Premier League Projections, Week 25: A New Leader Emerges (Sort of)

Shaun Botterill

As the weeks tick on, I'm running out of ways to explain why I have four clubs well ahead of the rest. No matter, here comes method number eight.

There was a whole lot of movement at the top of my projections. Manchester City inexplicably dropped points away to Norwich City and registered only a single shot on target from inside the box. Liverpool had thoroughly trucked Arsenal within fifteen minutes and ended with one of the more convincing wins of the season. With Chelsea managing another perfectly reasonable win, City's big lead in the title race has nearly been erased. With Liverpool not only taking three points but also again adding to their team quality projection, there is basically no room for fifth place Tottenham. Though Tottenham Hotspur pulled out the victory over Everton, it gained them only two percentage points in projection.

If you want more commentary on these matches, check out my hot stat takes column from yesterday.

For another reminder of who the big four are, here's the table of danger zone shot and shot on target difference.

Club DZ Shots DZ S Conc DZ S Diff DZ SoT DZ SoT C DZ SoT Diff
Manchester City 218 82 136 90 27 63
Liverpool 155 102 53 71 34 37
Arsenal 152 95 57 68 34 34
Chelsea 154 104 50 56 38 18
Everton 130 90 40 50 33 17
Southampton 130 99 31 52 39 13
West Bromwich Albion 128 97 31 44 33 11
Manchester United 150 111 39 52 45 7
Tottenham Hotspur 125 123 2 44 48 -4
Crystal Palace 102 122 -20 38 42 -4
Swansea City 109 128 -19 36 45 -9
Hull City 103 137 -34 35 44 -9
West Ham United 130 144 -14 37 50 -13
Norwich City 122 143 -21 32 48 -16
Newcastle United 104 136 -32 38 54 -16
Aston Villa 94 133 -39 36 52 -16
Sunderland 91 152 -61 33 50 -17
Stoke City 122 135 -13 35 56 -21
Fulham 96 201 -105 41 78 -37
Cardiff City 109 190 -81 32 70 -38

Of course this isn't the whole story. Liverpool have the highest overall shot quality within the danger zone and (relatedly) the league's best big chance difference. Chelsea have a huge shot advantage outside the box, +85 for shots and +42 for SoT, which keeps them solidly in the elite group. Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal are +5, +17, and -20 respectively in shots from outside the box.

Further down, West Bromwich Albion are somewhat flattered by their position in danger zone shot difference, as they are being outshot from elsewhere and highly dependent on crosses for getting shots off from the danger zone. Still, this table still clearly shows why I have West Brom mostly safe from relegation. Newcastle have the largest SoB difference in the league at +103, placing them in the mid-table.

Overall, I think this tells the story pretty well. You can see the top four and the bottom two separated pretty clearly, and you can see Tottenham Hotspur in a mid-table position. Spurs do have good shot and SoT differences from lower-expectation areas, and they're not too dependent on crosses to create shots. So those further stats give them a boost above Crystal Palace at least, but these are still just not the numbers of a Champions League side. Maybe this week will be the week they start playing at that level, but it has not happened yet.

Projections and Power Rankings

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
Chelsea 25 7 6 82 +38 144 98% +1 0% 0 36% +12 1%
Manchester City 25 6 7 82 +57 161 99% -0.5 0% 0 40% -12 1%
Arsenal 24 7 7 78 +30 134 92% -4 0% 0 12% -8 6%
Liverpool 23 8 7 78 +45 159 93% +8 0% 0 11% +6 6%
Tottenham Hotspur 20 8 10 68 +4 114 10% +2 0% 0 0% +0 40%
Everton 18 12 8 66 +16 121 6% -6 0% 0 0% -0 34%
Manchester United 18 8 12 62 +14 123 1% -2 0% 0 0% 0 10%
Southampton 14 13 11 55 +9 111 0% -0 0% 0 0% 0 1%
Newcastle United 16 7 15 55 -2 98 0% -0 0% 0 0% 0 0.5%
Swansea City 11 10 17 43 -5 95 0% 0 2% -2 0% 0 0%
Hull City 11 10 17 43 -7 85 0% 0 3% -7 0% 0 0%
Aston Villa 11 10 17 43 -12 85 0% 0 3% +2 0% 0 0%
West Bromwich Albion 9 14 15 41 -8 93 0% 0 9% +4 0% 0 0%
Stoke City 9 13 18 40 -20 71 0% 0 12% -1 0% 0 0%
Crystal Palace 11 6 21 39 -23 75 0% 0 19% -12 0% 0 0%
Norwich City 9 11 18 38 -25 72 0% 0 26% -4 0% 0 0%
West Ham United 9 10 19 37 -16 67 0% 0 31% -16 0% 0 0%
Sunderland 9 9 20 36 -22 72 0% 0 36% +19 0% 0 0%
Fulham 9 5 24 32 -41 64 0% 0 77% +2 0% 0 0%
Cardiff City 7 10 21 32 -36 55 0% 0 80% +13 0% 0 0%

  • Chelsea project with on average 0.1 more points than Manchester City, but they are less likely to win the title by several percentage points. This is because there's a pretty good chance the two clubs end up tied, and City are nearly certain to win the tiebreaker. I order the table by projected total points, but we see here how average points isn't always the same as average position. The same is true of Arsenal and Liverpool in the 3rd/4th place slots.
  • Wes Brown's red card was horribly damaging for Sunderland, who lost a match home to Hull City that could have secured a pretty safe position for the Black Cats. Instead, with Palace, Norwich and West Ham getting results, Sunderland fall back into the relegation places.
  • As noted above, two clubs (Cardiff and Fulham) seem to be separating out from the pack at the bottom. I'm still holding off on saying they're terrible. Both Cardiff City and Fulham might already be there, but I prefer to wait out another few weeks to see if their frantic transfer windows made a difference.

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