Due to the fierce competitiveness of the Championship, the away form of the sides often separates the men from the boys.
It will come as no surprise to many of you that our away form has not been up to scratch this season, hence the focus of this article. We have participated in a total of ten away games so far this season, yet we have only managed to muster up a pitiful five points, these coming from one hard-fought win and a couple of disappointing draws, with these points being saved, quite literally, by the man between the sticks, Marco Silvestri.
Marco Silvestri saves vs Norwich, courtesy of LUTV & WALMOT3
These five points from ten games give us an average of 0.5 points collected per away game. At first glance that sounds terrible, however I am afraid the situation is a fair bit worse than that. After looking at the final league standings from the last two seasons, it shows that we are way off the mark of the top six in terms of away points collected, with the top six teams collecting an average of 1.5 points per away game. As things are, it shows us finishing 23 points off of the top six in terms of away points throughout the season.
So, just whereabouts are we in terms of average away points per game? Well, again looking at the previous two seasons, it shows the bottom three averaging a total of 0.8 points per away game. Now that is the average of the last six teams to be relegated, however looking at individual averages, the worst was Bristol City back in 2012/13 with an average of 0.57 points per game. As it stands, our away form is worse than all of the last six teams to be relegated out of our division. Nevertheless, we are only 23rd in the away form table for this season, but it’s not much consolation to know that Blackpool are the only team worse.
In terms of comparing us to this season, with an average of 0.5 points per away game, we are collecting less than half of the average points gained per away game which currently stands at 1.09. We are also scoring less per game on average with 1 goal per away game (1.13 average) and conceding more, 2.2 conceded per away game (1.46 average). We are also currently suffering from a three away game losing streak, making up half of our six away game streak without a win, with none of our ten away games ending in a clean sheet for us. Buy hey, at least with an average of 3.2 goals scored in our away games, no one can say we are boring!
There are many reasons for why someone will argue we are not picking up enough points away from home, but every opinion comes down to the obvious two factors; we don’t score enough and/or we concede too many. Never mind refereeing decisions and whatnot, it comes down to those two fundamental factors. Personally, I feel we concede too many, as I am sure most of you will agree. Oh, and the fact we have dropped nine points away from home after being in winning positions certainly doesn’t help our cause. Anyhow, I had a little gander on whoscored.com just to see how dire the situation really is. It was not pretty viewing.
We average a total of 9.9 shots per game away from home, with only a mere 2.8 of these being on target, putting us 22nd and 23rd in the table respectively. Ten of these have found the back of the net, so with an average of a goal every away game, the situation doesn’t look too bad, hence why I feel the problems are within our defensive capabilities away from home. We allow the opposition an average of 18.5 shots per game, which puts us 2nd in the table on that statistic. Almost double the amount of efforts we have on goal. My reasoning for this is we miss too many tackles, possibly due to inexperience our revamped squad has in this league. Too many are looking to impress and thus a number of players dive in to try and win the ball. This has led to us only completing an average of 15.3 tackles a game away from home, which puts us at 23rd in the league.
There were a couple of positive statistics though. After collecting 17 yellows and 2 reds in 10 games we are only 17th in the away discipline table, so there are 7 teams dirtier away from home than ‘Dirty Leeds’. Clutching at straws I know. However, we also have the 5th highest possession average away from home, with 51.6% and the 4th highest pass success percentage, standing at a mighty 78.4%. This clearly shows that when we do have the ball at our feet, we are not doing anywhere near enough with it. To have half of the average shots than the team with less possession than us is quite frankly embarrassing.
I do, however, feel it is important that I mention that seven of these ten away games we have played are against opposition currently within the top nine of the Championship, whereas the final three are 19th, 20th and 21st.
Let me leave with this final statistic. I calculated the round-trip distances from Elland Road to our respective opponents’ home grounds. I used this to calculate that we have travelled an average of 657.6 miles per away point gained this season. Partner that with fans spending around £60-£70 in tickets per away point and you have an astounding statistic. Let that sink in.
Oh, one more thing. We were also knocked out of the Capital One Cup to a League One team after a 2-1 defeat. No prizes for guessing if we were playing home or away.