In a week with some eye-brow raising results the best surprise, for some, came from Spurs taking three points from Arsenal.
I won’t dig into that game too much; 7amkickoff.com already do a great job telling the tales for the Gunner supporters. If you’re a Gunners supporter you should follow Tim @7amkickoff and read what he and Naveen, along with others, provide on a daily basis.
For now I’ll just focus how things went over the weekend and what outcomes you may expect given next week’s games.
In taking a direct lift from last weeks article/prognostications I’ve added whether the team did or didn’t earn points:
Spurs are up against Arsenal – Arsenal should earn the points; they didn’t.
Aston Villa versus Chelsea – Chelsea should earn the points; they did.
Leicester City against Crystal Palace – close one hear but Leicester City should earn the points; they didn’t and their Coach was sacked – wait – oh – no he wasn’t!
Manchester City against Hull City – Manchester City should earn the points; they did – but not maximum points as most EVERYONE in the world would have expected!
QPR versus Southampton – Southampton should earn the points; they did.
Swansea City against Sunderland – Swansea should earn the points – but – Defoe has already scored a goal and the CPWP Index does not accurately account for what influence Defoe may have. Swansea earning a point and so did Sunderland!
Everton versus Liverpool – Everton should earn the points; they did – but so did Liverpool.
Burnley against West Brom – West Brom should earn the points; they did, but so did Burnley.
Newcastle versus Stoke City – Stoke City should earn the points – but given the fractional difference between the teams a draw is likely as well. Stoke City did earn a point, AND, as noted from last week this game was a likely draw – it was.
West Ham United against Man United – Man United should earn the points. They did – but just one, and they eked that out in stoppage time… a big disappointment for the Hammer supporters I’m sure as it was Manchester blowing bubbles after this one and not West Ham.
All told, the CPWP Predictability Index was correct in identifying seven out of the ten teams to earn points.
That’s two weeks running where the results have come very close to what was predicted.
Some may say using a prediction model to predict points (and not wins) isn’t proper cricket – well it’s not – in my opinion it’s recognizing football for what it is – a game where sometimes getting a point has just as much value as getting three points.
Moving on to the Possession with Purpose Index through Week 24. Here’s how the teams stand this week:
The changes from last week include Liverpool moving ahead of Everton and West Brom edging past Aston Villa; otherwise all quiet on the English front.
If we cast back as far as Week 21 Spurs are the team that’s moved the most – shifting up two places moving past both West Ham and Swansea.
For next week:
Arsenal v Leicester City: Arsenal should earn points.
Does anyone really expect the outcome of this match to be in question? That said perhaps there’s a bow-wave effect with the sacking and unsacking of Nigel (can’t keep a player down, oh yes I can) Pearson…
Hull City v Aston Villa: Hull City should earn points.
I can see this one ending in a draw given the potential let down Hull has after stealing a point from Man City last week. Aston Villa have won more times away from home than Hull City has won at home; pathetic.
Figure plenty of faces from Steve Bruce and some tense times for Paul Lambert – it is likely a loss here, to Hull City, will add another nail to his coffin… I wonder how Paul Lambert would do managing a team in Major League Soccer?
Sunderland v QPR: Sunderland should earn points.
If you recall from my article on Busting the Myth of Moneyball in Soccer, Sunderland was one of those teams that had a great correlation of earning points relative to worse passing accuracy. In other words the worse their passing completion rate the more likely they were to win.
That hasn’t changed in the last two weeks – so look for Sunderland to tank a few passes on purpose… and with playing QPR that may be hard to do… Nevertheless I think Sunderland can do that because QPR simply doesn’t win (at least not since Week 17) and they actually have fewer draws than wins this year… oh my.
Liverpool v Spurs: Liverpool should earn points.
Liverpool are on a run of late – taking 10 of 12 points and they haven’t dropped three points since game 16 against Man United. Spurs, on the other hand are getting better at scoring goals relative to shots on goal. All told that ratio has an R2 of .61 compared to points earned. Liverpool will need to make an extra effort to contain that guy named Kane.
Man United v Burnley: Man United should earn points.
Can anyone really expect Burnley to pull at least one point here? I don’t see it happening. In looking at their team performance this year there doesn’t appear to be any pattern to them earning points.
Southampton v West Ham: Southampton should earn points.
The ideal operating conditions for West Ham see them maximizing points earned when they average between 42% and 55% possession – in those 11 games they have taken 26 out of 33 points… perhaps a better predictive model for West Ham is trying to figure out how much possession they will have given their next opponent?
The worst operating conditions for West Ham appear when falling below 42% possession; in those 10 games they have taken just eight points out of 30. They play Southampton next week and the Saints average 52.61% possession – in looking at that same bell curve (42% – 55%) for Southampton they’ve taken 21 out of 30 possible points.
This could be a great game to watch for tactical nuance, especially since the last time these two played Southampton took all three points with 62% possession. You can bet Sam Allardyce will have learned from that – now it’s time to see if Koeman can change things up and get three points again… the gum will be madly chewed next week…. anyone got any Bazooka Joe they can spare? Or do they even sell that anymore???
Chelsea v Everton: Chelsea should earn points.
Everton are probably the best team at getting nothing from something. They have just six points out of their last four games and it’s pretty clear they are not making a run for Europe next year. I wouldn’t expect Chelsea to give them an real opportunities next week – the Blues will probably be chewing Toffee candy for a full 90 minutes.
Stoke City v Man City: Man City should earn points.
Man City have pulled just 3 points out of their last four games – I’ll not say there is a pattern there but it is intriguing that patience is usually a good thing for Man City – with only breaking 11% once in Shots Taken per Penetrating Possession the last four games I think it is time City start to pull the Shots Taken trigger a bit more. Otherwise they could take a heavy loss of three points against an under-valued Stoke City.
Crystal Palace v Newcastle: Newcastle should earn points.
Crystal Palace do great when they have minimal possession – but they also do crap as well – their accuracy ratings are all over the board but they have won three times in their last four games – perhaps the pattern trying to emerge comes from the new leadership the team has under Alan Pardew?
West Brom v Swansea: Swansea should earn points.
West Brom average winning once in about every 5 games – they took three points in Week 5, Week 10, Week 16, and Week 21. It’s not Week 26 yet so it’s unlikely Albion take three points here.
In reviewing Swansea, they are a team searching to find a way to win more regularly in the BPL; hopefully they can travel to the midlands and earn some points… and seeing that they’ve only taken 3 points 3 times in away matches this year this might be a game where West Brom come into it thinking they can take three points themselves…
Should be a good battle even though West Brom have struggled… a draw here would probably see both teams feeling better about not dropping points as neither team can be expected to do anything but finish mid-table or lower.
I’ll be putting together some articles later this week looking at the Predictability Indices for La Liga and the Bundesliga.
If you’re a Head Coach in England, and you’re constantly on the hot coals battling job security based upon promotion and relegation, why not pull up your stakes and head to the States…
It’s here, without promotion and relegation, that you are more likely to be able to run the type of tactical system you want to run – and it’s also reasonable to expect that you’ll be able to have a team with roughly the same balance of player skills as everyone else…
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