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Expectations table: predicting final positions

13 November 2011

Man City could be 16 points better off in May than originally predicted (Image: Flickr/umbrofootball)

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.

The above table is also available on the Euro Club Index website, with the methodology explained here.

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?

Data provided by Infostrada Sports from the Euro Club Index (powered by Hypercube). You can follow both Infostrada Sports accounts on Twitter: @InfostradaLive, @EuroClubIndex.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. 14 November 2011 5:37 pm

    The ECI is very good, but it also has weaknesses. One of the largest is that since it is based exclusively on results, it might take quite a bit of time before transfer activity is reflected in the rating (especially relevant for clubs with significant owner investment, like City and PSG). Having brought so many players in, who are finally gelling, it seems very likely City is significantly underrated. By the end of the year I think it’s quite likely their rating will be similar to that of United. Looking at the betting markets also suggest City is underrated. While ECI gives a 41 % chance of City winning the league, the markets give about 52-53 %. I would be very interested to know which ECI rating that implies.

    • 14 November 2011 6:03 pm

      True, though from what I’ve gathered on the methodology, the rankings should adjust fairly quickly given their recent form. I think for the vast majority of the league the ECI is applicable, though with one or two exceptions as you say.

  2. John Conlon permalink
    24 December 2011 11:53 am

    I think the prediction from the start of the season are very misleading or inaccurate. City had finished last season strongly with a team which was continuing to gel and improve. City then further strengthened in the transfer window with the addition of Arsenals best player from last season as well as an undoubted world class talent in Sergio Aguero. To have a table expecting that City would achieve 4 points less than the previous season given the points raised earlier is a joke. City finished level on points with Chelsea last year and were on an upward tragectory with Chelsea on a downwards one.

    • 24 December 2011 12:46 pm

      Easy in hindsight, and the Euro Club Index model can’t quantify the impact a new player will have; speculating is left to the supporters (eg. most would’ve predicted Torres would improve Chelsea). You talk about trajectories too – Chelsea scored more points than City in the second half of the season, in the final third of the season and the final quarter of the season.

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