Saturday, 8 May 2010

One game to go

So the final day of the season arrives, and for once all clubs have played the same number of matches (just like every Saturday when I was a kid). After spending the entire season no more than four points different to Manchester CIty, Spurs have finally broken free and secured at least fourth place. Reaching third is possible, and the prospect of Arsenal losing to Fulham, who will be focussed on next Wednesday's Europa League final, should be remote, but given their recent poor form Arsenal are capable of losing to Raith Rovers.

Everton have made the clearest recovery during the season, climbing eight places from a shaky start that had them only two places above relegation in November.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Race for Fourth tightens up

Chelsea regain top spot, and Aston Villa and Liverpool are well placed to exploit any slip up from Man City or Spurs in pursuit of fourth place. Despite having to play City, Spurs's run-in is the easiest of the four.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Points Graph 24 April

Yet another twist at the top sees Man United take the lead, at least until Chelsea play their game in hand against Stoke tomorrow. Arsenal's draw with City opens up clear daylight behind the leading pair, and brings them to the same total points score as last season, with two games still to play. Villa have exploit a run of easier opponents, and the four chasers for fourth place are now converging; with Spurs now looking at the easier run-in. Lower down, after being in the relegation mix back in mid February Sunderland have finally bridged the gap and caught Blackburn. Burnley's theoretical chance of avoiding relegation looks to be too much give the strength of their remaining opponents.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Surely in the bag for Chelsea now

New points graph, and with the end in sight the top three have diverged for the first time in weeks after Arsenal and Man United dropped points. Very clear two horse race for 4th place between Spurs and Man City; Spurs have the slightly easier run-in.

games left current points average points of remaining opponents
Man City 5 62 56
Tottenham 5 61 54
Liverpool 4 56 41
Aston Villa 5 55 41

Clegg breaks the mould?

Something not about football. After Nick Clegg's strong showing in the first Leader's TV debate the Betfair markets have responded sharply. The price price of no overall majority is up at the expense of both Labour and Conservative majority. Could be time to sell, since Brown and Cameron will expose Clegg to much greater scrutiny next time round.

Monday, 12 April 2010

The Run-in: Villa not quite out of the fourth-place race

With only a few games remaining in the season, there is much talk on which team has the easiest or hardest run-in, but mainly it is qualitative analysis which makes proper comparisons difficult. A better comparison is to evaluate the strength of the remaining opponents by calculating their average number of points.

Applying this to the four teams in contention for the fourth and final Champions League place shows that Tottenham's run-in, which includes Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester Utd is only a point more difficult than Manchester City's, which includes Manchester Utd, Arsenal and Aston Villa. Liverpool and Aston Villa actually have significantly easier run-ins, but with so few games remaining it will be unlikely to find Villa or Liverpool in the Champions League next year:

average points
games current of remaining
left points opponents
Man City 5 62 56
Tottenham 6 58 57
Liverpool 4 56 40
Aston Villa 6 54 40

At the other end of the table, despite Burnley's heroics last weekend their run-in is the toughest of the five teams in the relegation battle:

average points
games current of remaining
left points opponents
Bolton 5 32 47
West Ham 4 31 48
Wigan 5 31 43
Burnley 4 27 50
Hull 5 27 45

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Premier League Points Graph 10 April

For some time I have been tracking the points of each Premier League team in a graph to see the overall progress of each team, and how a run of good form moves a team past its competitors or a run of bad form causes stagnation and other teams to overtake. I have not seen this published elsewhere so in case there is anyone else out there interested in this, here it is, please click to enlarge. I will publish updates every so often.

Looking at the season so far, what stands out is that the top three Arsenal, Man Utd and Chelsea have broken away since November, opening up a clear gap over the chasing pack hunting down fourth place, which until February had five teams in a jumble of lines. Arsenal's two dramatic recoveries in November and January can also be seen. At the bottom, the pack of six teams above doomed Portsmouth were densely packed in February and then opened out, with Sunderland in particular seeming to break clear, but today's wins for West Ham and Burnley are tightening up that group again.