A rather trite and inaccurate description for Life, but a rather apt depiction of life in the Championship.
For Wolves or any team, a league title isn’t won over a single 90 minutes, rather 4140 minutes of blood, sweat, the odd tear and occasional trips.
Wolves are currently in the Eliud Kipchoge position after three quarters of the season and bearing down on the gold medal as we enter those last few energy sapping miles.
Actually, thanks to the wonderful work of Team Nuno describing where we are on as a marathon misunderstands the current situation.
We’re no longer in a marathon or a sprint.
“It’s not a race, it’s a dance”
Words from surrealist comedian Simon Munnery at first appear to be more befitting the start of a joke than they are descriptors of what we have achieved to this point.
Due to the hard work and due diligence from all involved both on and off the pitch, Wolverhampton Wanderers future is in our own hands.
We have the power to make the feats of other teams irrelevant. Like a dance, we have to concentrate on what we are doing.
Throughout the season, Wolves have relied on working hard and taking their chances when they come along, rather than relying on purple patches and luck.
A look at this seasons hottest tool in deciphering the mysteries of football, Expected Goals (xG) has Wolves with 56.42 goals (59 scored in actuality) and conceding 29.38 (28 actually conceded) giving an expected goal difference (xGD) of 27.04 (31 in reality), to give this some context lets compare ourselves to some of our rivals.
The xGD of Aston Villa in third is 11 (actual GD = 21), fourth placed Derby sit on just over 7 (22 in real terms), Fulham 9 (20).
The vast differences between the xGD and actual GD for Villa, Derby and Fulham indicates teams which have relied on hitting a rich vein of form and outperforming themselves.
Invariably these purple patches tend to swing both ways and the majority of these clubs have flirted with challenging ourselves, but then hit a negative patch where they go on runs of negative results lasting as long as their positive runs, in mathematical terms they return to the mean.
There are three teams in the top six who are playing near their mean; Sheff Utd, Cardiff and obvsiouly ourselves.
With Sheffield’s average having them in 6th, that says everything about their title credentials. Cardiff however have an xGD of 23 – the same figure the league table will show you.
Cardiff are genuine contenders, they’re in the position they are not by fluke but by design.
There have been several teams who have made more noise and been flashier, but Cardiff have been right there with us all season.
Drilling down into the stats a little further, especially looking at our current “blip”; across the last 6 games we have managed 1.83 points per game (ppg).
We have rarely dropped below 2 ppg all season, but even if we were to continue at 1.83 ppg we will end the season on 95 points, enough to have won the league in 8 out of the last 10 seasons (with Newcastle and Leicester finishing on 102 in their title winning seasons) and enough to have guaranteed automatic promotion in all 10 years.
For Cardiff to catch us, even at 1.83 ppg, they would need to up their own figure from 1.97 to nearly 2.5 ppg – meaning they would need 10 wins out of the remaining 12.
Dwayne Johnson said “success at anything will always come down to this: focus and effort and we control both” and Friedrich Nietzsche once said “We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”
By using these quotes, the players control their own destiny and in controlling their destiny, 6th May will not be a day lost when we are all hopefully dancing inside the Stadium of Light.