Do the first 12 games tell us just how the rest of the season will go? Apparently yes.

By Tony Attwood

If we take a look at the league table at this point last season (that is, after 12 games – the 12th game last year coming after rather than before the interlull last year) and then compare with the final league position of the club (the last two columns) we can see how much change there was between the 12th game and the end of the season.

    We can see that…
  • 25% of the clubs remained in the same position.
  • 35% of the clubs moved by only one or two places up or down.
  • 25% of clubs moved by four or five places up or down.
  • 15% of the clubs moved by more than five places up or down.

What this suggests is that, for last season at least, the position after 12 games was a fairly decent indicator of where the club will be at the end of the season.  It is not exact of course, but the fact that 60% of clubs ended up either where they were after 12 games or within one or two positions of that place, is a big indicator.

Of course “one or two places” can be a big difference – the difference between first and third, first being a trophy and third being, whatever it is we are constantly reminded it isn’t by the aaa.

Likewise at the bottom, a movement of one place can mean continuation in the Premier League or not.  But in terms of generality, we can see that by and large the position now is quite possibly going to be a good indicator of where the club is at the end of the season.

The biggest moves came from Newcastle, Liverpool and West Ham, and there are several interesting pointers in this.   Many commentators, including commentators such as myself on Untold, felt that after 12 games Newcastle and West Ham were in far higher positions that they merited.  There was wild and crazy talk in the media of course about both clubs breaking into the top four, but those semi-skimmed rants were quietly pushed aside as reality sat in.

Clubs can overachieve for a while, but the moment the psychological well-being feeling is burst, doubts can set in and they can decline – and not have the motivation nor the manpower to halt the decline quickly.  Liverpool! went the other way, and although many of us (including myself) thoroughly enjoyed the discomfort of the club, I think we knew in our hearts that although Liverpool! were not going to get a top four spot, they really were not going to end up in mid table.

Now let’s just check this with the season before last

Here we see

  • 45% either stayed the same or went up and down by one or two positions
  • 35% moved by three or four places
  • 20% moved by five or six places

The figures are different of course, but they are broadly in the same arena with only 45% either not moving or going up or down one or two positions, instead of 60%.  But once again no club manages to move by more than six places between their position after 12 games and their position at the end of the league.

So what does this mean for the current league table.

No one from 7th place down can win the league on the basis of these figures from the last two years.  No one from 1oth place down at the moment can get into Europe.  So no Europe next year for Chelsea based on these findings.

In each season, two of the three teams in the relegation positions after 12 games went down to the Championship at the end of the season.  So two out of Bournemouth, Sunderland and Villa.  The top four is not completely fixed but only one club has come from outside the top four after 12 games to force its way into the top four at the end – Arsenal.

Only Stoke and Liverpool from outside the top ten in the past two years after 12 games forced themselves into the top ten.

So overall, although 12 matches doesn’t predict where teams are going to be at the end of the season, it seems to give us a general feel, and gives us a clue as to more or less what is going to happen.  Few would have predicted Chelsea’s position thus far, but from these figures we might be able to predict Chelsea’s position at the end of the season.

More anniversaries

  • 15 November 1952: Liverpool 1 Arsenal 5 – as Arsenal continued en route for the title.  Cliff Holton got a hat trick, Ben Marden got two.  It was the second game in a seven match unbeaten run.
  • 15 November 2000: Rhys Weston sold to Cardiff for £50,000.  He only played once for Arsenal but went on to play 182 times for Cardiff, and later had a long spell with Walsall.  He also won seven caps for Wales.


13 Replies to “Do the first 12 games tell us just how the rest of the season will go? Apparently yes.”

  1. Arsenal have collected a total of 26 points out of the maximum 36 points from the last 12 BPL games they’ve played. Thereby dropping 10 points in the process. The 10 points they have dropped are too much. It’s not a commanding championship form. Therefore, the Gunners MUST make amend to their double figures point dropping in their next 12 Barclays Premier League games, starting with their away game against WBA on Saturday and up to their away game to Southampton on Tue 2nd Feb 2016. I expect Arsenal to gather up a minimum of 32 points out of the total collectible maximum 36 points. That collection of 32 points will see the Gunners in confident championship form with 56 points from 24 games played going in into the next last 12 games in the League before the very last 4 games of the season. Up Arsenal!

