14 March 2013

Update: Forecasting the Finish Infographic

Earlier this week, I was asked to update this graphic from a month ago, so here's a quick look.

Taking nine points from the last three games – the first time Liverpool have won three consecutive league matches since the end of the 2010-11 season – made a slight difference, raising all of the potential final point totals.

Four matches ago, Liverpool's season-long points per game average was 1.44. It's now 1.55. The points per game average discounting Liverpool's awful first five matches was 1.70. It's now 1.79. Liverpool's points per game over the last six matches remains the same as before, 1.83, with three wins, two draws, and a loss.

If Liverpool finish with the same points per game average earned so far this season, Liverpool would end on 59 points. If Liverpool finish with the points per game average starting after the first five matches or the points per game average from the last six matches, Liverpool would end on 61 points. Four games ago, those totals were 55, 58, and 60 points respectively.

Liverpool's results over the last four games were even better than my "best case scenario" – which again, wasn't really a best case scenario but "quasi-realistic optimism." A loss to West Brom was three points worse than expected, but wins over Swansea and Spurs – matches I thought Liverpool would draw – along with a victory at Wigan, gave Liverpool nine points when I hoped for eight. And it demolished last year's results in comparable fixtures, where Liverpool took just two points from the same four matches.

However, that best case scenario predicts wins in Liverpool's next four matches: at Southampton, at Villa, against West Ham, and at Reading. Yes, all are winnable games and Liverpool won three of the four comparable fixtures last season, but that would give Liverpool a seven-match winning streak in the league. Something that hasn't been done since Liverpool won 10 in a row in 2005-06. Liverpool's longest winning streak during that heady 2008-09 season was five consecutive league matches, a feat which happened three times. Chances are, Liverpool will disappoint at least once in the coming weeks.

After those four matches, Liverpool's final five are Chelsea (h), Newcastle (a), Everton (h), Fulham (a), and QPR (h). Harder than the previous four, but in theory, each is winnable, with the two toughest at Anfield.

For comparison, here are the remaining fixtures for the three teams directly ahead of Liverpool, as well as Everton, now behind Liverpool on goal difference but with a game in hand.

Chelsea and Everton's trips to Anfield will determine an awful lot. And three of those four sides play each other at least twice. Everton has, by far, the worst run-in, but Chelsea and Tottenham's aren't especially easy either.

If each side got the same results from last season's fixtures, Chelsea would earn 20 more points, Tottenham 17 more, and both Everton and Arsenal 10 more. Which would give Chelsea 72 points, Tottenham 71, Arsenal 57, and Everton 55. I find it hard to believe that Chelsea, with the form they're in this season, will run riot through its last 10 games. And Arsenal, no matter their form, probably won't lose to Swansea, Norwich, Fulham, QPR, and Wigan again. But that should at least give you an idea of the total those four might finish with.

And what miracles Liverpool would have to conjure to pass two of the three teams ahead of them in the table.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

love the blog, great article as always. keep up the good work nate!