Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Stats and Projections for Sunderland

Paul Gilham

Tottenham Hotspur travel north to face Sunderland. This is another away match against a relegation side that Spurs really ought to win pretty easily. After Sunderland comes Liverpool, and then the holiday glut. I have projections for Spurs over the next six as well as the numbers on Sunderland.

After a 3-0 spanking by West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland fired insane fascist Paolo Di Canio and replaced him with Gus Poyet. Sunderland at the time had one point from five matches; under Poyet since they've managed seven from nine. That's improvement, but it's really not that much improvement.

I have Sunderland's underlying stats staying pretty much stable under Poyet compared to previously under Di Canio. Here's the data, listed in rates per match.

Sunderland Managerial Splits

Split DZ Shots DZ SoT Wide SiB Wide SiBoT SoB SoBoT
Di Canio (Attack) 3.4 1.0 2.2 0.4 7.0 0.8
Di Canio (Defense) 5.4 2.8 2.2 0.8 5.6 1.0
Poyet (Attack) 3.0 1.2 1.2 0.2 5.4 1.1
Poyet (Defense) 5.4 1.4 1.8 0.8 10.0 2.6

Probably the biggest differences between them are (1) Poyet has his defense allowing a higher percentage of shots from long range and (2) Sunderland's opponents against Poyet have struggled to put their best shots on target. The rate of shots from the danger zone hasn't changed, but the rate at which they've been put on target has dropped by half. I could definitely tell a just-so story about this data—if Poyet is packing the box with defenders, that would both lead to more long-range attempts and a lower rate of SoT inside the box. But in six or nine games, it could also just be randomness. And further, if Poyet's Sunderland are packing the box, why are opponents still getting just as many shots from dangerous areas

My null hypothesis would be that the Black Cats just aren't very good, and they've been not very good under two different managers over 14 matches. But maybe there's a little something there.

Projections for Sunderland-Spurs

TOT W D SUN W
MCofA Projection 55% 28% 17%
Bookie Projection 50% 28% 22%
Top 4% 38% 27% 22%

As with last week, this is a match Spurs should win. So if you want to see Spurs' odds of making top four climb back over 50%, it's going to take more than just winning this one. But not winning this one, that would be bad.

Projections for December

The holiday fixture glut is nearly upon us, and Spurs have fallen to the edge of contention with our recent poor performances. A series of winnable games follow. Spurs really need to start a winning streak if we're going to contend this year, and by my numbers something like 12 points out of 18 is a lot more likely than 15. But under 14 leaves Spurs under 50/50 to qualify for the Champions League. We need wins.

  • Points is the number of points, 0-18 with 17 excluded as impossible, that Spurs might take over the next four matches.
  • %Chance is the odds of Spurs taking that many points from the next four matches in my simulator.
  • %Top 4 is the odds of Spurs making top four after taking X points from the next six games, and %Title is the same but for the EPL title.
Points %Chance %Top 4 %Title
<4 1% 2% 0%
4 1% 4% 0%
5 3% 6% 0%
6 4% 8% 0%
7 7% 11% 0.1%
8 9% 16% 0.2%
9 10% 21% 0.4%
10 13% 26% 0.7%
11 13% 33% 1%
12 10% 39% 2%
13 12% 46% 3%
14 7% 55% 4%
15 4% 60% 5%
16 5% 69% 8%
18 1% 80% 14%

I hope we win. And then I hope we win. And so on.

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