  2. @samuel

    I dont think that 32 out of the next 36 points is reasonable to expect.

    Continuing the current form – a rate of 26 points from 12 games – would be a great achievement and would place Arsenal on 82 points at the end of the year. That might actually be enough to win the league – depending on whether City play to their potential. (They do have the knack to go off form it seems and drop a lot of points over short periods).

    With Chelsea really struggling there is a fantastic opportunity for a ‘smaller’ club to break into the Champions League. Spurs, Southampton, Leicester and West Ham could feasibly do it, though I suspect Liverpool will be the team to get 4th.

    I am not sure the first 12 games really tells us much though beyond what we already knew before a ball was kicked. There will a be a handful of surprises of course, but basically we knew before the 1st game who would be top 4 contenders, who would be top and bottom of the mid table scrap and who would fight relegation.

    I think Chelsea is the only real surprise and possibly Leicester (but even with them, it’s also true we regularly see a smaller team flirt with the top spot in the early season).

  3. Since 2010 the league has been won with between 80 and 89 points.

    We have 26 games to play which means 78 points are still available. We’ve got 26 so we need 54 to 63 out of 78.

    21 wins out of 26 games. That’s tough but not impossible given the form we have shown so far.

  4. Excellent job, Tony.

    My view on the table so far:

    I believe Leicester will go out of Top 4 before New Year after they play other title contenders. They have played against us and suffered a reality check.

    West Ham are likely to lose the pace with Payet being sidelined for three months. Their place is going to be closer to the middle of the table than to the top.

    Chelsea are likely to make a certain raise on the table, possibly with a new manager.

    Manchester City are the biggest hope of PGMO to prevent Arsenal from winning the league and they have spent so much money which is always taken with applause by PGMO. I don’t see them losing too many points in the next four matches and they can count on a serious protection at the Emirates. Ditto for United.

    We have matches against City and Southampton around Christmas. I would be thrilled with four points (3+1) from those two games.

  5. My feeling is that Arsenal have got all the points at the start of the season & due to a multitude of reasons we get robbed of a few. I don’t have an issue with fairplay that takes some of our points. But!!! I hate the fact that Dean robbed us of a victory by pure cheating supported by the corrupt Association called the FA – reverse some of his decisions but no replay!! We are due for a few more stolen points over the next months. I will be screaming at the TV in Goa(apologies to my neighbours) till I’m back in mid spring.

    I have so much belief in Wengers methods & his beautiful choreography of our team. He is a maestro that brings silent melody to the football field. Truly an art.

  6. We got 26 points from 12 games, at the same rate we should have 82 and 1/3 points at the end of the season. Good luck finding that 1/3 point. 🙂

    If we were to win every game remaining, that would get us 104 points.

    I haven’t played with a multinomial generator before. But, we have a probability of 2/3 of successfully winning a game, a probability of 1/6 of successfully tying a game, and a probability of 1/6 of successfully losing a game.

    Generating 10,000 trials, the first experiment shows a peak at 82 points, just where it should be. The number of times (out of 10,000 tries) that we got 58 or less points is 0. I observed 0 for 103 and 104 points (out of 10,000 tries). So, it would seem that my trial is meeting the boundary conditions.

    Out of 10,000 tries, 82 was seen 693 times. 88 was seen 418 times, so not much less likely than the most likely expectation. Counts really drop off above 93.

    Doing the 10,000 tries a second time, again the peak is at 82 (count is 671). Other features nominally parallel the previous run. 88 was seen 434 times (instead of 418). Drop off might be 94 on this second run.

    94-26 is 68. So, it would seem that expecting as many as 68 points from our remaining games is still pretty reasonable.

    In terms of SAA’s wish for 32 out of 36, expecting 68 from 78 is about the same as expecting 31 and 1/3 from 36. It would seem that SAA is just flirting with the edge of reasonable expectations.

