RED understands football, and so understands that allegiances don’t disappear even when your team hits rock bottom. As such, RED declares its solidarity with the fans of Bury Football Club today, as they face expulsion from the Football League.
As mentioned before, football in Greater Manchester, Manchester City aside, is not in great shape. Oldham secured a goalless draw with Exeter on Tuesday to move off the bottom of the league in perhaps the least spectacular manner imaginable. A clean sheet, however, by a defence that was utterly abject in the previous defeat at Bradford was a significant improvement.
Saturday’s opponents Cambridge United are doing that dangerous thing: looking at the league table in August. Ben Mayhew at experimental361 reckons Cambridge had the toughest start to the season (actually, I think it was Port Vale). But they’ve gone four games unbeaten so far, and sit in third place.
It begs a question; how often has a team in third place after four games been there or higher, in a 24-team division, and also for RED worrying about Oldham, how often has a team second bottom after four games finished there or worse?
These are, of course, empirical questions. Cambridge will be heartened to learn that 29% of the time the team third after four games has finished third or better. Teams that have 8 points, as Cambridge do, have a 27% chance of finishing third or higher.
Oldham will equally be heartened to learn that only 19% of the time has a team in 23rd after four games finished there or lower. Teams that have at least a point at this stage are 5% or less likely to finish 23rd or worse. Crumbs of comfort…
How will things turn out at the Abbey Stadium? RED expects Cambridge to score 1.48 goals, Oldham just the one. As such, a 1-0 home win is just as likely as the always likely 1-1 draw, at 12.4%. The return of David Wheater for Oldham, something RED can’t really factor in given he’s played part of just two matches for Oldham, means it may be a low scoring encounter. A goalless draw is 8.4% likely, and equally likely is Oldham nicking all three points (0-1, 8.4%).