The stats that lay bare Portsmouth's attacking shortfalls at Blackpool as display ranks among worst of the season

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If you could get your hands on the viewing figures from Pompey’s trip to Blackpool, you’d likely see streaming numbers in the PO area plummeted at around 8.20pm on Tuesday evening.

Sections of supporters knew their side’s fate when Keshi Anderson scored on 64 minutes. Despite there being more than a quarter of the Bloomfield Road game remaining, they’d seen enough.

Those who flicked over in frustration would have felt their decision was justified at full-time as the Blues fell to a 1-0 loss. Predictions of the visitors not being capable of equalising rang true.

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As attacking displays go, this was as poor we’ve witnessed from Pompey all season. After a weakened side put six past King’s Lynn on Saturday, the Blues scarcely looked like finding the net once on the Fylde coast.

And in a footballing world where data and analytics have become so prevalent, not even the numbers could mask an abject performance.

The key statistic that’s used when analysing games these days is expected goals (xG) – which measures the probability of a shot being scored from zero to one.

There have been several occasions in the past when the numbers have at least offered a crumb of comfort following a Pompey defeat.

Not this time, however.

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John Marquis had Pompey's best chances at Blackpool - but was unable to find the back of the net. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.comJohn Marquis had Pompey's best chances at Blackpool - but was unable to find the back of the net. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/
John Marquis had Pompey's best chances at Blackpool - but was unable to find the back of the net. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/

Pompey managed an xG of just 0.8, according to the boffins at Experimental 3-5-1, with Blackpool’s coming out at 1.2.

The Blues’ figure was as poor as they have produced all season – and even worse than when there were alarming attacking concerns amid the stuttering start in September.

In Kenny Jackett's side's first two league games, they fired blanks in goalless stalemates with Shrewsbury and Rochdale.

Yet in both of those matches, they offered more of a goalscoring threat.

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Kenny Jackett’s side’s xG was 1.0 against the Shrews – who registered 0.9 – while the Blues recorded an xG of 2.1 at Spotland opposed to the Dale’s 1.1.

Then there was the 1-0 loss to Doncaster on October 17 when Pompey struggled for any fluency on the break. Even still, their xG was 1.6 to Rovers’ 0.9, which highlighted another game, based on the data, they should have won.

But Pompey’s xG at Blackpool was the second worse they’ve recorded all season. Only the 2-0 loss to Charlton on October 31 when the xG was 0.7 ranks inferior.

Against Blackpool, John Marquis had Pompey’s two best goalscoring opportunities.

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In the first half, he dragged a shot from outside of the box just wide of the far post. The strike wasn’t the truest, but it almost crept into the corner.

Marquis’ next chance arrived in second-half stoppage-time when he could have snatched what would have been a welcome point for the visitors at that stage.

However, the striker’s effort was kept out by Tangerines keeper Chris Maxwell fairly comfortably at his near post.

Marquis’ individual xG for the evening was 0.4 – the joint-best along with CJ Hamilton and higher than goalscorer Anderson’s 0.3. In layman’s terms, he was more likely to bag than Blackpool’s match-winner.

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More worryingly, though, was perhaps the lack of openings that fell to fellow dangermen such as Ronan Curtis and Marcus Harness, although the latter was Pompey’s brightest outlet by some margin.

To Pompey’s credit, scoring goals hasn’t been too much of a problem since their early-season struggles.

No side in the division has netted more than the Blues’ 26. They have a potent arsenal of forwards when on top form, boast League One’s current top scorer in Marquis and still have Michael Jacobs to come back from injury.

There is no need to panic and there’ll be hopes the Blackpool loss can be poinpointed as just an off-day come the end of the season.

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