The Results – Run-in predictions for Arsenal, Man Utd and Chelsea: Did they work?

As the final few games of the season approached in May I attempted to analyse the possible results and predict an outcome to the title race. Now in June, with the season well and truly behind us, it seems a good point to dissect the results and have a look at what actually happened in those last few games.

The original prediction was based on the last eight games Arsenal had to play, and compared the individual records against each team and the final eight games of each season. These methods both provided a result of 15.8 points from eight games, which would have put us on 80 points at the end.

In reality Arsenal achieved 75 points, and so actually fell short of the prediction by 5 points. A massive amount in real terms. Meaning we took 11/18 points or 61%.

61% is the lowest over the last five years for the final eight games, showing just how dismal the end of season run in was. However, interestingly it was a similar percentage to the records for 07/08 and 05/06 against the eight teams we actually played.

In conclusion the eight game prediction of 80 points was not correct, mainly due to unprecedented losses to Spurs and Wigan.

The second set of analyses looked at Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal for the last five games of the season. It was actually four of these five games; Spurs, Wigan, Man City and Blackburn, where the wheels really fell off Arsenal’s season, so to speak.

The final five game prediction put the title winning bar at 85 points. This was essentially correct as Chelsea were the only team to exceed this, and they were the champions, with 86 points.

Chelsea took 12/15, or 80%, 2 points more than predicted, which was exactly the amount they took in the reverse fixtures this season. Indeed, they were rampant, putting seven past Stoke and eight past Wigan.

Man Utd took 13/15, or 86.6%, 3 points more than predicted, which is also exactly what they took in the reverse five fixtures this season. This is a fascinating look at the consistency in results for Man Utd and Chelsea over those five games, and with that form from those two Arsenal would have found it hard to finish first in any case. For the top two the predictions were reasonably accurate.

Meanwhile Arsenal’s points tally from five games was 4/15, abysmal stuff which equated to just 26.7% of the points. This is a massive gap, especially when compared to the previous three games where we took 77.7% against Wolves, Birmingham and West Ham.

In the corresponding five fixtures this season we managed 12/15, or 80%, just like Chelsea. That should have been the amount that the team was expected to achieve. However, an exhausting and demoralizing performance against Barcelona in the Nou Camp, combined with the loss of Cesc Fabregas seems to have thrown our season.

In terms of points tallies from the final games of the season Best Eleven has the stats for the most points taken from the final six games of each major league in Europe from 2005 and it makes interesting reading, Arsenal never achieving high results.

In conclusion, our results show the real use of the predictions for the final points tally. They aren’t so useful for actually predicting the final placings, but more as a measure of the achievement of the club. The predictions reveal the form that each club should look to attain, anything more is overachieving, less is underachieving.

After the Barcelona game there was the loss to Spurs, which was a pretty lacklustre performance, and from there it just spiralled out of control. Don’t forget that Almunia, as much as he is slated by many fans, was also sorely missed, with Fabianski at fault for some of the goals we conceded.

The loss of focus was unacceptable on Arsenal’s part, and it needs to be rectified next season. However, apart from those five games the season was a good one for the club. Progress was made both on the pitch and economically with a Premier League record turnover of £316 million. The team developed well, and mounted a good challenge for the title and the Champions League. Fabregas and Van Persie advanced significantly as leaders, as did Song, whilst in defence we have a new rock in Vermaelen.

Over the summer it is important that Arsenal hang onto Fabregas; the lynch pin of the team. In addition a few more players must be added, although Chamakh is a great start. Finally I would like to see a review of the injuries sustained over the season, and the development of new diet and fitness regimes to attempt to solve the crisis Arsenal have been through concerning injuries.

Read more articles from our excellent Data Blog here.

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