Expectations table: predicting final positions
Recently I’ve been trying to assess Premier League clubs’ results at early stages in the season, bearing in mind some teams face relatively easy fixtures, and others less so.
The method I used during the October and November international breaks proved popular, despite inherent flaws. Infostrada Sports’ Euro Club Index accounts for these flaws by generating league odds, which can be compared at different stages of the season.
At the start of the season, the Euro Club Index predicted United to comfortably take the league title, with the three promoted sides going straight back down:
At the November international break, United are still backed as title winners, but Newcastle and Man City’s predicted improvements are evident, as are Wigan and Wolves’ regressions.
In terms of progress, as in previous posts Newcastle have displayed the most significant improvement on last season, and could be as much as 17 points better off in May than originally predicted in August.
Man City join Newcastle as the runaway leaders in this respect; at the start of the season few imagined they would be as dominant as they have been, and a 16 point improvement reflects this.
My earlier posts could not quantify the performance of promoted teams due to a lack of comparable fixtures; the league odds here confirm the perception that they’ve all had impressive starts.
Despite a difficult fixture list, Bolton have gone backwards, and could now finish with fewer than 40 points, whilst Martin Jol is perhaps lucky more haven’t picked up on Fulham’s underperformance. Blackburn and Wigan’s position will surprise few; most betting agencies now have them as favourites to go down.
In mid-table, both Arsenal’s turbulent season and Liverpool’s inconsistency are shown by a lack of movement in predicted points. This in itself isn’t too worrying – there’s plenty of time to improve and gather momentum – but Tottenham’s post-August progress means there’s already catching up to do.
The comparative changes in predicted league table between the start of the season and November reflect and quantify opinion over who have been the under and overachievers thus far; but can the likes of Newcastle and Man City sustain form to match projections?