Just how good at predicting are the very best predictors? Today’s results in advance and the squad for monday.

By Tony Attwood

There is a prediction site doing the rounds called Five Thirty Eight which it is claimed really knows how to predict results.   So I thought I would have a look.

It gives percentage chance for each result.  So we get Chelsea v Man U today giving us Chelsea to win 56%, Man U to win 20% and draw at 23%.   (It was a draw).  Sometimes the predictions get a bit silly.   Manchester City get 92% to beat Burnley, Burnley get 1% to do the surprise and beat Man City and it is 7% for the draw.

Without boring you with all the details Tottenham are the favourites to beat West Ham at 55%, and Liverpool are on 69% to beat Huddersfield.

But let us turn to Arsenal.  We  are 63% to beat Leicester on Monday, while Leicester are at 16% to beat Arsenal.  It is 21% for the draw.

You’ll probably know the results by the time you read this, but just in case not, here are some past suggestions.

For Liverpool 0, Man City 0 the draw was the made the least likely option at 26%.  For Southampton 0 Chelsea 3, they got it right with Chelsea to win on 56% which probably wasn’t that difficult.

As for our game of Fulham 1 Arsenal 5, Arsenal were 57% likely to win – which seems a very modest percentage given the goalscoring ability of Arsenal even prior to this game.

Manchester United were predicted to beat Newcastle with a 62% vote and that of course was right, but they got it horribly wrong with Watford against Bournemouth.  Watford were 49% to win, Bournemouth 25% to win, and 26% a draw.  The result was, as you may remember, Watford 0 Bournemouth 4.

Another flop came with Leicester 1 Everton 2.  Leicester were the 51% favourites, 26% went to a draw and 23% for an Everton win.   And yet another failure arose with Crystal Palace 0, Wolverhampton 1, with Palace on 46% to win, 29% for a draw and 26% for Wolverhampton.

My statistics are not good enough to understand every nuance of what this site is doing, although I have tried given the way that like “expected goals” it is being talked up.   But in reality looking at the results above, and the subsequent results we have seen, it doesn’t really seem to be telling me much.

The reason being in part because football itself is unpredictable.  Players might not be available, the manager might try a form of tactics that doesn’t work, players might get injured during a game, referees might give very odd decisions for all sorts of reasons…

Indeed it is the fact that these sorts of prediction sites utterly refuse to contemplate that there might be anything amiss with refereeing at any stage of the game that leads them to some very weird predictions.   And that is not to say that I am suggesting that Type III match fixing is rampant, but that if it is not, the number of randomly odd decisions by referees is still quite high.

This is part of my ongoing objection to PGMO – because of their extreme and fanatical secrecy we simply don’t know what is really going on.  We see bizarre and weird decision making all the time, and yet there is no debate.  PGMO still claim that they are getting 98.5% of all decisions right, but I really do not think this is so.  And as a result of that all this type of prediction making is likely to fail.

If you can find something that really works in five thirty eight, I’d be delighted to hear it.   Here is the URL…


What sites like this don’t take account of are the changes that managers make to the team for each game, players getting injured and coming back from injury, and a hundred other nuances, including as I suggest, the referees.  So I am sticking with my simple analysis that if Arsenal can get their away form back to that of earlier seasons, we will make third or fourth.  I wouldn’t suggest higher for this season, but third or fourth is possible.

Meanwhle, here’s the first run down of the squad of available players for monday night’s game.

Leno, Cech, Martinez, Bellerin, Lichtsteiner, Holding, Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal, Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Elneny, Torreira, Guendouzi, Ramsey, Smith Rowe, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Welbeck, Lacazette, Aubameyang.

That’s 22 players – some for Sunday, some for the game on Thursday against Sporting.  It does currenty include Torreira who is said to be highly unlikely for the game on Monday.  Maitland-Niles is probably only going to be on the bench having only just returned.


10 Replies to “Just how good at predicting are the very best predictors? Today’s results in advance and the squad for monday.”

  1. Wikipedia has a fairly long write-up on Five Thirty Eight. Sports looks like a sideline to them, they seem to be mostly involved in predicting political type things (such as elections). Well, they say that they were (and are) quite involved in baseball statistics. I don’t believe baseball is a sport, I think it is better described as a past-time. I can appreciate that being athletic helps in playing the game. The Wikipedia page on 538 has a link to the baseball statistics concept known as sabermetrics. Towards the end of that page, it mentions Nate Silver (the person behind 538) specifically. The Wikipedia article on Nate Silver shows he is very interested in baseball.

    In the context of sports, one of the things they try to incorporate is nearest neighbour analysis. If Arsenal is playing some other team (for example; Leicester), they will also consider matches where other teams are similar to Arsenal (however that is defined) and also teams that are similar to the opposition (Leicester). Close could be playing style, ability to score, ability to defend, closeness in time or other things.

