An easy ride for Appleton?
As we come into the New Year, the team is playing well, Appleton has had the bottle to play Futacs and that is paying dividends. The atmospherics coming from the club are positive regarding his tenure thus far. After the Chelsea game, as often during cup games you come away thinking, if we play like that in the league, everything will be fine.
Appleton is doing a better job than Cotterill, correct?. Well yes but i'd argue he has had an easier ride, everyone is aware that Pompey are better at home than they are away, and that is borne out in the statistics.
Whittingham/Grey Points per game at Home 3.0
Appleton PPG at Home 2.0
Cotts PPG at Home 1.4
Appleton PPG Away 1.0
Cotts PPG Away 0.4
Whittingham/Grey PPG Away 0.3
But that has to be compared with the respective quality of the clubs they have played against:
Cotts Average position of opponents Home 3.3
Whittingham/Grey Away 6.3
Cotts Away 6.7
Appleton Home 13.5
Appleton Away 16.25
Whittingham/Gray Home 19.3
Cotterill was unlucky with the opponents he had, and at home especially did very well, on the flip side Appleton has had a relatively easy start (save the Scum game but even that is an anomaly due to the derby nature of the game) no doubt you can only beat who is put in front of you, but Appleton is about to have the opportunity to prove himself the next 6 fixtures are:
Current league position
West Ham (H) 2
Cardiff (A) 3
P'boro (H) 15
Hull (H) 6
Birmingham (A) 14
Blackpool (A) 7
By mid-February we will be in a much better place to judge Appleton's start. Hopefully the future of the club will be in better hands by then and certainly not owned by a man who is attempting to start up an 'underwater casino' which once you have looked at the plans is actually a semi-submerged boat and not quite the Poseidon adventure it seems (we will blog re the takeover next week when there is hopefully something more to say).
Kitson not shot shy...
Pompey have the 7th best defence in the league and the 15th best attack. So we thought it was time to stat attack on the strikers who are failing us.
Goals Shots per game Shots on target Shots per goal
Varney 5 1.7 (3) 37.5% (7) 7.5 (4)
Norris 4 1.3 (5) 26.7% (10) 7.5 (4)
Kitson 3 1.9 (2) 35% (8) 15.5 (9)
Erik 3 0.7 (10) 63% (2) 2.7 (2)
Halford 2 1.3 (5) 21% (11) 14 (8)
Ward 2 1.0 (8) 33.3% (9) 7.5 (4)
Futacs 2 2.5 (1) 40% (5) 2.5 (1)
Benjani 1 1.5 (4) 44% (3) 9 (7)
Kanu 1 1.3 (5) 75% (1) 4 (3)
Mullins 1 0.9 (9) 40% (5) 20 (10)
Lawrence 0 0.7 (10) 43% (4) n/a (11)
I am not a Kitson hater, I appreciate his effort more than other Pompey fans but he has a poor shots on target ratio, and a worse shots per goal ratio. He works hard but only has one assist so far this season. I think we all know how important Varney is and we look forward to his return. Kanu is still accurate and actually manages to get a surprising number of efforts on target, as opposed to Erik, who does not shoot often, but will also get it on target. I imagine Halford would be frustrated with his accuracy, because he has one hell of a pile driver on him.
To be fair to Lawrence, although he has not yet scored this season (although he did against Watford for it to be incorrectly ruled offside) he tops the clubs assist table with 5, the 16th best record in the Championship.
Pompey and Saints, same number of players used, different results
Pompey have a tiny squad as the News have pointed out a number of times, but we have used 24 players this season, which is the same number as scum, (albeit 12 shy of the Doncaster Willy McCay experiment) and Pompey fans (myself included) maintain the spine of the squad is strong, so I think Appleton is right to be looking at the peripheral players (Benjani and Kanu included)
Anyway enough statistical meandering. I have faith in Appleton but he needs the backing and soon.