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Alan Alger: The stats each National League team must hit if they want to be champions

16 Sep | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Alan Alger: The stats each National League team must hit if they want to be champions

Each side has played 10 games in the division - the perfect time for our Non-League expert to compare this season's sides with previous winners

Each team in the National League completed their 10th game of the season on Tuesday evening.

Forest Green Rovers lost their 100 per cent record at the hands of Woking, while Cheltenham and Gateshead joined the Cards as the big winners on the night.

The 10-game point of the season is an ideal stage to compare records with previous champions of the division.

Taking into account the last 15 seasons there are certain stats that each team must hit if they want to be in with contention. They are as follows:

By game 10, each side must have won four or more matches

This seems a good starting point and it’s almost blindingly obvious that a team aiming for top spot should be winning at least 40 per cent of their matches at any stage of the season (let alone the start).

This stat eliminates all teams in the table from 14th to the bottom.

So we say goodbye to: Lincoln City, Chester, Guisely, Macclesfield, Torquay, Altrincham, Boreham Wood, Welling, Southport, FC Halifax, Kidderminster and Dover Athletic, who have only managed three wins despite their position of 10th.

By game 10, each side must have found the net at least 11 times

Goals win games and strikers in a title-contending team need to hit the ground running.

Averaging more than one goal per opening game is a must. Eliminated at this stage, therefore, are 13th-placed Barrow – scorer of just 10 goals – and ninth-placed Braintree Town, who have scored just nine.

By game 10, each side must have shown that they can keep a clean-sheet

If goals win games, then defences certainly win titles.

At this point in the last 15 seasons of the division, the teams that eventually won the title had kept at least two clean sheets each (13 of them kept three or more).

That means we now lose one of the pre-season favourites, Grimsby Town, who have stuttered their way to seventh in the table with 16 points, but have conceded in every single game – a sure-fire sign that they won’t become champions.

We’re now left with nine teams who comply with all of the above and also fulfil additional historical trends: Back-to-back wins at least once during the first ten games; no more than four drawn games; lost no more than four games; conceded no more than 20 goals.

The last 15 champions of the division also finished between second and 12th in the ‘Conference’ in the previous season.

So using this criteria, we can also remove Aldershot, Bromley, Tranmere and Cheltenham.

That leaves just five clubs still standing: Forest Green Rovers, Gateshead, Woking, Wrexham and Eastleigh.

Applying the stats in a strict fashion could eliminate Wrexham on the basis that 13 of the last 15 champions kept three or more clean sheets.

The Red Dragons have only kept two under Gary Mills – Burton in 08/09 and Aldershot in 07/08 are the only teams to come through with the bare minimum in this column.

Gateshead could also be crossed off the list for only winning two games consecutively – albeit three times. Eleven of the last 15 champions managed at least a three-game winning streak.

That means leaders Forest Green Rovers, injury-hit Woking and Richard Hill’s Eastleigh conform to all of the stats to the strictest possible application.

Those sides, therefore, look the most-likely winners of the division – even with 36 games to go!

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