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What we watch when we're not watching Spurs: Week 33 Stat Preview

What do the spreadsheets say about this week's slate of Spursless games?

Clive Rose

We don't control our own destiny. We never have. This is something that's true of humans, and it's also true in a less interesting sense of sub-elite football teams. Maybe Barcelona can say, who cares what anyone else does, we can just win all the rest of our games and we're good. But Tottenham Hotspur are not Barcelona, and we're only going to make the Champions League with a little help from our, well, not our friends, but the other lesser London football clubs.

This week, both Chelsea and Arsenal play tough games against reasonable opponents, and they really ought to win those games. Nine points from nine for the two clubs would put them both in excellent shape to make the Champions League, and really would be a quite bad result for Spurs. I have also included Everton here in the numbers because a six-point week for Everton would bring them into real contention.

Week 33 Game Projections

Club G GA %W %D %L
Arsenal v NOR 2.2 0.9 68% 18% 13%
Arsenal v EVE 2.3 1.5 55% 20% 25%
Chelsea @ FUL 1.8 1.3 49% 23% 28%
Everton v QPR 2.6 1.1 69% 16% 15%
Everton @ ARS 1.5 2.3 25% 20% 55%

Spurs are once again counting on a safe mid-table side to take a moment out of their busy schedule and play some actual football. West Bromwich Albion were up to the task last week, except for that pesky goal-scoring part of playing football. Hopefully Dimitar Berbatov and Fulham can get all aspects of it right this Wednesday.

Top 4 Projections

For the effects of these outcomes on clubs' top four chances, I've added some new columns. You—well, for non-Sabrina values of "you"—don't care all that much about the comparative chances of Arsenal or Chelsea making the Champions League. You care how it affects Tottenham. So now the tables have that.

Because both Arsenal and Everton play twice in the next several days, I've listed their projected top 4 chances (and the projected Spurs top 4 chances based on game outcomes) based on their record over the two games. So, what is Arsenal's chance at top 4 if they win twice? If they win one and draw one? And so on. I hope it's reasonably clear. I wasn't totally sure how best to display this information, so I ended up with three separate tables. First for Chelsea:

Chelsea 80% 65% 53%
Tottenham Hotspur 50% 56% 62%

Next for Arsenal:

Outcome ARS 2-0-0 ARS 1-1-0 ARS 1-0-1 ARS 0-1-1 ARS 0-0-2
Arsenal 87% 70% 56% 33% 18%
Tottenham Hotspur 47% 55% 58% 69% 69%

Finally for Everton:

Outcome EVE 2-0-0 EVE 1-1-0 EVE 1-0-1 EVE 0-1-1 EVE 0-0-2
Everton 24% 9% 3% 1% 0%
Tottenham Hotspur 59% 60% 51% 54% 52%

As you can see, even though an Everton win over Arsenal would put them into contention, it would still be a much better outcome for Spurs than an Arsenal win. Six points for Everton would legitimately launch the Toffees into the race, but they basically need six if they want to make a run.

It's a little bit crazy how widely Arsenal's numbers can swing, from one in five to four in five. I guess when you play two of your remaining seven games in four days, it's not unreasonable that the effect could be very large. I should note that those really bad Arsenal numbers on 0-1-1 and 0-0-2 are based on quite unlikely outcomes. I have the chances of Arsenal taking one or zero points at about 13%.

I project the chances of this being a frustrating weekend at roughly three in four and the chances of this being a stressful weekend approach asymptotically to 100%.