Incredibly Simple PL Predictor

Been a big fan of the site for a while, and I am especially enjoying the PL Predictor strength tables by MCofA (because I do love data tables). One thing that I thought was interesting is that there is some level of agreement between what that is currently predicting (Spurs and Liverpool doing better, Chelsea especially doing worse), and an incredibly simple predictor that I use. So I thought I would share!

The rules of the predictor are, as stated, incredibly simple:

1) Make the assumption that every result will be the same as last year

2) Replace the three relegated teams with the 3 promoted teams, in the order they finished (Championship winner replaces 18th position, etc.).

3) As each game is played replace last year's score with this year's and see how the table changes

I've done what is predicted to be the top 6 teams only (apologies to Everton fans). To recap last year:

1 - Man Utd = 89

2 - Man City = 78

3 - Chelsea = 75

4 - Arsenal = 73

5 - Spurs = 72

7 - Liverpool = 61

Man Utd have recorded the same points as in the equivalent games last year, although with different results in different games. A home win over Palace replaces a home win over QPR, but the 0-0 draw with Chelsea was an improvement over the 0-1 loss last year. The away win over the Swans also improved on the draw last year, but this was all undone by the away loss to Liverpool. Still on course for 89pts.

Man City have not had a good time so far, being 3 points down on the equivalent games last year. All results were the same other than the loss to Cardiff (who replaces Wigan). This drops them to a predicted 75pts.

Chelsea are not having a good start. In the equivalent 4 games last year they won all of them for a maximum 12 points. This year the home games have been fine (winning both), but a draw (Man Utd) and a loss (Everton) away sees them giving up 5 points, and reduces them to a predicted 70 points.

Arsenal are also a little behind on last year, despite their great start. Like Chelsea they also won all 4 of the equivalent games last year, but this year an opening day slip up to the Villains sees them 3 points down for a predicted 70 points as well.

Spurs have made a good start this year and on the equivalent of last year as well. The only loss was to Arsenal, but this doesn't hurt the predicted points finish as that was the same result as last year. Meanwhile a home game to Norwich and an away game to Palace (replacing QPR) have been converted from draws to wins. This improves the predicted points from 72 to 76.

Liverpool have also made a great start, especially at home where a loss to Man Utd and a draw with Stoke have been converted into victories. This puts them 5 points up on last year for a predicted points finish of 66.

Now the above table doesn't account for performances or changes of players and managers and styles so it is somewhat limited in its predictability (and not as good as the lovely lovely data tables that are produced here). It also does not extrapolate the differences to last year to give an idea of how much a team has strengthened - but it is probably too early in the season for anything like that to be reliable using this incredibly simple method. The strength of this model is that year on year results do remain largely the same, and it accounts for the strength of the opposition by basing each team individually against what it did last year (like racing against a ghost car of your best track time). This is why Spurs and Arsenal can have the same points tally but for one to be doing better than the other relative to last year.


1 - Man Utd = 89

2 - Spurs = 76

3 - Man City = 75

4 - Arsenal = 70

5 - Chelsea = 70

6 - Liverpool = 66

So Man Utd are the clear favourites so far. I honestly don't think much of their squad relative to the other top 6, but then I didn't really last year either and they romped it. Will be interesting to see whether they start to slip points. Arsenal are predicted 4th ahead of Chelsea on goal difference (yes I am that sad), mainly because they didn't get 8 against Villa. I thought Mourinho coming back would make them favourites but results so far have been poor on the road and it will be interesting to see how their away form develops. There's too little to read into Man City or Arsenal so far; one slip up does not a season break and we're only 4 games in so a single result early on has a bigger impact on the table. But still it is 3 points that they have lost relative to themselves last year, so they will need to improve a result elsewhere to make them back up.

Let me know if this has been useful / informative guys and if so I'll keep it updated every couple of weeks.

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