EPL Projections and Previews, Week 32

A weekend just passed in which Tottenham Hotspur were not entirely eliminated from top four contention. Though they do not play in the midweek matches, nonetheless these matches will have a major effect on the club's top four chances.

This weekend's match at White Hart Lane was a paradigmatic game of two halves. As Brett Rainbow showed in his tactical analysis, Spurs brought the necessary pressing game to the second half and changed things entirely. By expected goals, the effects were clear. Southampton's shots were expected to produce one or two goals in the first half, while Spurs created only one particularly good chance. But in the second half Spurs dominated the shot chart, themselves expected to one or two goals while Southampton was fairly shut out. The overall effect was an even match, tilting slightly to Spurs.

As was so often the case during the January hot streak under Sherwood, there are happy stories we can tell about the match. If we can just play as well as we played in the second half, we can make a run. The thing is, that was true against Crystal Palace, against Swansea City, and so on. And those excellent halves did not portend better performances to come. Instead, the sum of the whole match, with the unimpressive parts also included, made for better predictions of future Spurs matches. My stats continue not to discount the bad parts, and continue to see Spurs as a weak club compared to the other contenders and still very long shots for the title.

But it's not entirely over. The chance of making the top four, for both Spurs and Everton, is predicated on an Arsenal collapse. They were throttled by Chelsea on Saturday, and they have a tough home match against Swansea City tonight. If Arsenal lose, Spurs move into some sort of contention. It's not the likeliest outcome, but these are the cards Spurs have dealt themselves.

Arsenal vs. Swansea

Outcome MCofA% Bookie% ARS %Top4 ARS %Title SWA %Rel TOT %Top4
ARS W 58% 61% 95% 1% 8% 1%
D 25% 23% 88% 0.2% 4% 3%
SWA W 17% 16% 83% 0.1% 1% 5%

Arsenal can nearly knock Spurs out with a win and bring themselves back to the 95% mark for Top 4. But dropped points begin to open the door to a shocking comeback.

Newcastle vs. Everton

Of course, the most likely beneficiaries of an Arsenal collapse are the Toffees rather than the Lilywhites. I think Everton's chances of winning at St. James' Park are being oversold by the bookies, but a win would take them to about 1-in-10 for the miracle run at top four. With Romelu Lukaku healthy again and Roberto Martinez' history of hot finishes, I wouldn't write them off.

Outcome MCofA% Bookie% NEW %Eur EVE %Top4
NEW W 37% 29% 2% 3%
D 28% 28% 1% 5%
EVE W 35% 43% 0.2% 11%

Manchester United vs. Manchester City

The Manchester derby is a lot more meaningful for City this year, though United may relish the opportunity to play spoiler. A City win moves them into the driver's seat for the league title.

Outcome MCofA% Bookie% MCI %Title MUN %Top4
MCI W 46% 45% 52% 0.2%
D 27% 27% 34% 0.4%
MUN W 27% 28% 25% 2%

United, like Spurs, can keep hope of a miracle run alive with a win.

Liverpool vs. Sunderland

Outcome MCofA% Bookie% LIV %Title SUN %Rel
LIV W 85% 82% 30% 58%
D 11% 12% 16% 46%
SUN W 4% 6% 10% 27%

This looks like a gimme for Liverpool, but that means that as with last weekend at Cardiff, any dropped points would be disastrous. Liverpool can hurdle almost to the lead in the title race if they win and City lose. They would be at 37% for the title, Chelsea at 39%, in that combination of results.

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 %Eur
Manchester City 26 5 7 83 +60 159 99.8% +0 0% 0 40% +0 0%
Chelsea 25 8 5 83 +46 148 99.9% +0 0% 0 32% +7 0%
Liverpool 25 7 6 82 +55 160 99.8% +0 0% 0 27% -4 0%
Arsenal 23 7 8 76 +24 127 91% -5 0% 0 0.5% -3.5 9%
Everton 19 11 8 68 +15 117 6% +3 0% 0 0% 0 71%
Tottenham Hotspur 20 7 11 68 +3 111 2% +1 0% 0 0% 0 78%
Manchester United 19 8 11 64 +17 121 0.5% +0 0% 0 0% 0 40%
Newcastle United 17 6 15 56 -3 103 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 1%
Southampton 15 11 12 56 +7 116 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 1%
Stoke City 11 12 15 46 -10 83 0% 0 0% -0.5 0% 0 0%
Hull City 12 8 18 43 -6 90 0% 0 0.5% -2.5 0% 0 0%
Aston Villa 11 10 17 43 -12 86 0% 0 0.5% +0.5 0% 0 0%
Swansea City 10 10 18 39 -7 93 0% 0 6% +0 0% 0 0%
West Bromwich Albion 8 15 15 39 -13 89 0% 0 8% +2 0% 0 0%
Norwich City 9 10 19 38 -28 73 0% 0 11% -23 0% 0 0%
West Ham United 9 10 19 37 -15 63 0% 0 12% +2 0% 0 0%
Crystal Palace 10 6 22 36 -24 76 0% 0 28% +5 0% 0 0%
Sunderland 8 10 20 34 -26 69 0% 0 56% +13 0% 0 0%
Fulham 9 4 25 31 -44 59 0% 0 88% +1 0% 0 0%
Cardiff City 7 9 22 31 -38 55 0% 0 90% +1 0% 0 0%
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