Got, expected, deserved, need
During the early stages of the season, when the league table often lies, it can be easy to over- or underreact to results. As such, it helps to have some objective information on how the season has and might progress.
We recommend focusing on four key metrics:
- How many points have we got? (Points per game)
- How many points were we objectively expected to get pre-match? (Expected points per game)
- How many points did we deserve to get based on our performance? (Performance points per game)
- How many points do we need to get to achieve our target? (Required points per game)
Take the teams in the English Championship below, where this information can help get a gauge on their respective seasons to date.
For example, four points from four games (‘got’) is fewer than Aston Villa would have objectively ‘expected’ going into the campaign. While performances (‘deserved’) have exceeded this expectation, it’s still below the ‘need’ requirement of 1.9 points per game from here on out to finish in the top 2. In other words: the team have been unlucky, but the board should track performance as a leading indicator to see whether changes are needed later in the season to get up to the ‘need’ threshold.
These metrics help to reassure clubs like Millwall and Brentford that performance levels are on or even above target despite results. For Ipswich and Forest, they temper expectations but show how good early-season results have created a cushion.
It may be early days, but when making the big decisions – whether to sign a player, whether to change the head coach – smart boardrooms take the emotion out of the room and stay on top of the metrics that matter.