Manchester United, Hull City Predictions: EPL All Over after 7 Games?

Manchester United, Hull City Predictions: EPL All Over after 7 Games?

I know its not a very fashionable thing to say but I’ve really enjoyed the international break.  England got 2 good results, (the game against Poland being the most entertaining England performance since Euro 96 in my opinion), Robbie Brady has (hopefully) had time to recover from his hernia operation and may be fit to face Everton this weekend and I’ve not had to trawl the internet looking at grotesque pictures of Steve Bruce, Ian Holloway or new Manchester United Manager David Moyes for the Manager Impact Index.

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In order to fill the gap though, I’ve taken a look at each Premier League season after 7 games and then compared that with what the League looked like at the end of the season.

To be honest, initially there were 2 main drivers for doing this, however it has grown quite a bit.  The 2 initial objectives were:

  1. To see if Hull City are safe from relegation yet
  2. To see if Manchester United have blown it already

Of course the data can only tell us what has happened in the past, but as Confucious said,

Study the past, if you would divine the future.

For the purpose of this article I am only using data from the Premier League seasons with 20 teams, i.e. from 1995 onwards

Points Comparison

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Only a matter of weeks ago pundits were saying that this was the most boring Premier League season yet.  The figures would disagree with that, being that after 7 games there has been 196 points won, only being beaten on 3 other occasions.  The EPL this season is 9 points ahead of last season, at this stage.

Lets now look at the figures for overall season points and overlay the Week 7 line (from above) on it to see if there’s any correlation between the two.

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The chart shows that, in most seasons, where there is a peak or trough in week 7, there is also a peak or trough at the end of the season.

Week 7 overall points are between 17.71% and 18.98% of the final points, with the average being 18.33%.  If we take this seasons week 7 points of 196 as 18.33% of the end of season points we will end up with a total tally of near 1069, which would be a Premier League record.

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The above chart shows the average week 7 points compared to this season (the X axis is current league position).  The majority of the positions are ahead of the average, however, crucially the bottom 2 teams are underperforming so far.

Common Finish Positions

Looking at the history of where teams finish v their week 7 place gives us an insight into the most common finishing positions.  For example, historically teams in 2nd or 3rd in week 7 are the most likely to finish in 1st place, whereas the team in 1st position is more likely to finish 2nd.

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The team in 20th place (Sunderland) not only need to worry that their most common finish position is 20th (7 occasions) but also that teams in their position after 7 games have been relegated in 12 out of 18 seasons.

The team in 19th after 7 weeks have been relegated 9 times and the team in 18th have been relegated 5 times.

The Original Questions

As stated earlier, I had 2 objectives for looking at this data:

  1. To see if Hull City are safe from relegation yet
  2. To see if Manchester United have blown it already

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The Hull City Question:

Hull City currently sit in 8th place on 11 points.  No team in 8th place after 7 games has ever been relegated, and no team with exactly 11 points after 7 games has ever been relegated.

In fact, the worst that an 8th placed team has ever finished is 14th, Portsmouth in 2008-09 and Stoke City in 2011-12.

Even if we look at it by points rather than place, the worst any team with 11 points after 7 games has ever finished is 16th, Aston Villa in 2011-12 with 38 points.

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The Manchester United Question:

No team in 9th position after 7 weeks has ever gone on to win the league.  Historically, the team in 9th after 7 weeks is more likely to finish outside of the top 10 than in it.

Of course this won’t apply to Manchester United who we all expect to get better as the season goes on.  However, if they are to win the Premier League this season they will have to break records to do it.  Even finishing 2nd from their current position has never been done and finishing 3rd has only been done once (Newcastle in 2002-03).

Looking at it from a points perspective makes things look a little better.  The highest position that any team with 10 points after 7 games has ever finished was Arsenal, who were in 10th place in 98-99 on 10 points and went on to finish 2nd on 78 points (only 1 point behind the champions, Manchester United).

The next best were Liverpool who finished 3rd on 82 points  in 2005-06 and Liverpool again the following season, finishing 3rd on 68 points.

Conclusion

So there we have it, good news for the Tigers and some work to be done for Manchester United.

The reason we all love football of course is because it is so unpredictable.  Its beauty lies in the randomness of results.

I wish good luck to Manchester United and their fans in achieving their seasons objectives, it’s going to be tough but if any team can do it, they can.

As a Hull City fan I can relax, safe in the knowledge that we’ll have to screw up pretty badly in order to miss out on ours.

And that won’t happen.

Surely.

Gulp.