A look at the interesting races and team summaries at the top, for the data dump check out the bottom of the post.
The European spots
Let start with Everton. They’ve been simply fantastic, the work David Moyes does at that club year after year is nothing short of remarkable. That being said there’s only a slim chance they finish in the top 4, and 5th is really only an outside chance at this point. They’d have to be a win better than Arsenal over the balance of the season, despite being a worse team and having to face much tougher opposition. Full credit for what is, in all likelihood, another top 6 finish though.
The other three teams are much more interesting. The weakest appears to be Chelsea, and they have pretty difficult opposition remaining. On the other hand a five point cushion over Arsenal is significant (with only twelve games remaining it’s the equivalent of 16 points over a 38 game season). Projecting forward from their qualcompTSR numbers this is how I’d project the 3rd – 6th to look:
They’re pretty much all spaced out by a healthy three point gap, if it weren’t for the fact that Spurs have to face both Chelsea and Arsenal then I’d say they were a certainty but, with that in mind, this one could be tight.
The relegation scrap
QPR are all but gone. The only thing working in their favour is that they face the easiest opposition the rest of the way. Realistically though 7 points is too much to make up. I’ve mentioned it several times on twitter but it’s worth re-iterating here; Rangers were 7 points from safety when Redknapp took charge after 13 games. They still are and the club is in significantly worse shape financially. The fallout from relegation might not be pretty.
Of the other three clubs qualcompTSR suggests that Wigan are the best, and Reading the worst, with Villa somewhere in the middle. Based on their qualcompTSR values to this point this is how they’d be projected to finish.
It’s tight. QPR are expected to gain a bit of ground but are still a significant distance from safety, were they to survive it’d be about as big a shock as Everton finishing in the top four, and Reading suffer because they’ve been a poor team with a ridiculous sh% (35.9% over the last 11 games).
The Wigan/Villa race is essentially a toss up here, and their meeting on the final day of the season could prove to be the difference.
Important matches remaining:
February 23rd: Reading v
Aston Villa Wigan *
March 3rd: Spurs v Arsenal
Wigan Reading v Villa *
April 13th: Chelsea v Spurs
May 19th: Wigan v Villa
That’s it. Five. Only 4% of the remaining matches really mean anything. If you want to be ambitious and add in the three games QPR have against the bottom clubs you’re up to 8 matches (7%). Hurray for the Premiership.
Fulham: Unremarkable, middle of the pack, team.
Liverpool: Similar story to last season – good side that’s getting little in the way of luck. Their sh% has regressed upwards nicely, although their sv% is still low. They should have enough to finish 7th.
Man City: Taken a step back from last season, a large drop in PDO hasn’t helped either.
Man United: Champions. On an incredible run. I can’t explain it.
Newcastle: Karma’s a bitch, a mediocre-to-good team that ranked 5th in PDO last year (link), and are dead last this time around. They’ll be fine.
Norwich: See Fulham but with a little less luck.
Southampton: Another decent team. They’ve been dominant since Pochettino’s arrival (qualcompTSR of 0.723 over four games!), which doesn’t seem to be the result of score effects. They’d probably have been fine under Adkins anyway but, in the early going, the gamble seems to have paid off.
Stoke: Their sv% has come down to earth but has been partly compensated for by an improvement in their sh%. They have the points in the bag to be fine.
Sunderland: Not very good and getting a bit of luck but have enough points in the bag to be safe.
Swansea: have improved over last season. For all the talk of Michu their sh% is only ranked 11th. It’s at the other end of the pitch that they’re getting all their luck.
For the record they’re on pace to score 26 points in the time period that shots suggested they’d score another 30. Not a bad model.
West Ham: See Stoke, but getting average luck.
Finally a collection of the data for each metric. For the top four tables the teams that have seen the largest upturns over the last 11 games are highlighted in green, those who have seen the largest decline are highlighted in orange. The black horizontal lines represent the gaps where the league average values would fall.