For once in the English Premier League, everything pretty much went according to the ongoing narrative. An undermanned Southampton struggled to contain a big side. Arsenal created chances but only barely escaped with the deserved three points. Manchester United won easily against... oh wait they nearly blew it in stoppage time home to Stoke. And of course Chelsea coasted to an easy win against Spurs.
So everything pretty much keeps moving the same direction. Manchester United does not move ahead of Southampton after a match that, in the end, they barely deserved to win. After controlling the match for 90 minutes with Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia commanding the flanks and forcing Stoke's wide attackers back, suddenly everything broke down. Three big chances later, Stoke had not scored but it took David De Gea standing on his head and a goal line clearance by Young.
So we're still waiting on a really commanding performance by United against opponents other than Hull, QPR or Crystal Palace. Still, this looks like a much better side than they appeared early in the season, and they're moving up the projections after starting very low. I would not be at all surprised to see United coast to fourth place given the talent in the side, but the performance still have not quite been convincing to me. It's going to take still another big step of improvement to make that run.
Elsewhere in the top four race, Spurs lost. It was not an embarrassing performance, exactly, but it was decidedly poor. When your best chances are a defended shot from wide and an off-balance header, you did not have an effective attack. And Chelsea created several big chances. The shot count (12-10 for Chelsea) did not tell the story at all.
This isn't a match that will make anyone radically rethink how good Spurs are. But that's sort of the problem. If Spurs are going to contend for top four, they need to play much better. And so far, we're seeing more 6th to 8th place quality performances than top four. That could change, as the talent is obviously there, but the stats won't pick up on it until the talent leads to consistent, quality play. Sort of the same as United, another tick down.
So on to the numbers.
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||16.0||8.8||13.2||57||+5||0%||0||9%||+2||25%||0%||0|
|West Bromwich Albion||9.5||10.6||17.9||39||-16||0%||0||0%||0||0%||26%||+4|
|Queens Park Rangers||10.3||7.4||20.2||38||-23||0%||0||0%||0||0%||31%||+13|
- It looks like Stoke, Swansea and Everton are forming a No Hopers Club. These teams are too good to be relegated, but neither good enough nor high enough in the table to compete for most of the meaningful positions. Everton might be a bit of a surprise here, but they have worse expected goals statistics than West Ham, Newcastle or Stoke. (If you watched them struggle (and finally fail) to put away Hull, you might be less surprised.) While there still does not seem to be a team that deserves fourth, it will not be easy to coast into sixth for that possible final Europa slot.
- Burnley had another pretty good match, holding Newcastle in check. But ultimately home draws aren't going to move the needle much. Danny Ings has really solid expected goals per 90 for a kid on a terrible team. (0.6 xG + xA / 90, which is nearly as good as Harry Kane.) So that's something for them.
- Hull City is still terrible.