Updated: Mar 3, 2021
Is an away game harder than a home game? Normally that's a straight forward question. But we all know it depends on the opposition. But how much?
If we play Hamilton at home then St Mirren at home we know the St Mirren game would normally be harder given they are a better team (and higher up the league) than Hamilton. We also know that an away game versus St Mirren is harder than an away game versus Hamilton.
However when does away games become harder? At what level? IE Is an away game against Hamilton more difficult than a home game against Hibs or Livi? If not then does an away game versus St Johnstone become more difficult than a home game against Hibs or Livi?
To help us create the dividing line I decided to split teams into two. The home version and the away version then ranked them all in a table of 24. I've done so based on Points per Game but it would have been good to do so on xG but my SPFL data on xG totals is for combined games and is not separated.
I've also looked at Celtic's scores against them this season.
The Rangers Home team are top with 3pts per game and the Hamilton Home team are bottom of the table with 0.75 pts per game.
The Celtic Away team, Celtic Home team and Hibs Away team are all next on roughly the same performance. 69% of possible achieved.
Our last result against anyone in the top 11 was a draw or defeat. This follows on from my blog about Celtic's performance against only Top 6 teams. (https://tony69mclaughlin69.wixsite.com/website/post/top-6-only-league).
Our best being opponent's beaten is when we beat the Dundee Utd Home team at Tannadice in August and they are ranked 12th.
I'm going to use this table in the future for when I'm;
- reviewing recent form/trends to measure the difficulty of the opposition involved
- setting expectations for future games
- comparing players from the same team in different games against different opponents or comparing players from different teams (and taking into consideration their opponents in the games I'm reviewing)
You could add a weighting between teams when comparing using their % variance to the maximum opportunity in their performances.
It is not an exact science but is better than just looking at a league table for comparisons or not taking into consideration at all the level of opponent when reviewing performance data etc.
Our performance last night was pleasing but was it an improvement from the St Mirren game? Just because it was away from home doesn't make it so. The St Mirren Away team are performing 35% better than the Kilmarnock Home team this season. (1.46pts per game versus 1.08pts per game).
It was a win so that's an improvement but when looking at stats of the game it's worthwhile considering the different levels of difficulties in the matches.
This will help us predict and set expectations for future performance.
This is not me trying to be negative and put a negative spin on last night's performance but just bringing a bit of reality to it.
My next blog is going to be super positive and it is in regards to Touches in the Box.