Getting to the Playoffs in 2018

Discussion in 'Fulham FC News and Notes' started by MicahMan, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2014
    Here’s a look at what we likely need to do in order to qualify for the playoffs. The assumption all of this is based on is that 75 points is typically enough to make the top six. While this isn’t always true, it happens often enough that it is a reasonable target.

    In the first half of the season we got 32 points with 8 wins, 8 draws, and 7 losses. To reach 75 points we’ll need to score 43 points in the second half of the season. That will require a significant improvement in our form. We’ll need 11 additional points and increase our points per match from 1.4 to 1.9. Interestingly, a 1.9 PPM is exactly what we did in the second half of last season. There are a couple ways to get there, but let’s say that a second half record of 12-7-4 will do the job.

    There are a few things that we can improve on in the second half to help reach this goal:

    1. Turn draws into wins, especially at home. This was the formula to our success last year. In both halves of last season Fulham had 5 losses. The difference was that we had four fewer draws and four more wins in the Spring of 2017. This season we’ve gotten far too many draws at home particularly against the top teams. We have not yet beaten a team at Craven Cottage that is currently ranked above us. Instead we’ve drawn 4 times and had 1 loss against those teams. To get to the playoffs we need to get wins against teams like that at home and keep our losses down. Ipswich happens to be our next home match and that is the kind of team we need to beat to have a realistic playoff shot. Other teams we should look to win against rather than draw are Aston Villa and Sheffield United. This is particularly important to help us climb the table since it allows us to close the distance with those teams in front of us.

    2. Stop losing to relegation teams on the road. Our away form has been pretty good, especially when we face teams ranked #2 (Fulham is 3-0 in those situations). We need to keep that kind of performance going, but we also need to stop blowing matches against teams in danger of relegation. In the first half of this season Fulham lost to the two weakest teams we faced on the road – Burton Albion and Sunderland. We need to get wins against their equivalents, Bolton and Birmingham City, when we visit them later this year.

    3. Score more at home. Our four wins at home so far were by just one goal; too close for comfort. We only have 13 goals at home while many teams above us are around 20. We could increase the number of goals by being more efficient with our shots or by improving set pieces. Fulham takes lots of shots, but way too many of them are off target. Fulham only gets ¼ of shots on target at home while getting 1/3 on target away. I don’t know why we can’t seem to find the target consistently at home, but we need to get better. Because we maintain a high amount of possession (second highest in the league) we get a fair number of set pieces, yet we’ve only converted those into 2 goals at home.

    As we go into the second half of the season those are the things I’ll be looking for to see if we still have hope of reaching the playoffs again. The win against Cardiff was a great start.
     
    #1
  2. nevzter

    nevzter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Location:
    A City by a Bay
    Thanks, MicahMan.
     
    #2
  3. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2011
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Good work Double M. But I think I can sum this thread up in three words: Win more matches.
     
    #3
    BarryWhite and encorespanish like this.
  4. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2014
    I wanted to revisit the outlook for the playoffs now that we've had a few matches since the halfway point. Of the three things I said Fulham needed to do, they've certainly accomplished #3: Score more at home. I guess all I had to do was ask? Since I wrote that we've scored 10 goals in our two home matches.

    We needed to average 1.9 Points Per Match in the last half of the season to get to the 75 point goal. So far in the last half we have a scorching pace of 2.6 PPM and now only need 1.6 PPM in remaining matches to reach 75. Given Fulham's great start to the last half there have been murmurs of possibly taking a shot at automatic promotion. I took a look at typical point totals for the second and third place teams each season since Fulham was promoted to see what a goal might be for automatic promotion. The max points needed for automatic promotion since 2001 was 93, the minimum 79, and the average 89. The max points for the team in 3rd place just outside of automatic promotion was 89, the minimum 75, and the average 85. The only season that a 3rd place team got 89 points automatic promotion was decided by goal differential (Brighton and Hove lost out to Middlesbrough in 2016). Every other time the 3rd place team finished with 87 points or less. So we can safely say that 88 points would be a good minimum goal for automatic promotion. In order for Fulham to reach 88 points they would need to have 2.38 PPM over the remaining matches. A record of 13W 4D and 1L would do it, but that would require a fairy-tail finish to the season. Despite our good start to the last half I think automatic promotion is probably out of our reach.

    We are in the middle of a stretch against some lower ranked opponents, but that can't last forever. In fact, starting on on Feb 17 we will face the 5 teams above us we have yet to play in 5 consecutive matches over 18 days: Aston Villa, Bristol City, Wolverhampton, Derby, and Sheffield United. No one has a better record over the last 8 matches than Fulham, so hopefully we can can continue building confidence heading into this difficult stretch and, at a minimum, be competitive with a number of teams likely to be in the playoffs.

