The festive period is in full swing with games coming thick and fast for Huddersfield Town and the rest of their SkyBet Championship counterparts.

With a flurry of tightly packed games between Christmas and New year, how fitting, then, that the Championship might be the most tightly contested leagues in the whole of Europe.

From third down to seventh there’s just four points separating five teams, and then just four separating the six sides just below them.

And this is no surprise when you focus the microscope past the points tallies to focus on numbers like shots or shots on target comparisons.

How competitive the SkyBet Championship is in comparison to some of Europe's Elite leagues.
How competitive the SkyBet Championship is in comparison to some of Europe's Elite leagues.

These generally give a more accurate picture of a team’s quality than the league table, and barring bookends of Newcastle United and Rotherham (for shots), the Championship is amazingly competitive.

The stat-pack is tight, but it’s probably best to be as close to the top as possible, and Huddersfield Town’s shot on target difference is the joint third-best in the league behind the top two of Brighton & Hove Albion and the Magpies, level with Sheffield Wednesday.

The league table might reflect it if Town got a bit more of the rub of the green - on average, a team converts shots into goals at a rate of around 10%, though luck and chance quality both affect this.

Huddersfield’s conversion rate is only at 9% at the moment, just below average, and that certainly isn’t because they’re just creating bad chances.

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Looking at similar figures on the other side of the ball gives some hope and some comfort to Town as well.

Both table toppers Brighton and Derby County, who are just three points behind Town, have conceded goals at a rate of just under 6% of their shots – an absurdly low rate which is never going to carry on all the way through until May.

Reading may well drop off too, their shots on target difference per game confusingly being the second worst in the league. With Brighton, Derby, and Reading’s results so far looking a little suspect, that makes Town’s bid for the playoffs – or even automatic promotion – look a little safer.

But it’s not just quality that Huddersfield have, they’re an interesting side and play good football - David Wagner’s European tactical bent extends beyond just his immediate backroom staff, some writers for tactics website working for the club in analysis roles.

These aren’t just average teen bloggers though, work on spielverlagerung and its German twin (and original) site is read by coaches and media across the globe. Another of the ‘Spielver alumni’, Rene Maric, is now a coach at Red Bull Salzburg, the sister club of surprise Bundesliga title contenders RB Leipzig.

With a background like this, it’s no surprise that Town look – by the numbers – to be one of the most intense pressing sides in the league. Keeping opposition completion low is one indication, showing how a side is applying pressure and forcing their adversaries into inaccurate or risky passes.

Huddersfield’s opposition pass completion is the third lowest in the league, QPR and Ipswich seemingly making life uncomfortable for their adversaries as well but not quite getting Town’s all-round results.

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However, there’s another measure that the Terriers live up to their nickname and top the intensity charts – PPDA or Passes allowed Per Defensive Action.

Huddersfield allow the second fewest passes (8.78) per tackle and interception in the league. For reference, friend of Wagner Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have a PPDA number of 8.8.

Pressing is all the rage at the moment, but Huddersfield are clearly doing it successfully. More importantly, a good press takes time to coach into the team and if Town are to be promoted this year, their experience at it this season will be invaluable in the Premier League.

Statistics correct as of and including the SkyBet Championship games played on December 19, 2016.