So here’s week 12 and I for one won’t be mentioning another abysmal performance by Chelsea, there’s plenty of others to do that for me. I want to discuss something that I can guarantee no-one else will – The benefits of choosing Aston Villa this week against Manchester City.
Yep, you heard right.
Sounds crazy doesn’t it? They’ve surely got no chance have they? Well actually, they have. Whilst past performances are not a perfect way of predicting the future, they are our best chance and the past says that Man City maybe aren’t as strong as you would guess. How do I work it out? Well it starts, as many of my plans do, with the bookmaker’s odds.
Aston Villa are at home with the best price of 6-1 which sounds pretty damning. I wanted to find out just how bad that could be so I decided to go back over the last seven seasons to see the performance of teams priced 6-1 at home in the Premier League. It has happened 24 times during that period with the home team winning 21% of games, a draw occurring 25% of the time and the away team being successful 54% of the time – That’s right, Manchester City should win the game just over half the time. So, now that we know that they’re not in as strong a position as you might have thought, what should be their average number of goals? 1.77. How often do they manage a clean sheet? 41%. This doesn’t sound very inviting to me, especially for a team under new management.
Of course, some players score points regardless of how the team perform, such as De Bruyne but I for one won’t be jumping to fill my team up with City players. Here’s where I think you should be looking:
Now to refresh reader’s memories, these performance probabilities are created by mapping the performance of teams based on their goal difference from the last six weeks and their opponents six game goal difference. Once mapped over many seasons you get an equation that can be used to forecast performance based on these two factors, one that strongly takes into account a team’s recent form over the last few weeks. This has repeatedly been shown to be a better indicator than class – bugger, I have to mention Chelsea here as a prime example!
This week, you can see that the team with the highest probability of success is…Bournemouth! As you can see, this isn’t necessarily because Bournemouth are strong at home, it’s because Newcastle have lost by two goals on average during their last six home games. The second selection is Manchester United which feels about right against West Brom and at least United’s goal difference at home is significantly positive. It’s a sad state of affairs in the third game where Stoke are more than twice as likely to be successful as Chelsea – anyone brave enough to play Butland?
The rest of the games look to be a bit difficult to call although I’d like to draw your attention to the last line where not only are Villa favourites but City have a lower 34% chance of success.
Looking at this week’s heatmaps it looks like the games that should involve the most games are Leicester vs Watford, West Ham vs Everton and Arsenal vs Tottenham. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be keeping my combination of Mahrez and Vardy. As for clean sheets it looks like United are the strongest choice followed by City and Chelsea – two team who you already know my thoughts on!
See you next week.