Premier League: Mathematical model predicts every team’s final points tally for the season

  • Rob Swan

The Premier League is currently suspended, along with every other league in English football.

Even grassroots football in England is off to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has disrupted daily life for everybody.

The Premier League is due to resume on April 4, but this seems increasingly unlikely as the outbreak worsens.

Representatives of the 20 Premier League clubs are expected to restate a determination to get the current campaign finished, if possible, ideally by June 30.

This is according to The Guardian, who report that a conference call will take place on Thursday morning to decide the best course of action.

The Times, meanwhile, have published a completed 2019-20 Premier League table based on a ‘sophisticated mathematical model’.

The model, which takes into account the strength of the opponents left to be played and the number of home and away games, predicts how many points each of the 20 Premier League clubs are likely to end up with after all 38 fixtures have been played.

“Inspired by the Elo calculation method, which was introduced by the physicist Arpad Elo in 1960 to rank chess players and is now used by Fifa to rank men’s and women’s national teams, the prediction is based on the average number of points that the teams would have earned in the remaining matches, factoring in the strength of remaining opponents and home advantage,” The Times’ report adds.

20. Norwich City

Points: 21
Predicted points: 28.3

Norwich are on course to pick up just seven more points from their next nine fixtures and subsequently finish bottom of the league.

19. Aston Villa

Points: 25
Predicted points: 32.6

Aston Villa are expected to register eight points (rounded up) from their next 10 games and are also expected to be relegated to the Championship.

18. Bournemouth

Points: 27
Predicted points: 34.3

Bournemouth are also poised to go down, according to the mathematical model.

17. Watford

Points: 27
Predicted points: 35.4

Watford survive after picking up one more point than Bournemouth.

16. West Ham

Points: 27
Predicted points: 36.4

David Moyes is expected to keep West Ham’s heads above water – but only just.

15. Brighton

Points: 29
Predicted points: 36.5

Brighton are also expected to avoid the dreaded drop.

14. Southampton

Points: 34
Predicted points: 45.1

Southampton are poised to pick up another 11 points, which would see them seal a relatively comfortable mid-table finish.

13. Newcastle United

Points: 35
Predicted points: 46.3

And the same applies to Newcastle.

12. Everton

Points: 37
Predicted points: 48.4

Carlo Ancelotti is not expected to lead the Toffees’ to a top-half finish.

11. Crystal Palace

Points: 39
Predicted points: 49.6

Crystal Palace have won their previous three fixtures and are expected to end on 50 points (rounded up).

10. Burnley

Points: 39
Predicted points: 51.1

A 10th-placed finish would be another fine achievement from Sean Dyche.

9. Arsenal

Points: 40
Predicted points: 53

Arsenal are only expected to pick up 13 points from their remaining 10 fixtures, which would lead to a hugely-underwhelming ninth-place finish for the Gunners.

8. Tottenham

Points: 41
Predicted points: 54.2

It hasn’t been a great season for Tottenham, but if they finish above Arsenal it won’t have been a disaster.

7. Sheffield United

Points: 43
Predicted points: 57.3

Sheffield United are tipped to continue their impressive form and finish seventh.

6. Wolves

Points: 43
Predicted points: 57.4

Wolves are tipped to pick up another 14 points (rounded down) from their remaining nine games.

5. Manchester United

Points: 45
Predicted points: 60.4

Manchester United will just miss out on the top four, according to the mathematical model, but that may still be enough to see them seal a place in next season’s Champions League qualifying rounds.

4. Chelsea

Points: 48
Predicted points: 62.9

Frank Lampard would be more than happy with a fourth-place finish.

3. Leicester City

Points: 53
Predicted points: 70.8

Leicester are on course to pick up another 18 points (rounded up) before the season ends.

2. Manchester City

Points: 57
Predicted points: 77.8

Man City have already lost seven games this season, so 78 points (rounded up) sounds about right.

1. Liverpool

Points: 82
Predicted points: 105.9

Liverpool, meanwhile, are on course to smash the record for most points amassed in a Premier League season – despite the fact their recent form hasn’t been particularly impressive.

So, there you have it. According to the mathematical model, every team will stay exactly as they are between now and the end of the season.

If you’re interested in the maths behind the model, here are the details via The Times’ website: “For a given match H-A, with H the home team and A the away team, let us model the number of points nH won by H as a function of the current points difference pH – pA. The larger the points difference (for instance, pH – pA = 82 – 25 = 57 for Liverpool – Aston Villa on match-day 33), the larger nH and the closer nH to 3; nH increases from 0 to 3.

“Similarly, the number of points nA earned by A is described as another function of pH – pA, which decreases from 3 to 0. I suggest using functions known as sigmoids or logistic functions. Each of these two functions depend on two parameters (elasticity and home advantage) which are calibrated to the 2019-2020 Premier League results.”

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