    One final note, Fulham currently has 2 more points than last season after 28 matches.
     
    #4
  5. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2006
    Location:
    Walnut, CA
    Great stuff Micah!! Your point of the upcoming schedule starting mid-Feb really emphasizes the need to rack up points right now.
     
    #5
  6. dtowndough

    dtowndough Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2011
    Now's the time I start paying attention to every other game in action as well. Villa winning today moving them out of range in the next round of games. However, Bolton scraping to get out of the bottom against Bristol Friday could see FFC being able to jump to 5 with a win. Keep up with the amount of goals in previous matches and they could sneak into 4th. Looking forward to high blood pressure the next 4 months.
     
    #6
    encorespanish and MicahMan like this.
  7. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2014
    Same here! Sheffield Wednesday earning at draw at Middlesbrough was a pleasant surprise along with Derby only getting a draw at Millwall. We didn't get a Villa/Sheffield United draw like we wanted, but a Sheffield loss still allowed us to keep 6th place. On a whole it was a very good day for Fulham yesterday.
     
    #7
    encorespanish likes this.
  8. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2011
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    #8
  9. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2014
    Let's also not forget that Aston Villa is on a six-game win streak that includes victories over Middlesbrough, Bristol City, and Sheffield United.
     
    #9
  10. astroevan

    astroevan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2013
    Location:
    South Carolina
    After this week's encounter at Bolton, things get a bit more serious. We should really get an idea of where this team will end up with 6 straight matches against teams currently in the top 8 followed by a London derby against QPR before the March international break.
    Aston Villa - 3
    @ Bristol City - 6
    Wolves - 1
    @ Derby - 2
    Sheffield U - 8
    @ Preston - 7​

    COYW!
     
    #10
  11. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2011
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Going to be a tough haul from here on out, no question, with two of the teams we're chasing in equally, or even better form than us. Just going to make it all the more sweet if we can pull it off. Personally, I'm not ready to throw in the towel on 1st or 2nd. Yes, it looks daunting at the moment, but I gotta believe we're due...hell, OVERDUE, for some good luck. Making the playoffs is better than the alternative, but it's truly a crap shoot running that gauntlet, no matter who you play. Look where Reading are at the moment. And it kills me to see Newcastle and Huddersfield on TV when we owned them last season. Like I said, we're overdue for some good footy luck. I love our cast, our boss, and just the way things are going right now. There's a lot of soccer left. Let's enjoy the hell out of it, shall we?
     
    #11
  12. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2014
    I can't sleep because I'm too excited after the Eagles win so I've turned my energy to data!

    Fulham does have a tough three week span from February 17 to March 10. I've moved that date out to now include our match against Preston on March 10. There is a good chance they'll be in the playoff spots by the time we face them.

    The average points per match of our opponents (adjusted for home and away records) during this span is 1.8. For the remaining games it is only 1.3, a full half point lower. To illustrate this I've put this graph together:
    fulham_ppm_2018.png

    Once we get past March 10 the only team with a PPM above 1.5 is Millwall (at Millwall of course). I'm worried that our recent form may be just an illusion given that we've played weaker teams or caught some stronger teams in a downturn. If can get through those tough matches and still be in the playoff spots we will be in great shape to make it to the playoffs. If we can stay within six points of the second spot then we have a shot at automatic promotion.

    There has been some talk about how Fulham likes to score late in matches. And it is true, Fulham has scored 17 times in the last 15 minutes - more than any other team:
    fulham_ngl15.png

    Fulham scores a lot of goals, but even when we look at what percent of our goals come in the last 15 minutes Fulham is still only second to QPR:
    fulham_pgl15.png
    I'd certainly prefer to score earlier and lock up some of these matches early rather than a heart stopping finish, but a win is a win and I'll be happy to get them in any way we can get them.
     
    #12
    dcheather and encorespanish like this.
  13. astroevan

    astroevan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2013
    Location:
    South Carolina
    #13
  14. dcheather

    dcheather Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    You know you really ought to consider putting your post/thread on the front page sometimes.
     
    #14
Similar Threads: Getting Playoffs
Forum Title Date
Fulham FC News and Notes GJ getting a co-commentator Aug 12, 2014
Fulham FC News and Notes Looks like we're getting King Jan 17, 2008
Fulham FC News and Notes Are any of you having trouble getting into the FFC website? Apr 10, 2007
Fulham FC News and Notes The Articles: They Are Getting Better Jan 16, 2007
Fulham FC News and Notes Fulham vs Reading IN THE BLOODY PLAYOFFS! May 10, 2017

Share This Page