By Richard Gordon
Experts are stumped, couch-critics are confused, and Leicester fans are over the moon. What on earth is happening in the 2015/16 season of the English Premier League? It seems as though I’ve completely lost the ability to pick a result, with both my TAB account and Twitter-picking rankings suffering. I can’t be the only one. It’s as though there’s a secret clause in the TV Rights contract that a minnow must win the Premier League every 20 years.
Not one of the big teams want it – everyone thought it was Arsenal’s to lose until they went and lost to a team in 14th. All that’s done is put Leicester back on top. Working out who’s going to win is a nightmare. With conventional reasoning out the window, can cold hard stats help us out?
Requisite Warnings (Only read if you’re unlucky enough to support Newcastle or really enjoy stats): I am only analysing the current top 7. If you don’t support one of those sides, do the research for me and I will edit the article. I’m basing my stats after 23 games each season for the last 5 seasons. Rounding is to the nearest point. If I’ve made a mistake, congratulations, you have far more spare time than you need.
Stat #1 – Average Points after 23 Games.
In 15/16, the top four currently have an average of 44 points, and the top 7 have an average of 41. Where does this stack up to the same point in previous years? Are we scoring less points? You probably know the answer but let’s look at the stats.
|Season||Top 4 Average||Top 7 Average|
Top 4 and Top 7 team’s average points tally after 23 games
Not surprisingly, this season has the average points for both the top 4 and top 7 for this stage in the season for the past five. Leicester on 47 points would only be an above average top 4 tally once in the last 4 seasons. In fact in 2013/14, their current points tally would only be good enough to be the average top 7 points tally. However it’s hard to draw any conclusions from this (except maybe everyone is shit this season).
So what next? With the average points down, does that mean the top 4 and top 7 will be more competitive, with teams bunched on the points table?
|Season||Difference 1 -> 4||Difference 1 -> 7|
Difference in points between 1st and 4th and 1st and 7th after 23 games
This table clearly shows that the top 4 and top 7 are the most competitive they’ve been in years. This is obviously fantastic news for not only neutrals, but for any team in the top 7. It’s so hard to pick a winner, that even Spurs fans are slightly getting their hopes up (cue: ‘spursy’, but that’s another story). I genuinely believe that any team currently in the top 7 (excluding Liverpool who are just too far behind, and West Ham for reasons that will soon become obvious) have a shout at winning the league. Yes, that includes Louis Van Gaal’s boredom bunch.
Incidentally whilst we are speaking stats, Manchester Utd has the lowest recorded shots-on-target count out of ANY team in the FL72, when playing at home.
So what next – how do we try and predict who’s going to win? Well, I have to delve deeper into the murky numbers that is Premier League stats. The next table will go some way to predicting where your top 7 club (again, sorry Newcastle) will finish in 2015/16. I have also included Chelsea for no reason whatsoever.
|Team||Points After 23 Games||Average Points Gained in last 15 Games of Season||Predicted Final Tally|
Please bear in mind this does not count for statistical anomaly’s, such as Liverpool’s 38 points in the last 15 games in 13/14, or West Ham’s 11 points in the last 15 games in 14/15.
You will also note that Leicester is not on that list. Because as handy as stats can be, I’m 100% positive that they will provide no help whatsoever in predicting what Leicester are going to do or where they are going to finish. So there you go, we’ve (kind of) analysed the unexplainable.
All complaints to @sportsfreakconz
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