Thursday, March 10, 2011

Projected Premier League Champion: Arsenal

In order to project the champion of the Premier League we need to project the score of each remaining game for all teams.  My method takes average goals scored and allowed for each team and compares this to the average goals scored and allowed for all of their opponents to determine the scoring potential for both home and away games for each team.

Let me demonstrate with an example.  Through games ending March 7th Premier League leader Manchester United has scored 39 goals in 14 home games or 2.786 goals per game.  This is the best home goals per game average in the league by a wide margin.  Next best is Newcastle United at 2.133 goals/home game.  Man U's home-game opponents allow an average of 1.689 goals/game in their away games. So when playing at Old Trafford, Man U is scoring 2.786 - 1.689 = 1.096 goals per game more than their opponents typically allow.  This margin between home goals scored per game and opponents road goals allowed per game is the best in the league.  In other words, they are extremely effective scoring goals at home.  They are also quite effective at preventing goals at home.  They have allowed only 0.643 goals/game (9 goals in 14 games) versus opponents that typically score 1.129 goals per game on the road, a margin of 0.486 goals, also the best in the league.  This is all borne out by their home record which is an impressive 13 wins and 1 draw with no losses.

But home games are only half the story.  How do the Red Devils perform in away games?  They are pretty average.  On offense, they score 1.600 goals  versus opponents that allow 1.211 goals at home, a difference of 0.389 goals.  Defensively they allow 1.400 goals against opponents that average 1.510 goals scored, a difference of 0.110 goals.  As a road team Manchester United is decent , but not decisive.  As a result their road record is mediocre with only 4 wins in 15 games to go along with 8 draws and 3 losses.  They crush their opponents at home, but merely break even on the road.  This is their Achilles heel.

Getting back to my opening point of predicting the score of each game, if you take the home team's average home goals scored and compare to the road team's average road goals allowed and adjust for each team's opponent averages, you can estimate the number of goals the home team will score.  Follow a similar process for the road team to estimate the number of goals they will score.  Apply this method to all remaining games and you can project how each team will perform for the balance of the season.  Add these results to the games that were completed and you get a full-season projection!  So without further ado, here are my projected final standings for the Premier League:
2Manchester United382311482394380
4Manchester City382012658332572
5Tottenham Hotspur381910956451167
9Bolton Wanderers381116115353049
10Newcastle United381212145754348
11Aston Villa38139165063-1348
13West Ham United381011174865-1741
14Stoke City38117204150-940
15Blackburn Rovers38117204964-1540
16Birmingham City38816143653-1740
17Wolverhampton Wanderers38107214564-1937
18West Bromwich Albion38910195171-2037
20Wigan Athletic38515183565-3030

Arsenal is currently sitting in second place three points behind Man United.  However, Arsenal is an excellent road team.  They average 2.077 goals scored on the road against opponents that average only 1.031 home goals allowed.  So Arsenal is nearly as effective scoring goals on the road as Manchester United is at home.  Arsenal is also a very strong home team scoring 2.0 goals per game against opponents that allow 1.551 goals.  I think this balance between home and road performance will carry them to the title this year.

The color coding corresponds to UEFA and relegation places for next season.  The top 3 teams will be placed in the UEFA Champions League group stage.  4th place goes to Champions League qualifying and 5th place goes to the UEFA Europa league.  The bottom 3 teams will be relegated to the English League Championship.  I will be updating these projections each week.  I also will be adding projections for other leagues in the near future.  Coming up next, the aforementioned League Championship.

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