El Clasico Leverage

Despite conceeding the fastest goal in an El Clasico, Barcelona still triumphed 3-1 on Saturday. This drew them level with Real Madrid on points and ahead on the head-to-head rule.

But how important was this single match in terms of the chance of being top at the end of the season? To investigate I used the DecTech team strength model to simulate four scenarios: the chances each team had of winning the league before a ball was kicked on Saturday, plus the probabilities of taking the title after the Barca win, if the match had been a draw, and if Madrid had won instead.

This “six pointer” of a match is particularly interesting because Barcelona and Real Madrid dominate the league so thoroughly. At the end of August our model predicted one of these clubs would win the league with a chance of 99.5%. After this weekend’s games that figure is now in excess of 99.9%. The match’s importance is enhanced by the head-to-head rule which ranks teams on their record against each other if there is a tie on points, unlike the Premier League, which uses goal difference against all other clubs in the league. Continue reading

Do Teams with Better Squad Depth Benefit during Christmas Fixtures? Ho.. Ho.. Ho

It’s almost Christmas again. I like Christmas. Not only do I get a holiday, there is also plenty of football to watch thanks to the Premier League. Not so lucky for the players though!

Teams often play up to four matches during the busy Christmas to New Year period in the space of less than 2 weeks.  What I started to wonder was which teams give their fans a merry time in the festive season, and which teams have been to too many Christmas parties.

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