West Brom underdogs in “giantkilling” for third time

The most immediately eye-catching result of this year’s FA Cup fifth round has to be Reading’s 3-1 defeat of Premier League West Bromwich Albion. Reading are languishing in 16th position in the Championship while West Brom look all but safe for another season in the Premier League. Take a closer look though and we find that Reading were the favourites to win this tie despite being 22 places lower in the league. Not only that but this is the third time in the last eight seasons that West Brom have gone out of the FA Cup to a Championship team who were the bookies’ favourites against them. Continue reading

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Introducing logic into title-race predictions

During my trip to London this week, I picked up a copy of The Times and discovered that the newspaper’s resident stats man Bill Edgar had predicted the remaining 13 matches of the Premier League season for the current top-five using a simple model. From this process, he named Manchester City as this season’s champions, ahead of Leicester City on goal difference. Comparing his projection to a number of other models, both simple and complex, reveals a number of interesting differences. Bill’s approach is more logical than most media predictions but can he do better than these models? Continue reading

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What wins: Expert intuition or statistical analysis?

This is a guest post by Chad Murphy (@soccermetric)

Most readers of this blog probably already know, but Simon Gleave (@SimonGleave) and Steve Lawrence (@SteveLawrence_) have been running a competition, comparing the accuracy of pre-season EPL predictions for a variety of people. The competition includes over 90 fans, prominent members of the media, and statistical modellers, and the results have really been interesting. I wanted to look at one aspect in particular: what types of predictions have been the most successful? Put another way, do statistical models beat intuition of experts?

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Why Chelsea are not (and have never been) relegation candidates

Posting odds on relegation to Twitter is guaranteed to elicit responses like “where are Chelsea?” or “what no Chelsea”. However Chelsea are not, and have never been close to being, relegation candidates this season. This is because, despite Chelsea being low in the Premier League table, it would take an incredibly unlikely set of circumstances for them to go down.

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China and England the two big winter transfer window players

This post is a collaboration between Scoreboard Journalism and Show Legend, a data visualisation blog which provided the idea and the graphs and plots. You can click on these for the full interactive version. The data is sourced from Transfermarkt.com. All data is up to date as of 2 February 2016 and includes Jackson Martinez’s big money move to Guangzhou which makes China the biggest net spenders ever in a winter transfer window.

The winter transfer window has now closed in most countries and China’s net spend of €156.12 million is not only the highest of all countries in this window but also breaks the record for a winter transfer window of €106.82 million, set by all English clubs back in 2008. This is not the end of the story though as Chinese clubs from all divisions still have nearly three weeks to go before their window closes and their current net spend this winter could still grow further. Chinese clubs have become the first to have the highest net spend in three successive winter transfer windows. Continue reading

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Again no FA Cup third round shock

This year’s FA Cup third round is now complete and, for the second year in a row, there hasn’t been a genuine shock result at this stage of the competition. This season and last join 2004/2005 and 2011/2012 as the only seasons without an FA Cup third round shock.

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Premier League rich but performs below par

The Deloitte Money League has been released and unsurprisingly, the Euro Club Index ranking, which rates clubs based on performance, is highly correlated with this annual ranking of wealth. Four of the top-five clubs on the Deloitte list are also in the Euro Club Index top-10. Manchester United are the big exception at third in the Money League but ranked only 13th by the Euro Club Index. Another Premier League club, Liverpool, are the ninth richest in the world but are currently only just hanging onto a place in the Euro Club Index top-25. All nine Premier League clubs in Deloitte’s top-20 richest are ranked lower by the Euro Club Index.
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