Saturday, October 30, 2010

Virtual Euro league

This is an informal combo table of European top 20 teams before this weekends round. I could have waited until Monday but Howard's Pythagorean calculations wouldn't fit then. Anyway, after a quarter of the season best team in Europe is Chelsea and they are underachieving by 3 points. Money makes the world go round indeed. Click to enlarge.


Explanation PPG points per game, Handicap – goal difference per game, PPG + - PPG adjusted for league strength according to UEFA rankings, H + - handicap with same adjustment, HP + - sum of adjusted PPG and Handicap, Δ - Howard's pythagorean estimation.

Rest of the order is more or less as would be expected, except for these guys.

Close to the bottom of the barrel as they should be, yet fighting tooth and nails.
Full standings for all top 5 leagues here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

West Bromwich Albion Story

Away from the bright lights of London, childish bargaining in Manchester or the blind alleys of Liverpool, a true feel good story is developing.
It's about West Bromwich Albion.

Well, not exactly these guys. Younger ones.

When you lay a bet against the spread on a football or a basketball match you calculate in the handicaps the bookie gave you for each team. So the concept of handicapping should be familiar.  

Goal difference is a telling statistic. You can not, in a long run, fake your ability to score. Or to defend yourself from it.

When we calculate this ability as a goal margin per game ( handicap ) we get the numbers which show us that, for example, last season Chelsea was 1,87 goals favorite in each of their games. Manchester Utd was good for 1,57, Arsenal 1,11, Liverpool 0,68 and so on. Biggest underdog was Wigan with -1,11 goals per game. WBA 's number in this calculation is from their previous EPL season ( -0,82 ). That shouldn't be much off.

And for the sake of better understanding, remember these two facts.

First, the value of the victory in the EPL last season was 2,6 goals scored and 
Second, the best team has the easiest schedule for the season , by definition, since they don't have to play against themselves. 
In other words, it's not that Chelsea really is a 1,87 goals ( almost a win ) favorite from the start, no. Add opponents value in the equation too. Against Manchester Utd they would be 1,87 – 1,57 = 0,3 goals favorite. And when we translate that for the season ( sum of all handicaps for each team equals 0 ) their strength of schedule was 0 – 1,87 = - 1,87 goals. A complimentary win. As if they needed one.

And here is a table of what WBA has done so far.

What we see in first row is that Chelsea was so heavy favorite in the opener that that was almost an automatic win. They scored six for the good measure. True goal difference (True GD) reduces/increases the number of goals conceded for the amount of handicap. And it shows that, all other things being equal ( I'm omitting home field advantage, form, injuries...), Baggies conceded 3 “real” goals. That was their only negative performance so far.

So, what gives?

Sum of the handicaps so far (blue number) show that they were 12 goals underdogs and that they successfully parred with 10 . Expressed in wins, they are nearly 4 wins above expectations.
All of this gets it's true shape in comparison with the second table. These are the teams that had positive goal difference per game ratio last season and their true handicap/strength of schedule in first 9 weeks of this season.

30 (thirty) goals difference in handicap between WBA and Chelsea so far.

Last column shows us how well each team played so far.
Is Manchester Utd under performing or what? That's a literal half-ass job.
Chelsea is at 22 % above expectation, Arsenal at 12%. Liverpool is already lost for the season, I'm afraid. Aston Villa's percentage is a consequence of the Newcastle game blunder. They are not that bad.
And WBA is playing on the rocket fuel.
Is it sustainable? No, it's not. But when you over perform, you better do it in the thick of your schedule when it matters the most, and that is exactly what Di Matteo's squad is doing right now. With this stretch, they've probably secured their spot in Premiership for the next season.
Go Baggies!



Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Goalkeepers after 9

Well, it looks like the fog is lifting. Data are less and less skewed as time passes. Goalkeepers standings and defensive standings for teams after 9 weeks.

How about them Chelsea? Who cares. But WBA, Bolton and Wigan in top ten defenses and Liverpool, Manchester Utd and Aston Villa not. Cold winter is coming, cold indeed for some. I'll refrain from further comment until I look at the strength of schedule so far ( which will be the topic of my next post ) and some other things.

Short explanations: points are negative category, they represent opponents position on current form table X goals you conceded . Two goals from West Ham gets you 40 points, six pack from Chelsea gets you only 6 points. That red 22 for Aston Villa means that their defense has not reached Premier league level thus far since league has 20 teams and their opponent rank is 22. Not really fair but things will straighten themselves by the end of the season.

New feature is OPS+, which is borrowed from baseball. In essence 100 is average and bigger is better. This is development, upgrade of and replacement for my previous descriptive stat ReV and includes ,along with basic goals and saves, replacement level performance, opponents adjustments, park factors, time on the pitch … In short, lot of relevant things. I kept the name same as it is in baseball for the sake of the name recognition. Meaning of the abbreviation is of course different. Soccer has no bases or bats. So OPS+ stands for, I don't know, Overall Player's Score Adjusted ( that's for the + sign ). Yes, I'm reaching here but look at it as an homage to sabermetrics.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Who won?

I saw this and tried something similar. These are last year salaries.

As always click to enlarge.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Losing it

Just to add my 2 cents, since this is related to something I've been working on.

For the last four seasons in England's Premier league, clean sheet for both teams or the most unpopular score in soccer 0–0, was the final outcome in 8,8% of the time .  

But fortunately for us spectators it's not an easy thing to achieve. In 91% of the cases someone scores.
To survive through the 90 minutes unscratched ( scores like 1-0, 2 0, 0 1, 0-2 ... ) your chances are 35,3% for home, or 24,6% for away team.

If your attacking capabilities averages to one goal per game ( result being your win or a tie: 1-0, 0-1, 1-1 ), your chances of losing that game are 69,6 % for home team, or 72% for away team.

If your forwards know how to put the ball behind goalies back at least 2 times per game, you will loose in only 1,38% of the cases for home or 2,7% for away team.

The ball is round and the grass is slippery, score in each half at least once and you are the champions my friend.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Goalkeepers week 4

Better late than never. Week four standings for EPL goalies, like in the previous post, plus standings for save rate per game. In the next few days team standings and some other stuff.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

United European League

Following the same line of thought as presented in the previous post, I implemented the formula on each team's defense and offense. In the case of offense I just reversed the order of standings so that, for example, goal from Chelsea carries 1 point for that team's defense ( negative points ), but goal against Chelsea carries 20 points for offense since Chelsea equally well defends their goal as they tear up the net on opponent’s. As season proceeds I'll add other leagues. So far England and France, separate and combo. I wonder how the combo table will look at season's end?
Data from I've used form table for calculations, not regular table ( although they are same now, they will differ over time ).