Wednesday, December 23, 2009

EPL Pre Boxing Day Rankings Update

In a week that featured a midweek matchday, there were a lot of interesting results. Most surprising was probably Fulham getting a 3-0 home win against Manchester United. Fulham getting a win over Man U at Craven Cottage isn't too surprising by itself but the scoreline is. Granted, United have had a lot of injury issues lately, and the score was unfair but the result is still eye-opening. The other big upset I suppose was Liverpool losing 2-0 to Portsmouth. It's similar to Fulham - Man United in that it's not the most amazing result ever but still unexpected. Liverpool have been hemorrhaging points lately, and in my view Portsmouth aren't as bad as their points or status at the bottom of the table indicate.

The big winners of the week were probably Spurs and Aston Villa. While all the other clubs near the top faltered, both got the job done. Spurs ran through Manchester City in the midweek with an impressive 3-0 win. Having watched this one I think the scoreline was fair; Tottenham dominated for most of the match. They wrapped things up with a 0-2 win at Blackburn. Villa's two wins weren't particular impressive, 0-2 at Sunderland and 1-0 against Stoke City but they count all the same and the other teams around them, Spurs excepted, all slipped up.

Here are the updated rankings. I'm including more info on the first chart. These are the rankings based only on the number of goals in each match:

EGF - expected goals for
EGA - expected goals against
EGD - expected goal differential
Change - change in expected goal differential from last rankings (14 Dec)
expected goals for/against are the average number of goals scored/conceded by the club if they all played a new season at the level shown so far by all results.

Here is the rankings based on stats as well as results:

EP is the expected number of league points if they played a new season at the level shown so far. Change is the change in expected points since I posted the last rankings on 14 December.

One of the nice features of adding stats is that because there is more information they are less prone to move based on one or two good or bad matches. You can see that above, though keep in mind that a difference of 1 goal in goal differential is a change of about 2/3 of a point. Even taking that into account the average difference is about 3 times as large in the goals-only model compared to the one that also uses match stats.

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