EPL

Can Man Utd or City dethrone Liverpool? Will Chelsea get top four? - Stats Perform AI completes Premier League season

By Sports Desk January 25, 2021

Liverpool's shock home defeat to Burnley was sort of emblematic of the odd times football, and indeed wider society, continues to live through.

The Reds had not suffered defeat in a Premier League fixture at Anfield since April 2017 – a staggering run of 68 home matches – prior to Ashley Barnes' penalty securing a famous three points for the Clarets.

It leaves Jurgen Klopp's defending champions six points adrift of the top at a time when rivals Manchester City and Manchester United – who beat the Reds in the FA Cup on Sunday – are absolutely flying.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic means this season has been another strange one, with congested schedules, hastily rearranged fixtures and empty stadia becoming the norm.

It has meant that the dominance City and Liverpool have had in their recent title wins has been difficult to replicate this term and thrown the race for the trophy wide open.

Fans and pundits will continue to have their say on who will sit top come the end of the season, and the Stats Perform AI team have also crunched the numbers to predict the champions for the 2020-21 campaign.

With the majority of the 20 teams having reached the halfway stage of the league season, they have simulated how the rest of the season may play out.

The data model estimates the probability of each match outcome – either a win, draw or loss – based on each team's attacking and defensive quality.

Those ratings are allocated based on four years' worth of comprehensive historic data points and results, with more weighting given to recent matches to account for improvements or declines in form and performance trends.

The AI simulation takes into account the quality of the opposition that a team scores or concedes goals against and rewards them accordingly.

All that data is used to simulate upcoming matches using goal predictions from the Poisson distribution – a detailed mathematical model - with the two teams' attacking and defending ratings used as inputs.

The outcome of the season is then simulated on 10,000 different occasions in order to generate the most accurate possible percentage chance of each team finishing in their ultimate league position.

Without further ado, let's have a good look at the results of the simulation with the predicted final league table.

CITY TRIUMPH WITHOUT THE DOMINANCE OF PAST TITLE WINS

The results in our model show City have an 82.1 per cent chance of winning the title, and doing so with 84 points. 

By recent standards that would represent a rather modest total. City won back-to-back titles in 2017-18 and 2018-19, the former seeing them rack up a competition record 100 points and following up with 98 in the latter.

Indeed, it would represent the lowest tally since Leicester City's famous triumph in 2015-16 when the Foxes earned 81, but there have been eight occasions of teams topping the table with fewer than 84.

City are on a 17-match unbeaten run across all competitions and if they can continue that form, Guardiola's serial winners will take some stopping.

UNITED PIP REDS AND SPURS TO SECOND AS FOXES SLIP AWAY

While the model tips City to ultimately win the title relatively comfortably, the "race for second" is certainly not clear cut.

According to our predictor, Manchester United – currently top of the table having played a game more than City – will fall off the title pace but still finish second on 75 points (a 40.2 per cent chance).

Liverpool are in a poor run of form but are tipped to recover from their recent malaise to secure a third-place finish on 73 (while the simulator still gives the Reds a 26 per cent chance for second and a five per cent shot at retaining the title).

Interestingly, Jose Mourinho's Tottenham side came fourth in our outcome on 70 points, three above Brendan Rodgers' Leicester City side who are only two adrift of United in the real-life table.

Frank Lampard's future at Chelsea is sure to face more scrutiny if a predicted finish of sixth, 22 points adrift of City, comes to fruition.

Everton, Arsenal, West Ham and Aston Villa completed the top 10 in the sim.

BLADES NOT THE WORST EVER AS BAGGIES, FULHAM HEAD BACK DOWN

It has been a miserable first half of the season for Sheffield United, who have taken only five points from 19 matches.

Should Chris Wilder's side replicate that over the next 19 they would record the lowest tally ever in a Premier League season.

Our predictor has the Blades finishing rock bottom, but fans can take some solace from the fact they are tipped to do so on 24 points. Indeed, our sim still gives them a three per cent chance of finishing 17th and a 0.1 per cent of the dizzying heights of 15th...hey, you never know!

The reading is no better for two sides promoted from the Championship last term in West Brom and Fulham.

Sam Allardyce was the man drafted in by the Baggies to replace Slaven Bilic and continue his record of never being relegated from the Premier League, but under this model West Brom are headed for a 19th-place finish on 26 points.

In our league, Fulham – promoted by the playoffs last term – pick up 28 and return immediately to the second tier as well. That would at least be two more than the 26 they gained when relegated in the 2018-19 campaign.

West Brom's chances of reaching 17th and survival are rated at just 5.6 per cent, while Fulham are given a little more hope at 11.2 per cent.

