With only six Eredivisie matches played, it is still very early days to be attempting to draw conclusions but Dutch TV described FC Utrecht’s start to the season as surprising and I thought it would be interesting to use my simple expected points model to see just how surprising Utrecht’s points total at this stage actually is.
After six matches, FC Utrecht were expected to have approximately eight points according to our simple expected points model. The club actually has 11 which is a 38% improvement on the bookmakers’ assessment of the club’s six matches. However, there are three other clubs who are doing even better.
Leaders FC Twente were expected to have amassed 13 points by this stage anyway as their opening six matches were relatively easy. The 2009/2010 champions have only played one of last season’s top seven clubs so far and the next few weeks will provide more evidence on their championship potential than the first six matches have. Twente have, however, managed to take six more points in these fixtures than the equivalent encounters with the same opposition last season.
Vitesse are another team who have started well but, like FC Twente, their schedule so far has been relatively light as only one of last season’s top seven, Feyenoord, has had to play the team from Arnhem. However, the 14 points Vitesse have accrued is around 40% more than than they were predicted to have at this stage. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that Vitesse took 15 points from these equivalent fixtures last season and are therefore performing no better than last term.
Finally ADO Den Haag whose total of nine points might not appear spectacular but it represents the biggest percentage improvement (over 42%) on the model’s prediction for points at this stage. This is because ADO have already played four of last season’s top half of the Eredivisie in their first six fixtures. Looking at ADO’s equivalent fixtures last season, they only managed to take three points from them as opposed to the nine this term. It will be interesting to keep an eye on them to see if they can challenge for European football again.
All of the above is based on far too small a sample to be concluding too much and I will return to this as the season wears on to discover which clubs really are over- and underperforming in comparison to expectations.