So I want to talk about the top four. The projections continue to show a big gap between fourth and fifth, with Arsenal and Liverpool sitting reasonably safely in Champions League qualifying position and Spurs, Southampton, Everton and United trailing them by significant margins.
It should be noted here that this is far from a guarantee of a repeat top four from last year. Even if my projections were perfect--and they are far from that-- this would imply a roughly 40 percent chance that Chelsea, City, Liverpool and Arsenal finish top four in some order.
But nonetheless, it looks weird. Certainly, this shows far more separation between the top teams than we see in the actual table. So Everton excepted, my projections are saying that the 5th-8th teams are likely to take fewer points from their future matches than Arsenal and Liverpool.
Is this simply because of last season? I am increasing the weight on 2014-2015 stats by about five percentage points every week, so I am still using for my team projections a cocktail that is about two-thirds 2013-2014 stats, past payroll and 2012-2013 stats. Since teams like Liverpool, Southampton and Manchester United have seen a lot of talent turnover while Tottenham Hotspur sacked the worst manager in world football history, perhaps I'm overweighting past results.
And I should note, I might be. Weighting of past events for projection is complicated, and I don't have the data to do a robust analysis.
But for this season, making more use of 2014-2015 stats would not change much. Although Arsenal and Liverpool have won only five matches between them, the two clubs have put up significantly more impressive underlying stats than most of their competitors.
So there's a clear gap between the top five and the following three. If you adjust for schedule, Manchester United fall back to about even with Everton. They've played an insanely easy schedule so far. A merely average side would have been projected to take over 11 points from this slate of matches. Manchester United's point total is quite misleading. They may improve, but they will have to improve a lot if they want to challenge for third or fourth place.
The one team which has the underlying stats to compete, early on, is Southampton. But the Saints are held back in my projections both by their merely good numbers from last year and by their far smaller payroll. As my gut feel is that Southampton are being overrated rather than underrated in the projections, increasing the weight on 2014 data would not "fix" the problems here.
Spurs and their compatriots just need to play better. That's how they'll move up the projected table.
Premier League Projections
- Full metholodogy, don't forget to click on "Methodology" for lots of math.
- EPL Advanced Statistics page, with many of the component stats for these projections.
- Because of rounding, the numbers may not all add up quite right.
|West Ham United||13.7||9.1||15.2||50||-2||0%||0||2%||+1||10%||3%||-4|
|Queens Park Rangers||9.1||8.3||20.6||36||-29||0%||0||0%||0||0%||52%||+14|
- Because of a bug in my spreadsheet, I've been overprojecting Burnley. The Clarets sure are looking like prime relegation fodder.
- They're now joined by QPR, who with another utterly dire defensive performance have dropped into the bottom group as well. QPR's 12.5 expected goals conceded is by a good margin the worst number in the EPL, and betting on the league's worst defensive side to be relegated (hello Reading and Fulham) is usually a smart call.The main reason I hesitate is that I don't think QPR should be this awful. They look like a bad team with an uninterested manager, to me, more than they look like an awful team in concept. An early sacking, I think, is called for at Loftus Road.
- And yes, that's Newcastle again in good position. They stormed back to a solid draw at Swansea, and they continue to create chances at a very good rate. I'm still not selling on Alan Pardew's club.