That was a must-win for Spurs. Before the festive period began, I identified that Spurs needed 6-7 points from their three matches to remain in the top four race. I thought that made Manchester United basically a must-win, and I was not feeling very good about the club after that draw. But then came Chels53. Oh man.
Expected goals did not actually love Spurs' performance in the match, as it was driven by a penalty and some fantastic finishing by Harry Kane, while Chelsea created several big chances in their push to get back in the match. But taking three points from Chelsea is a bigger deal in the projections than getting slightly out-expected-goals'd.
That said, the club that really made a push over the festive period was Southampton. Ronald Koeman's side needed six points just like Spurs, and the Saints hung with Chelsea, then dominated Arsenal thoroughly en route to their own unbeaten run. I think these results fully established that Southampton are not going to fade away easily.
The race for top four remains wide open, especially as Manchester United failed to see the opportunity provided by three matches against mid-table competition.
On the other side of things, it's getting bleak on Merseyside. Liverpool really needed nine points from their incredibly soft holiday schedule, and while some doubtful penalty calls preserved a draw, that result against bottom-dwellers Leicester City is a problem. And Everton, whose underlying statistics have remained very poor all year, were actually beaten quite soundly by Hull City. Dropped points to the league's worst clubs have put Liverpool far from the the leaders in the top four race and dropped Everton into the noticeable fringe of the relegation fight.
Let's go 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||15.2||9.6||13.3||55||+4||0%||0||4%||-2||20%||0%||0|
|West Bromwich Albion||9.3||11.0||17.7||39||-15||0%||0||0%||0||0%||28%||+2|
|Queens Park Rangers||10.3||8.4||19.3||39||-20||0%||0||0%||0||0%||28%||+6|
- Hull City and Leicester are making it a little bit hard to call anyone quite terrible. But they aren't good.
- Stoke City have not quite put up the big results that their very good underlying statistics project. But that draw against United—in which they clearly deserved a penalty as well—shows their quality. That's a chance of relegation already rounded down to the zero for the Potters.
- West Ham United had a nightmare holiday. Needing a win against a top club plus one against a struggling West Brom, the Hammers limped to just a single point. Where once this was a club with a shot at a great top four season, now even 5th or 6th seems like it could be sinking out of reach. The festive period can be difficult for smaller clubs, and as well as Southampton negotiated it, the Hammers equally ended up beaten. Finally, I have my quickie projection for Crystal Palace. Spurs are favored, but Crystal Palace's defense rates as an above average unit in the EPL, and it won't necessarily be easy. It wasn't last time!