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Home   /   Ipswich Town FC: Do statistics support the success?

Sub edited by Thomas Davies-Crisp

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Two years ago Ipswich sat midtable in League One, Leicester on the other hand were preparing to face Napoli on the European stage. Fast forward to today and both sit joint top of the Championship table (after 16 games played). It’s also no coincidence that two years ago, Kieran McKenna was employed as head coach of the Tractor Boys. But is this newfound success just a fluke? Or do the statistics support the argument that Ipswich are the real deal in the 23/24 Championship title race.

Only two clubs in the last 15 years have achieved back to back promotions from League One to the Premier League, Norwich 10/11 and Southampton 11/12. Comparing this Ipswich side to them we see a similar trend. Ipswich have 2.44 points per game, 2.25 goals per game and 1.31 goals against per game. This matches/exceeds Norwich (1.8ppg, 1.8gpg and 1.3gapg) and Southampton (1.9ppg, 1.8gpg, 1gapg) as records. Of course nothing can be predicted after a third of a season but just how far are Ipswich from success?

Looking over recent seasons 70 points has been a minimum needed for a top six spot. Leaving them already over the halfway mark on 39. Especially considering their projected points total is currently 112!

The man behind the machine is Kieran McKenna, forced into premature retirement before his career at Tottenham had even started, McKenna spent the past 15 years all over England and briefly Canada learning what it takes to be a coach. In December 2021 he left his role as assistant coach at Manchester United (where he worked with Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer and Ralf Rangnick) to finally be in charge. Speaking on the subject of working with Mourinho in an interview with ‘The Coaches Voice’ YouTube channel, McKenna said: “One of the biggest insights I gained was seeing the levels of organisation around his training process and match preparation.” “How he went from that process of studying the opposition and identifying things from within them to turning that into training practices… a lot of things I’ve picked up and used now, certainly looking into the future as well.”

Many describe McKenna as a calm head, perhaps due to so many years as a student of the game. But his team on the pitch oppose his personality. High press and fast transitions are key to this Ipswich squad and work spectacularly against high line defences. To back this up they currently lead the chart for most tackles in the attacking third with an average of 3.06 per 90 (the only side to surpass three).

Two integral profiles to Ipswich’s success thus far are Sam Morsy and Leif Davis. Holding midfielder, Morsy, has a heavy presence in the overloaded first phase that Ipswich build from. He has an 84.1% pass completion rate from the 1037 attempted (a squad high). The Egyptian international also has 3.63 tackles + interceptions per 90, alongside his fellow defensive midfielder, Luongo, who has an average of 4.04.

Their forward thinking fullbacks hold width, allowing wide men and the number 10 to drift into advanced spaces, overloading the final third with blue shirts. Davis is key to this progression. Currently topping the Championship assists chart (seven in total) and already totting up 55 progressive passes this season. 

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May 2024