Premier League Projections, Week 15: Movin' on up

Jan Kruger

Tottenham Hotspur won a solid victory away to Sunderland while pretty much all the other top teams dropped points. It wasn't enough to bring Spurs back into the projected top four, but the gap is closed significantly.

The team I want to start off with is Everton. The Toffees and manager Roberto Martínez have been singled out for much praise in the last week after beating Manchester United 0-1 at Old Trafford on Wednesday and then pulling out a 1-1 draw at the Emirates on Sunday. These were obviously good results, and just as obviously Martínez deserves praise for the quality of Everton's play over the full season. But I think there's been a bit of an overreaction to the last couple matches.

Watching Everton play Arsenal, I saw a pretty one-sided match. Sure, Everton had a lot of possession and pressed well in the first half, but their transitions broke down quickly and they didn't seem to have any attacking ideas beyond hoping that this Bryan Oviedo cross would connect with Romelu Lukaku instead of one of the several Arsenal defenders in the box marking him. Arsenal by contrast struck quickly and passed incisively, creating pretty much all the good chances in the match.

While you can't begrudge Everton the individual quality of Gerard Deulofeu's goal, and the same is true of Oviedo's difficult finish at a wide angle against United, overall team attacking play leading to chance creation was lacking in both matches. They just happened to get one good and one astounding game out of Tim Howard as well as some good fortune as both United and Arsenal couldn't finish with their usual efficiency.

For an explanation of the terms below, see my Shot Matrix articles. Here are the stats for ARS-EVE and MUN-EVE:

Match DZ S DZ SoT Wide S W SiBoT SoB SiBoT
ARS v EVE 6 4 3 1 2 1
EVE v ARS 1 0 6 2 5 2
MUN v EVE 8 3 4 2 6 3
EVE v MUN 1 0 6 3 8 2

Four points from two matches in which you manage no shots on target from the danger zone and your opponents notch seven, I feel comfortable saying that's not likely a repeatable performance.

Now, I don't mean to suggest that Everton are undeserving of their place in the table. Up until this week, my numbers had treated Everton as somewhat unlucky to have only drawn away to Norwich City in week one or more recently in the Merseyside Derby at Goodison. Their fortunes seem to have evened out and the Toffees are in reasonably good position to make a run at the top four. But I don't think they really played tremendously well to get there last week.

Projections and Power Rankings

Do remember that because of rounding, not all the numbers necessarily add up quite right.

Club W D L Pts GD Team+ Top4% ΔT4 Rel% ΔRel Title% ΔTitle 5th
Manchester City 24 6 8 78 +52 160 93% -1 0% 0 43% -3 4%
Arsenal 23 8 7 78 +35 142 91% +2 0% 0 36% +3 5%
Chelsea 20 10 8 71 +26 134 61% -11 0% 0 8% -4 16%
Liverpool 20 9 9 70 +29 135 58% +13 0% 0 7% +3 17%
Tottenham Hotspur 19 10 9 68 +13 133 39% +7 0% 0 3% +1 19%
Everton 18 13 7 68 +21 126 39% -1 0% 0 3% -0 19%
Manchester United 17 11 10 63 +16 129 15% -8 0% 0 0.5% -0.5 13%
Southampton 15 12 11 57 +8 109 3% +1 0% 0 0% 0 4%
Newcastle United 15 9 14 55 -5 107 1% +0.5 0% 0 0% 0 2%
Swansea City 14 10 14 52 -3 91 0.5% -0.5 0% 0 0% 0 1%
Aston Villa 12 10 16 46 -8 83 0% 0 3% +2 0% 0 0%
West Bromwich Albion 10 13 14 43 -8 88 0% 0 6% +1 0% 0 0%
Stoke City 10 12 16 42 -12 80 0% 0 8% -6 0% 0 0%
Norwich City 11 8 19 40 -25 72 0% 0 16% -1 0% 0 0%
Hull City 10 10 18 40 -18 67 0% 0 18% -1 0% 0 0%
West Ham United 9 11 18 38 -15 79 0% 0 24% +9 0% 0 0%
Cardiff City 8 11 18 36 -26 65 0% 0 42% +15 0% 0 0%
Fulham 9 7 22 35 -27 68 0% 0 48% -17 0% 0 0%
Crystal Palace 8 8 22 33 -28 64 0% 0 62% -8 0% 0 0%
Sunderland 7 9 22 31 -30 69 0% 0 74% +7 0% 0 0%

  • Finally a good win for Spurs. Given Spurs' 10 shots from the danger zone to Sunderland's 4, I have the expected goals for the match almost exactly 1-2, in line with the score. Spurs pick up a little bit of expected quality, plus almost everyone in the league dropped points. That went well.
  • In my preseason projected table, I initially had Manchester United 5th in the projections. When I added in the subjective component, United jumped into third place. I guess maybe I should have trusted the numbers, but man, it's still hard to believe that United are as poor as they've played this season. But they produced very little against Newcastle, and while perhaps a draw would also have been a fair result, you expect a lot more from United at home.
  • Fulham's rebound from their awful start has been incredible. They bossed Aston Villa on Saturday after being hard done by in a midweek defeat to Spurs. Under Rene Meulensteen, Fulham's underlying numbers have turned from among the worst I've ever seen to downright good. They've averaged 13 SiB under Meulensteen after averagine 3.5 under Jol, while defensively they've dropped from 11 SiB allowed to 7 per match. This can't keep up at these rates, but it looks very possible that Fulham have stopped the bleeding.
  • Another good win for Crystal Palace in the same weekend that Fulham dominate a match start to finish against a solid opponent. Palace are not out of the drop zone by any means, but the competition to survive the season is definitely tightening. Four clubs over 40% chance, with West Ham, Norwich City and Hull City all too close for comfort, especially if Palace and Fulham start picking up points.
  • This leaves me rather at a loss for a final pithy dismissal of a club. But the table is sortable now. The end.

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