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Hard statistics: our worst team ever?


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With so much doom and gloom around here at the moment, I reckon there’s nothing like a few interesting statistics to brighten the mood!

So after reading a few comments here about this current Villa team being the worst they have ever seen, I wondered whether this could in fact be backed up by hard figures. I therefore decided (as you do) to compare our record so far this season with our complete league history since 1887. Actually, interesting as they may be, the results of this quick comparison might on reflection be considered to make rather grim reading, but so be it...

We are only just over halfway through the season, of course, but IF things carried on as they are THEN this would in fact be one of our worst seasons ever on a number of counts. We would then have:

Points per game: 0.90 (worst since 1986-87 relegation season)

Goals scored per game: 0.81 (worst ever)

Goals conceded per game: 1.95 (worst since 1966-67)

Goal average: 0.41 (worst ever)

Goal difference (projected over 38 games): -43 (worst ever)

Win percentage: 19.0 % (second worst ever, “beaten” only by McLeish’s 18.4 %)

Home win percentage: 20 % (worst ever)

Home goals scored per game: 0.80 (worst ever)

(actually some of those exact current figures are not mathematically possible over a 38-game season, but you get the picture: we’re currently a wee bit below par by our standards).

So it looks like there could in fact be some statistical evidence for these “worst Villa team I have ever seen” claims. For instance (if results do not improve), by the end of this season probably only fans in their fifties or older will have seen Villa let in goals at such a rate, nobody ever will have seen us scoring so few, nobody ever will have seen us concede so many goals for every one we score, and nobody ever will have seen us win fewer games at Villa Park.

In fact, given all of the above, I don’t know which is more surprising: the fact that we are not actually in the relegation zone, or that over 33,000 people still turn up to watch us lose 3-0 to Wigan!

None of these figures are definitive, of course. There are still 17 games to go, and it’s how the record looks after 38 games that matters (and most particularly whether we can somehow scrape together enough points to stay up).

However, the worrying thing is that we have seen little to make us confident that we will improve over the rest of the season. In fact, the performances over the Christmas period seem to suggest that things are more likely to get even worse in what is already on course to be one of our worst seasons ever.

Has anyone heard that Randy has the odd £50m to spare? It looks like it could be needed.

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The difference is that we should stick with most of this lot, load of youngsters still learning who have been thrown in the deep end. Where as last season and before they could have all **** off for all I care.

We just need some experienced heads bought in to steady the ship. Give it a few years to let this project take shape and we should be fine.

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I don't know about worst side ever but the side we put out against Wigan was one of the worst I have seen in my 30 odd years following us and this was backed up by the diabolical performance.

Our current best 11 is OK but as we have seen 3 or 4 injuries and we are ****.

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Too many structural breaks in the data, points system used to be different and so did the number of games played per season.

Neither of those changes would affect any of the records I mentioned.

Our points per game record is currently 'only' the worst since 1986-87, when 3 points per game had already been in use for several years, although it's true that if it drops any lower you would need to adjust the data to compare with years before 1981-82. Hopefully it won't so there won't be need any need to worry about that statistical problem.

Goal difference should strictly be adjusted for the number of games played in a season, but in any case we have never had a season in which it has been more than -1 per game as it is at present (-24 in 21 games compared to the previous worst of -34 in 42 games), so we are clearly currently on course for our worst ever goal difference, both in absolute numbers and relative to the number of games played.

None of the other statistical criteria I listed are affected by any changes since the League started in 1887.

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I think everyone already knows that we are doing very badly at the moment and the statistics mentioned are not a surprise.

The only difference is that we all have differing views of how the rest of the season will pan out.

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That's just unbelievably bad.

Well, that goal difference hasn't actually happened yet. It's just what will happen if we carry on scoring and conceding at the same rates.

But yes, if it did happen, it would be quite embarrassingly bad. It would be the worst goal difference in the Premier League since that famously bad Derby team of five years ago (the one that ended the season with 11 points).

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The fact it's this bad after 20 games is embarrassing.

To be the worst attacking side in the league and concede the most goals truly takes some doing.

Add in our worst ever result, and you have to ask if there's anything to the hype surrounding Lambert other than the fact that he isn't McLeish. I don't think I've ever seen a worse team or worse performances to be honest. We need a monumental improvement second half of the season, and I just can't see where it's going to come from.

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It's been a disastrous start to the season - one of the worst I can remember and (in theory - but memory fades a bit as you become an old git) that takes us back to the 60s.

I am simply amazed that several thousand Villa fans stayed behind after the Spurs match to praise Lambert for his achievements so far, although a bit more comforted that this mood seems to have dissipated by the next week against Wigan.

We need to make sure Lambert and his squad understand the extreme requirement on them to improve significantly. At present most of what he and the players say suggest they are not really too concerned about the position.

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