We're #2! By approximately 0.2 points! The dreary nil-nil at Old Trafford cost both Manchester United and Chelsea fractional expected points, and Tottenham Hotspur pounced to take a very tiny lead in second place in my projected table. Obviously the difference between Spurs and Chesea/United is not large enough to actually be meaningful, but it's definitely fun.
My table continues to show an open race among six clubs for the top four slots, and no one is fully counted out as title contenders yet. In my projections, I leave open the possibility that any club might be notably better or notably worse than they appear to be, and over 1,000,000 simulations this adds up to non-zero title chances for a bunch of good sides.
In that spirit, the club I'd like to highlight this week is Roberto Martinez' Everton. They managed only a weak home draw against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, but the underlying stats tell a different story from the scoreline. Along with controlling possession, Everton produced almost all of the game's good chances, with 7 SiBoT, 2 SoBoT and one big chances, against 2/1/0 for West Brom. In their first match, away to Norwich City, Everton likewise had the better of the chances and came away with a draw. Their attack is tied with Manchester City's for the league lead in shots in the box on target with 11. It remains to be seen if the Toffees can keep their relatively thin roster together through the end of the transfer window, but if they do, I wouldn't be shocked to see Everton still in the top four picture at the turn of the new year or later.
Just a reminder that due to rounding, not all the numbers add up perfectly. These projections have wide error bars, a point or two in either direction is basically meaningless. The team ratings from these projections are still based primarily on pre-season numbers, but with each week as the sample increases I increase the importance of performance from this season.
|West Ham United||11||11||16||45||-10||83||0.5%||0||11%||0||0%||0||2%|
|West Bromwich Albion||11||11||16||43||-12||84||0%||0||16%||0||0%||0||.5%|
- Manchester City take a drop from the top of the table after their loss to Cardiff City. This was one of those matches where possession and shots really don't tell the story. While Manchester City had over 55% possession and a 16-9 advantage in shots taken, Cardiff created the better portion of the true goal-scoring opportunities. The Welsh side led with six shots on target, and five of those were from inside the box while Manchester City had only three from close range. Still, one poor game wasn't enough to displace the Sky Blues from their place atop the projected table
- Down at the bottom, though, Cardiff City's win indeed propelled them out of the most likely relegated places. The gap between Sunderland, Stoke and Cardiff remains tiny and they are effectively tied. So far, Cardiff have clearly played the best football of the three, and over time they should rise above the scrum if they keep up their quality of play.
- Newcastle got a bump in my preseason standings from a consistently strong subjective rating of the Magpies as a roughly league average club. So far, this subjective rating has received little support from the club's results. Newcastle have yet to record a single shot on target in the box this year and have created only one big chance. This looks like a legitimately bad club at the moment.
- I still have a whole lot of wide-open races in the projected table, but it looks like the window is already about closed for a true Cinderella run at the top four. Of the low-budget clubs, only Everton now project to any real chance at challenging the big six.
- Hull won with a penalty that doubled as the only shot they put on target from inside the box. They gain a little bit in expectation just by adding three points to their tally, but they're still terrible.