Do the Stats Suggest Wigan Are Doomed to Relegation… Or Is There Still Survival Hope?
Let’s be honest – sitting bottom of the league table with three-quarters of the season gone is less than ideal.
There’s very little for even the most positive of Latic fans to be hopeful about, but the history of this fine club dictates that giving up and throwing in the towel is simply not an option.
📺 It wasn’t to be for Latics against the Sky Bet League One leaders yesterday, though @TheloAasgaard scored our 2,500th goal since we entered the Football League in 1978.
⛳️ Some way to get it…#wafc 🔵⚪️
— Wigan Athletic (@LaticsOfficial) February 28, 2021
An examination of the stats suggests that there is some hope, even if the only number that really counts – the points tally – is less than ideal for caretaker boss Leam Richardson and his team.
The bookmakers are particularly pessimistic about Wigan’s chances, and they make Latics as short as 1/6, at the time of writing, in our outright relegation League One football betting odds.
So, what are the hopes that fans of our great club can cling onto during what will surely be a rollercoaster ride until the end of the season?
Goals Make Points, Points Make Prizes
While Wigan possess the worst defensive record in League One, the consolation prize is that they know – relatively speaking – where the goal is.
A tally of 32 goals, exactly one per game on average, might not sound that explosive, but you only need to score once to win a game of football. For context, that haul is also only three fewer than Ipswich Town, who sit seventh, and two less than the comfortable mid-table stylings of Blackpool.
Despite his issues with injuries through the years, Will Keane is a goal scorer at this level, and if he stays fit until the end of the campaign then Latics at least have a focal point.
Pleasing too has been the progress of youngsters Callum Lang and Kyle Joseph. They have ten goals between them, and at a time when fear can become a factor amid the relegation hustle and bustle, perhaps the naivety of youth – meant in a positive way – could be of great benefit.
You have to take the positives where you can find them.
Even though the Expected Goals data does not make for handsome reading for any Wigan Athletic fans, what is interesting about the stats collected by Experimental 361 is that they suggest the Latics have been unlucky so far this term from a defensive perspective.
The data suggests we should have only conceded 50 goals, rather than the 60 the team have in actuality shipped. The reason is a combination of fluky long-range shots and very low probability chances being netted.
It never rains but it pours, you might think, but the good news is that Wigan are better defensively than you might otherwise believe.
On the Beach?
As the football season enters its business end, there is a cliché that sides happily ensconced in mid table are ‘on the beach’, i.e. their players lack intensity and are already looking forward to their summer off.
The good news is that Wigan will run into plenty of those in the coming weeks and months. Accrington, Gillingham, Crewe and Shrewsbury can all be put in that category, so hopefully the added desire of the Latics might be enough to scramble some points out of those fixtures.
Like we say, we’re clutching at straws, but right now that’s all that Wigan fans have at their disposal.
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