It’s strange that we sit on the cusp of evaluating ourselves. A win tonight against Ipswich and it’s a good start to the season, a loss and it’s disappointing. Funny how after 6 games we’re not really sure how things are going. On the one hand we’re undefeated, on the other we do look rather beatable at times.
The game against Brentford was an odd one; a team who did the double over us last season, but who have gone through some reasonable personnel changes. We believe we’re growing too, gelling under Rosler’s heavy-metal mantra. But we were just pulled to pieces in the first half as Brentford’s more slick passing and movement undid our game plan. Mowatt was ineffectual and Wood was fairly isolated. It was a losing battle.
Uwe’s changes did improve things, with Murph and Antenucci coming on for Mowatt and Adeyemi. Once again, Mirco’s introduction marked a significant improvement in our attacking movement, while Murph added some rigidity to our midfield. It was another good goal from the bearded Italian to rescue the point, prompting Leeds to ask lots of questions of Brentford’s defence in the final 15-20 minutes, but without a winning goal.
On the balance of things, a draw was fair and, all-told, not a poor result necessarily. But it was our 5th draw in 6 games and it steps us towards uncertain evaluation.
Good, bad or just getting going?
8 points from an available 18 isn’t great, if we’re honest. It’s not bad, but it’s not great. After tonight it could be 11 from 21, which is a bit better. It could also be 8 from 21. The first few games are always a melee of madness as teams settle, tactics evolve and players gel. But after 6 games (including an International break or two), the squads of had plenty of time to train together and the league starts to correct itself. The good teams bubbling towards the top and the others settling somewhere beneath.
With 138 points to play for in the season overall, we’re currently earning 1.33 points per game (8 points from 6 games). With 40 games remaining that’d give us a total of 61 points – good for a 12th place finish last season.
But if we win tonight that’ll be 11 points from 7 games, that’s 1.57 points per game (11 points from 7 games). With 39 games remaining that’d give us a total of 72 points – good for a 9th place finish last season.
However if we lose, that’s 1.14 points per game (8 points from 7 games). With 39 games remaining that’d give us a total of 52 points, good for 18th place last season (or relegated if you look at 2012/13).
So as you can see, tonight matters because it builds a bit of a trend. If we win we’re on target for our top 10 finish (which is our aim this season). If we lose we’re (in form terms) heading towards another relegation battle. It might be redundant to start considering these things after just half a dozen games, but as I’ve said, the squads have been together for a long while now, the transfer window is closed, form is starting to take shape.
But can being undefeated be bad?
Yes. 1 win and 45 draws is undefeated, but it’s also 48 points which would have been good for 20th place last season – that’s perilously close to relegation. In 2012/13 that would have gotten you relegated (where Peterborough in 22nd were relegated with 54 points). Granted, getting 50 points is normally sufficient to ensure safety, but not always.
So while it’s nice to consider ourselves the unbeatables, I’d rather we won more and lost a few. A bit of defensive resilience is a good thing, obviously, but I wouldn’t savour the undefeated tag because it doesn’t mean much unless you’re winning.
But you know, if we win tonight we’re undefeated and looking more like a top half side. It really is tonight that we can start to gauge where we’re at. Ipswich are a top-half side and so are we hoping to be. Game on.
So how are we doing?
Yeah, about that.