In just a few weeks we’ll be back to the start again, with the best part of a year of football lining up before us. Pretty exciting huh? I know that we have the Copa America and the Women’s World Cup to enjoy in the meantime, not to mention the transfer turmoil but there’s something about the Premier League isn’t there? Personally, I can’t wait.
I wanted to start off my coverage with a look at the opening weekend and what we can expect to see from the twenty teams on show. The first thing to look at is the probability of success for all teams and somewhat surprisingly it’s the first place we find some interesting figures.
The away teams win how many?
Many of you will be aware that on average the home team wins the most games. Whilst not the exact figures, a good rule of thumb is 50% home wins and 25% for the away team and the draw. Having looked back over the opening weekend of the last six seasons we get a very different picture; 37% home wins, 24% draws and 39% away wins. This means that, at least for the opening weekend, away teams are significantly more likely to be successful than normally. So much so that you’d have actually shown a positive return by just backing every away team over that time.
When we look at the sort of away teams who are successful we find the occasional strange results such as Swansea away to United and Villa away to Arsenal but overall we find either strong teams away to lower teams or equal teams. As I look at this year’s fixtures, it looks likely to me that West Brom vs Man City, Stoke vs Liverpool and Newcastle vs Southampton are most likely to follow this pattern.
It's a whole new playng field for three teams
With seven games left to predict I wanted to look at the performance of newly promoted teams during the opening weekend and I’m afraid for Watford, Bournemouth and Norwich fans it’s not good news. For starters they have only won once during the last six seasons when they are away so we can almost certainly remove Watford from the picture away to Everton. Furthermore, they are equally bad at home and only achieve a very small amount of draws also. The smart money is on all three teams to fall by the way side – I’d like to make a case for them but I just can’t, it would appear the step up in class takes some time to get used to.
That leaves us with the following fixtures:
Chelsea vs Swansea, Arsenal vs West Ham, Leicester vs Sunderland and Man Utd vs Tottenham.
The odds are really easy on the first two; Chelsea have a cracking first weekend history, as do Arsenal.
Manchester United are notoriously slow starters to Premier League campaigns so I find the Spurs match difficult to predict, at least statistically. Similarly, Leicester vs Sunderland is far from obvious and I’m afraid that the stats give us no usable guidance there. Both teams did ok last time but never set the world alight. With Sunderland looking no better and Leicester facing life with a new manager I’m going to plump for a draw for both of these games – The odds do say that we should have 2.5 on average……
For those of you who're interested, thise predictions return £420k to a £100 bet so I'll warn you now that I might be retired come August!