This season’s Premier League has not let us down. With most teams having just four league games left, there is still all to play for at top of the table for the Manchester teams. At the other end of the table four teams are battling it out to stay in the top division and of course, there is also race for the fourth Champions League spot. I was interested in seeing how each team has featured in those battles. Drawing charts is usually the best way…
First of all, let’s take a look at the title race and how it has evolved during the season:
At the start of every season, we run a simulation to produce a chance of each team finishing at each position. Each team is given a team strength which is derived based on the team’s weighted historical performances. Just before this season kicked off, Chelsea were favourites to win, with Man Utd second favourites. Man City’s impact with their huge spending was taking time to sink in, they were fourth favourite behind Arsenal. However, they made a strong start and continued to do well over large period of the season. Now it looks like Man City’s loss to Swansea could have been a pivotal point for them potentially not taking the title. As for Spurs, they had a 5% chance to win at one point (after they beat Everton in Jan) but then quickly faded away.
Given each team’s strength we can calculate the expected points for them ahead of every match. Actual points obtained minus expected points can tell us whether a team has outperformed or not. Accumulating the point differences up to the N-th game can demonstrate how well a team has done up to that point. Using this idea we have the chart below showing the two Manchester teams’ performances this season:
Both teams have outperformed their expectation. Especially Man City, but then again this could be due to their big signings making an impact. We can see that Man City have been constantly outperforming in the last four seasons and they have only had a very small glitch around the 30th game week this season but unfortunately (for Man City) Man Utd have also been in fantastic form.
Of course the Manchester teams’ dominance of the title race this season has been contributed to by the rapid decline of Chelsea. In an earlier post we raised concerns over their defensive quality this season (to visit the post, click here). Along with Liverpool, they have been disappointing this season, as illustrated below:
Chelsea have underperformed by nearly 15 points so far this season. Even after Di Matteo took charge, their league form hasn’t really picked up by much. Hence, inevitably they are aiming to finish in the top four. How’s that race looking? We have the following chart:
Realistically four teams are competing for the last two CL spots with Arsenal being the favourites. Chelsea only have about a 36% chance to finish in the top four but given their recent encouraging run in the FA Cup and CL, perhaps one shouldn’t bet against them.
We now move our attention to the other end of the table. In the following chart I have displayed several teams’ chance of going down at start of season:
Big congratulations to newly promoted teams Norwich and Swansea, they have now managed to avoid relegation with high certainty. Wigan have also made themselves favourites to stay up in some emphatic fashion. The other newly promoted team QPR have remained in the boil of the relegation battle as we predicted at the start of the season.
Finally, I want to take a further look at the three newly promoted teams:
QPR have done pretty much the same as we expected them to so far. On the other hand, Norwich and Swansea have both outperformed with Swansea beating expectation by about 3 points at the moment and Norwich by about 7 points. With all the talk of Brendon Rodgers to win manager of the year award, surely Paul Lambert is worth a bigger shout?