  7. Had the program running, might as well look at spuds, eh?

    The peak in their distribution is about 66.5 points, where they are seeing about 730 counts. Their counts at 82 points (our most likely finish) are about 10. If our cutoff is about 93-94, theirs is about 76-77.

    All of this is just simple mathematical gaming, and doesn’t necessarily have any predictive value.


  8. @ Gord – November 16, 2015 at 3:44 am – Nice stats , so when is this season’s St.Totteringham’s Day according to your calculations ? You know , so we can get ready to celebrate !

    And if we end up 15 points (or more !) above last years champions, that would be an added party right there !

  9. Brickfields, I don’t really think it is fair to go looking at St. Totteringham’s already. But, optimistic spud projections look like the end of April, and pessimistic ones could be mid March. Split the difference, early/mid April?

    Some medja outlet says that TalkShite now has a supercomputer (they probably spell super: S-T-U-P-I-D). And they calculated that Chelsea will end up in 4th.

    If I use Chelsea’s record to date, and things keep going the same way, those boys are struggling to avoid relegation. Mostly likely finish is 30 points (633 counts). 40 points is about half that (about 320 counts) and things go to 0 at 58 points. Chelsea needs a huge change NOW. I don’t think they can afford to wait for the transfer window to open, let alone close.

    I ran across a Feng Shui page about the moaner in the google cache, maybe someone else can get the real page?

    1) Will Jose be able to revive the spirit of the team?

    Important astrological observations :-

    Jupiter will be aspecting his Mercury in Sagittarius and will be aspecting his Natal Jupiter in Aquarius sign in his Solar chart.
    Ketu will be transiting over his Jupiter in Aquarius post January,2016.
    Saturn will be transiting over his Venus and will be aspecting the stellium of planets in the Sign of Capricorn, till January 2017.

    Ganesha feels that though, in the current period, Jose may have started facing the heat, he still has a lot of chances to make up for the losses or to re-gather the momentum. The effects of Saturn do not necessarily cause harm in a way similar to that of Rahu and Ketu. Saturn may cause problems, but it gives opportunities for self-improvement. So, there will be a need to consolidate and organise and rework the strategies. But, if the required steps are not taken, then the matters may worsen and especially the period post January 2016 shall prove to be a real testing phase for Jose.

    Ganesha wishes a great time ahead to Jose Mourinho.

  10. @ Gord November 17, 2015 at 1:59 am – Seems that quite a few of the ‘stars’ are not working with or for him !I see great changes in that club’s future.
    Am hoping too , that the gods of Norfolk conspire to aspect his fortunes in a further downward trend this weekend .
    The Canaries should transit their droppings on his head in copious amounts to help in the continued momentum to oblivion .

    Is there anything on the fortunes of the good Doctor Eva ? Karma is on her side!

  11. NONE OF THAT –

    On the 16th hole of the golf course, Fred had hit his ball into the woods. Harry, his partner had laughed and poked fun, but then somehow managed to hit his ball into the woods, just a few yards beyond. Fred looked for a long time, getting angrier every minute. Finally, in a patch of pretty yellow buttercups, he found his ball. Instead of just continuing the game, he took his club and thrashed every single buttercup in that patch.

    Suddenly, in a flash and puff of smoke, a little old woman appeared. She said, “I’m Mother Nature! Do you know how long it took me to make those buttercups? Just for that, you won’t have any butter for your popcorn the rest of your life…..better still; you won’t have any butter for your toast for the rest of your life… a matter of fact, you won’t have any butter for anything the rest of your life!”

    Then POOF!…she was gone.

    After Fred got a hold of himself, he hollered for his friend, “Harry!… Harry!… where are you?”

    Harry yells, “I’m over here, in the pussy willows.”

    Fred screams back: “DON’T SWING!!! FOR GOD’S SAKE!!! DON’T SWING!!!”

  12. @ WalterBroeckx November 17, 2015 at 7:29 am – You just never learn , Walter !

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