“Supercomputer” predicts just one away win for Arsenal this season

By Sir Hardly Anyone

Every year we have the story that a supercomputer has been used to predict the outcome of the Premier League after half a dozen or so matches.   And each year we make the point that this is extremely unlikely, given the demand on supercomputers’ time and the cost of hiring one for long enough to input the data.

There are in fact around just 500 real supercomputers in the world and only 11 of these are in the UK, all doing rather important work 24 hours a day, so the chances of anyone having the dosh to buy time on one to predict who will win the league is pretty small.

But the real tell-tale sign that the story is drivel comes not just from the fact that the table is published in the Daily Mirror, but from the failure of the publication promoting the story to tell us which supercomputer was used.  In fact, the machines are only used for truly complex systems like weather forecasting and climate research, oil and gas exploration, and working out what happened in the first couple of seconds after the Big Bang.  Not working out the results of 380 football matches and adding them up.

But then, saying someone used a laptop to devise an end-of-season table in order to knock Arsenal, doesn’t sound quite so good.  However it has been done for the current season and as a result, we now know that Arsenal will end up in 13th place for 2020/1, equal on points with Tottenham.

Among the statistics in the table, we find that Arsenal will win just one away game in the season, draw two and lose the rest away from home.  We are slightly rescued by losing just three at home.

However, we will end up 14 points above Newcastle, who despite the investment of Saudi money get relegated along with Burnley and Southampton.  Indeed Southampton deserves a special mention since they will complete the season without a single win to their name.  The first time in the history of League football in England I think.

Indeed away form is quite alarming in this season according to the laptop, sorry supercomputer, because amazingly half the clubs in the league will share just five away wins between them – a statistic that has also never been even remotely approached in the past.

You can see the supercomputer’s table here, if you want the full flavour.  

A look at the current league table shows that Arsenal have already won their one away game of the season, and drawn one of the two the supercomputer predicted.  Which means it’s going to be rather grim for away support for the rest of the season.


In reality one can see that the supercomputer has actually not been used but rather the table at the start of this month was simply multiplied up using a desktop calculator.

What is particularly alarming is not just that the Mirror thought its readers so thick they would believe this garbage, but rather that this is predicted to be the first season in 46 years that Arsenal will have a negative goal difference.  And not just a negative but a whopping great negative of minus 30.  In fact 1976 was the last of three successive years of negative goal differences and they were minus two (twice) and minus six.  Before that you’d have to go back to Billy Wright’s management (I use the word in its lightest sense) era, when in his final season we had a goal difference of minus 13.  And yes I do know that in those days it was goal average, but since we are comparing with goal difference I am staying with that.

In fact, the only time we had a worse goal difference was in our relegation season of 1912/13 when the goal difference was minus 48.

Now you think the supercomputer whizzkids might have noticed that but no, it passes without mention.  And not least because of some of the other hilarities that turn up.  Chelsea let in four goals all season (and two of those have already gone in).

Of course, what the so-called computer (I rather suspect an abacus was used) has done is just multiplied everything up from the first few games.  

But perhaps the craziest thing of all is six teams who between them don’t win a single away game all season: Palace, Leeds, Newcastle, Burnley, Southampton, Norwich.   The last time even one team in the league did not win an away game was Hull in 2010 – and they were the only one that season.

If this really was done by a supercomputer, I think it might be worth ignoring weather forecasts for the coming year.  Just until they get the programming sorted out.

Mind you it is funny what newspapers can do when they stop employing copy checkers.

6 Replies to ““Supercomputer” predicts just one away win for Arsenal this season”

  1. This supercomputer prediction is beyond ridiculous. What is even more ridiculous is the fact that any journalist or news source would even contemplate publishing such nonsense whilst keeping an apparent straight face.
    Did nobody at Mirror notice that Chelsea are predicted to only concede one more goal this season? Did nobody notice the ridiculous claim that those six teams will not win a single away game between them all season? How could this possibly be taken seriously?
    Surely someone at the Mirror would have read this pre publication and said “Hang on chaps, we cannot print this nonsense, we will be a laughing stock”.
    The only possible explanation is that they drunk too much at lunchtime, got their dates muddled up and meant to publish it on April Fools Day.

  2. mick Shelly


    That is just about word for word what I was going to say.

    If ever proof were needed that anything these guys say simply cannot be taken seriously that is it.

    When I read the headline I thought it was going to be another baseless rant about how crap Arsenal are but in the end it was just a baseless, clueless rant so detached from reality it did nothing but show just how far these rags have fallen.

    The worrying thing is there will still be some out there taking it seriously.

  3. My bet would be that this is the product of some kind of artificial intelligence gimmick.
    Or rather artificial stupidity.

    But it works. There are enough stupid people out there to read it and in the end enable the Mirror to earn a fortune month after month with advertising.

  4. The same “supercomputer” that is responsible for allocating the PGMOB staff to PL football matches in a fair and balanced way.

    Mr Mike Austin Riley’s appointment as director of PGMOL in 2015 gives his occupation as “Sport Management”

  5. Richard Garlick joined Arsenal in May 2021 as Director of Football Operations. He was a Director of PGMOL from February 2020 until April 2021. His appointment to the position at Arsenal hit the news in January 2020.

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