Sunday, 31 July 2011

Countdown to the big kick off starts here

With less than 7 days to the opening round of English League football matches its time to focus on the opening fixtures to see if any matches are statistically a good thing to bet on.

For me, preseason friendlies don't offer much in the way of form, as managers swap players around, use different systems and generally use the games to increase the fitness of the staff. Therefore there is no real form to go on for the first couple of weeks of the season so instead I look to the previous performance of teams and gauge whether a certain pattern will continue.

In the English Championship we have Reading, the losing finalists in the play offs. Reading start off against Millwall at home and will be looking for a fast start to the season following their loss to Swansea at Wembley. The 2 sides have played 5 times at Reading in recent history with Reading winning every time. In the reverse fixture Reading have only lost once, so from 10 games 1 defeat for Reading.

Last season Reading were surprisingly turned over by Scunthorpe at home on the opening day, whereas Millwall got a flyer with a 0-3 win at Bristol City.

Looking at other losing play off finalists we see the following

YearHome TeamAway TeamScore
2010CardiffSheffield United(PL)1-1
2009MiddlesboroughSheffield United(PL)0-0
2008BlackpoolBristol City(PL)0-1
2004LeicesterWest Ham United(PL)0-0
2003Sheffield United (PL)Gillingham0-0
2002Norwich City (PL)Grimsby0-0

The table shows us that only West Brom have lost on the opening day after losing the play off final in the championship. This is a reasonable form guide and suggests that these sides are able to keep the core of the team together from that defeat. We see a lot of draws in this sequence however given Readings fine form against Millwall and no worrying sequence for losing play off finalists I will be including Reading in my list for next Saturday.

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