Brighton and Hove Albion (37), Newcastle United (41), Burnley (42) and Crystal Palace (44) are all tipped to safely beat the drop, while Leeds United – champions of the Championship last term – are predicted for a 12th-place finish and 49 points.

Related items

  • Suns and Devin Booker finalising four-year, $214m supermax extension Suns and Devin Booker finalising four-year, $214m supermax extension

    Devin Booker has established himself as one of the game's elite players, and now he is going to be paid like one. 

    Booker and the Phoenix Suns have agreed to terms on a four-year, $214million supermax contract extension, according to multiple reports.

    The extension will begin after the two years and $70m Booker has remaining on his current deal signed in 2019. 

    Among the NBA's most consistent scorers, Booker has been an All-Star each of the last three seasons and finished fourth in the MVP race in 2021-22.

    He was selected to the All-NBA First Team this past year after averaging a career-high 26.8 points to go with 5.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He was joined on the first team by Jayson Tatum, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic.

    Booker, who was entering the final year of a five-year, $158m deal, was drafted 13th overall by the Suns in 2015 out of Kentucky.

    He improved his scoring average each of his first four seasons and is one of only three players to average at least 25 points in the past four seasons, along with Antetokounmpo and LeBron James.

    Booker will also be the cover athlete for the NBA 2K23, per sources. Booker will be among an exclusive group to appear on the cover that includes Doncic, James, Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant.

    As the Suns worked on the Booker deal on Thursday, the team were also reported to be near the front of the queue for Durant, who has requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets.

  • 'Eternal captain' Fernandinho pens poetic farewell to Man City 'Eternal captain' Fernandinho pens poetic farewell to Man City

    Fernandinho has penned a poetic farewell to Manchester City supporters on social media following his move to Athletico Paranaense.

    Brazilian side Paranaense confirmed on Monday that an agreement is in place to re-sign Fernandinho, who previously spent three years with the club.

    The 53-cap former Brazil international left Paranaense in 2005 to join Shakhtar Donetsk, before spending nine seasons with City, the last two of those as captain.

    After making 383 appearances for City and winning 12 major honours, including five Premier League titles, Fernandinho bowed out at the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

    And on the day his contract at the Etihad Stadium officially expired, Fernandinho took to Twitter to pay an emotional tribute to everyone connected with City.

    "I saw. I saw my family proud. I saw supporters that never forgot where they came from," he posted in an open letter. 

    "I saw the beauty of being part of a winning team. I saw titles, superstars and geniuses. I saw an opportunity to fulfil my dream.

    "And then I realised. I realised the importance of all reading this letter. I realised that I made the right choice, the best choice of my entire life.

    "I hope one day when you remember me, you feel the same way that I'm feeling when I'm writing this."

    He added: "Athletes, coaches/trainers, laundry staff, kit managers, cleaners, concierge, security team, door staff, advisors, executives, cooks, directors, doctors, masseuses, physiotherapists, sports psychologists, media team, analysts, youth teams, charity teams…

    "Apologies if I missed anyone, but you know who you are. Today is the last day of my contract with Manchester City.

    "I can only say that I gave my very best and I would do it all over again. The story continues and after playing for nine years, I will become an avid Cityzen supporter for many more titles and victories.

    "I am certain that many more will come judging by the quality of all your daily work."

    Fernandinho signed off the letter: "My memories will last forever. Many thanks, your eternal captain."

    The 37-year-old previously revealed he turned down numerous offers to return to Paranaense, who are now managed by former Portugal and Brazil boss Luis Felipe Scolari.

  • Botman chose 'dream' Newcastle move over Milan transfer Botman chose 'dream' Newcastle move over Milan transfer

    Sven Botman considered Newcastle United "a little better" than Milan as he weighed up his transfer options, settling on a "dream" Premier League move.

    Lille defender Botman is expected to complete his move to Newcastle on Friday, with a deal in principle announced earlier this week.

    That reported £31.8million (€37m) agreement brought to an end a long-running saga, with the centre-back the subject of interest from both Newcastle and Milan.

    Botman discussed the merits of signing for both clubs following a January window in which neither could convince Lille to sell.

    Milan initially seemed favourites to finally land their man following the 2021-22 season, but they could not match Newcastle's offer.

    And Botman explained to De Telegraaf: "Newcastle's great project and the chance to play in the Premier League were two decisive aspects in making a decision.

    "Milan had also given me good feelings, but Newcastle more so; they seemed a little better.

    "I've been dreaming of the Premier League all my life and now this dream comes true."

    Botman revealed he was concerned after missing out on a January transfer, believing such opportunities "only pass once".

    But he was ultimately pleased to stick around, face Chelsea in the Champions League and depart Lille "in the right way", still joining Newcastle.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.