Who Will Win The Premier League Race?
This has been a weird season for the English Premiere League. While we are fast approaching the end of the season, it will take a brave heart to predict the eventual winner. Ankan Paul is here to do just that – to give you his insight for the EPL title race and answer the evident question who will win the Premier League race with this analytics piece here at Goalden Times.
In the beginning of the year, everyone had predicted a Manchester City, Chelsea 1-2 finish with Manchester United and Arsenal closely behind them fighting for glory. Well guess what a bunch of upstarts marshalled by a clever old fox have taken those predictions and junked them out of the window. And by the February 2016, we have Leicester City vying for top place along with Arsenal while Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City making it to the top four. Nobody could have predicted it – right? So we thought this topsy-turvy season will be perfect to put our statistical model, which predicted top 3 clubs so well, standing midseason in 2013-14, to its toughest test.
Before we go into the prediction itself, let’s first look into some quirkiest revelations that our analysis threw up. We built a form indicator by normalizing the points won by each club. In reality, clubs win three points when they win a match, one point for a draw and zero when they lose. We changed the scale a bit so that now each club gets three points for a win, doesn’t get anything when they draw, and lose three points when they lose a match. This gives a great form indicator for each club and shows how the club performed as the season progressed.
Remember this graph is till 31st December, 2015 when according to the traditional point tally, Arsenal were on top but only on goal difference compared to Leicester, followed by Manchester City and Tottenham. However according to this improvised pointing system, we have accentuated the gaps between a loss and win. And that suddenly throws up Leicester (27) as the leader of the pack followed by Arsenal (24), Tottenham (21) and then Manchester City far behind at 18. It may have looked surprising at that point of time, but suddenly when we look at the table now, even according to the traditional points, a similar standing emerges. Now it must be noted that while this shows a trend of the transient form of the club, by no means this indicates that Leicester are going to be champions. For all we know, Tottenham have had a very strong run off late and if they continue the same rich vein of form this marginal gap with the leaders won’t be much to overcome.
Like last time, we did check for a host of other parameters which indicate a champion team by means of their performance. These parameters have been explained in our earlier article about 2013/14. In the below chart we show how each team are poised in various parameters. The values have been normalized in a scale of 0-1 for better visibility.
After analysing each of the top four clubs’ performance till December end, we found out that Tottenham was ahead of others in parameters like away goal ratio, performance during half time etc. While Arsenal led in win against other top clubs, Leicester was fantastic in reversing a half time result by the final whistle.
But when we put everything together we found out that the team with the best chance to win the 2015-16 season of English Premiere league would be Tottenham. They are projected to put up a strong finish to the season with 32 out of a possible 36 remaining points. Arsenal comes second with 29 points form the remaining matches. Leicester fantastic season will fall apart and they will be joint third with Manchester City on points.
Here we must remind ourselves that any prediction model is based on the assumption of history repeating itself. But reality comes up with surprises every now and then. Who would have predicted the downfall of Manchester United or the catastrophe of Chelsea? That’s the beauty of the game.
It felt a little strange that the data says current table toppers will be struggling for even a podium finish. If that happens, it would be a weird ending to a very strange season. It will be heart breaking for Leicester and their fans if they don’t win the title but regardless of that, Claudio Ranieri’s boys have shown us that dreams do come true, if you fight for it! Football is a magical game and if the data is not able to predict correctly the outcome of the league, we as football lovers would be the happiest lot! After all, who doesn’t like a touch of magic in their lives! Till then, Ciao!
Feature Image Courtesy: Metro
Apply the Prediction Model outcomes to online bookmakers from Football-Bookmakers.com.