting second half of the season to look forward to. The rapid decline in results for Torquay just go to show how temporary form can be at this level.
Sutton United have taken over from Torquay as the team to catch however looking at their xG data they also appear to have been over achieving.
Their last 10 games they have a 60% win percentage but based on performances they were only expected to win 48% of those games. It's worth noting that in 3 of their last 10 games they played against teams with 10 men.
Sutton have scored nearly 5 more goals than expected in those games again suggesting that like Torquay their current form might not be sustainable. There is also the fact that they rely on goals from midfielder Harry Beautyman, maintaining his scoring record from the middle of the park won't be easy.
I'm currently analysing data for all the leagues front runners, including a resurgent Chesterfield who appear to be coming up on the rails and I will be posting a detailed report on all of the title/promotion contenders over the next few days which will hopefully provide some indication of how the remainder of the season might pan out.
From a Notts perspective the big issue is how they overcome the current lack of creativity. Yes there are a few injury problems and yes there is a need to be braver when playing teams that apply the high press. Fingers crossed this is Notts' bad patch and we are on the verge of getting back on track, however if we don't start improving our "shots for" stats soon these reports are not going to make for very enjoyable reading during the rest of the season.
As always, thanks for reading. Halifax Preview will be up next.
Until then . . .