  2. OT
    Henry in the foot steps of his mentor Arsene Wenger has his first game as manager of Monaco for whom Arsene managed this weekend. The game is away to Strasburgh for whom Arsene played his football!

  3. Reiss is 4 in 4, the only good thing is his legs are safe over there.

    What was that a draw United v Chelsea. Thankyou for my 77 chips at 3.85 return they like to change to decimals.

    The key think about getting the best return on reality is combining spreads with accumulator and percentage likelihood, balance of probability as in civil law.

    And you must do all of this in advance and check it as the team sheets come out. Arsene got me with that dreaded Newcastle game where he weakened for the Europa and it didn’t work on either front.

    Well only 2 years being a UK citizen without support to prove who you are and have a chance at getting a tenancy agreement bank account and passport. Now gambling commission and 888 and paddy power and Betfair o want my money please. Locking me out of my account at such a time.

    It’s not gambling when all you do is win.

    Hold on with if somehow Hidderdiels sit in and know that Liverpool are relatively impotent at range with a congested final third we could go joint 2nd if we do what is necessary. But otherwise we would go joint 3rd level with Chelsea supposedly early runaway leaders.

    Spurs sent all their players to the WV so on with Liverpool, Spurs are already struggling, eeking out a 1-0, probably dpukong their way across the line. Next up for them City, win, win situation.

    Interesting City line up today, they played Fernandinho between a tiny little Silva and Silva. Mahrez took the full by the horns and Sane was back in with a fresh contract pending. Sterling didn’t get off the bench. Jed be the perfect replacement for Chelsea should Hazard prove no idiot.

    He’s fit in wonderfully with us, but he would struggle to oust Iwobi and Mikhi isn’t that age yet, plus o don’t like the valuation. It looks like that one is a matter of time. KDB is back, in-ph. That’s their playmaker in and sniper.
    By the end of the weekend you will see the top four but not in order and the two who miss out.

    That should be Spurs who fate will insists Karma steps in to facilitate the sales of their only key personnel. Kane and Erikssen and that’s Spurs back where they belong. Hazard and the rest departing and thats them back where they belong.

    And team 2 United, without the FA, officials and money all working cooperatively, ypu observe football is an art not covert ops in Darfour for mercenaries. They won’t make up that defect on your clubs.

    Top 2 Arsenal and City

    And 3rd 3th between Chelsea and Liverpool.

    Incidentally it took City a whole to pull Burnely apart for that 5-0 he’s missing a battering ram when he knows it.

    With the two teams just about we have, negotiating Leicester is the hard part. Sporting can’t cope with either 11 and Palace should be so stretch dealing with Arsene’s attacking lines that As he is starved. Blackpool we should look to end the game in 45 and thus be all good to rest up before Liverpool and they simply can’t play football. Left back will be the issue but with Delay off and others struggling for fitness because the league schedule for money which is sucked into other league’s anyways is to gruelling. So hopefully we can manage his inside forrays. A resurgent sturrodge is our new problem. We don’t have the pace to cover it.

    Going to be a great game. Our attitude will need to be, kill so like Arshavin. Attack is our vest offense as I told Hector. Dani Alves, founding get much opportunity to check his defensive credentials, which were very good.

  4. Colario, did you notice that both Managers have a first name of Thierry?

    Reiss got Hoffenheim’s first and second goals, in a 3-1 win.

    The Fulham commentary I was following, said that Chambers required treatment on the field, 15 or so minutes after he was substituted at the beginning of the second half.

  5. Charlton win over Barnsley:

    Arsenal loanee Krystian Bielik started his first game in almost two months after recovering from a calf injury.

    The defender helped Charlton keep a first home clean sheet since August.

    “Krystian was excellent, he reads the game so well for someone so young. He definitely made us more secure by coming back in.

  6. Oh City are on again. What goals, Ryad has taken the vacant left side and Sane has done over Sterling.

    Now with Ikay and KDB both either returning to the bench or not selected. We see the strength.

    Pep has made them understand how you keep on winning .

    Fulham ship 4 as Shurle shows they do indeed possess quality even of they are a little unbalanced in terms of defensive quality.

    I have lottlenworry aboitnthe investment as that kind of quality is what gets you ten points come the second half 3rd and final period of the season.

    Company should have seen red and a dead ball is played to gift City the second at 1-0. Moss in charge. Friend was also less than efficient as usual.

    On to the Liverpool and Spuds matches. Which sees Spurs ride their lick as Hugo proves he isn’t the type to play pissed like our dear old Szczesny saving the day. Atkinson proves he’s blind and Newcastle can’t quote get the luck they need to record their first win.

    Bournemouth and Southampton share the spoils with neither likely to be too downbeat.

    The times and mail run attacks on Josè as Hazard is being touted to become the league’s highest earner. Well of they are going to outdo that Alxis contract that’s madness, but it would seem they intend to make life difficult for Real as they seek a replacement for the current world Player.

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