With the hangover of Portugal winning the Euros (I know, right?), let’s set our sights to the Premier League once again – just over a month to go!
This is the first in a series of posts reviewing last season in preparation for the one to come. It should be an interesting one with managerial changes at the top clubs, and the only thing that looks certain is Arsenal not winning the league. Again.
But let’s rewind and take in last season for a minute. Finally, Aston Villa have been sent off to freefall somewhere into League One. It’s been a long time coming (post to follow). The biggest upset by far last season was the mutiny at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea were tipped to go out and win the league by a mile, and (fair play to Gus Hiddink for steering them back on course) only managed to finish 10th! Stoke City finished above them with a goal differnce of -14, that should have seen the West-Midlands club finish around 15th, so work to be done with that squad. At the other end of the table, and who knows how, Spurs lost their 2nd place standing after a last game drumming to relegated Newcastle. Spurs were tipped for a long while (including by myself) to overtake Leicester in the second half of the season, but this being football…
I’m of course avoiding the big story of last season. What Leicester managed to pull off defied not only belief, but every statistical model which analyzes the EPL. Following their great escape in 2014-15, the bookmakers continuously undervalued them until the final few weeks of the season (post to follow), and those fans that threw a fiver on it for a laugh are now considered “sharps” in their locals. Of course the bookmakers have been woe betide me, but they’ll make it all back with punters backing outsiders next season.
And not to take anything away from Leicester. They showed guts and determination all season, but the underperformance of the “top” clubs (post to follow) contributed greatly to their win. Even Ranieri played down their chances. It will be interesting to see where they end up next year, as they over-performed by an average of 6.25 points last season. Will they stay strong or follow Newcastle circa 2011-12/2012-13? Or god forbid follow in Leeds’ footsteps…
One of the biggest talking points of last season was the performance of the non-stars. The big names in English football made room on the back pages for Mahrez, Vardy, Kanté, Kane (we all thought he’d flop don’t lie), Payet, Kouyaté, Alli, Ighalo, Scott Dann etc.. That being so, here’s my index of the best performing players of the 2015-16 Premier League. For an interactive look, check out my tableau profile here.
BPL Player Index Score
This index score ranks players on a scale between 0-1 and can be used to develop team ratings. The score is based off week by week performances against EA’s and the Premier League’s fantasy football ratings, as well as OPTA’s game stats, and is aggregated based on minutes played. This seemed the fairest metric as it accounts for various aspects of play, not just goal involvement, and also looks toward how consistent players were over the entire season.
So of course, best player of the year is Mahrez. His dribbling, finishing, and vision were all on display last season and he rightfully sits miles above the rest. Top goalscorer Harry Kane follows in second, dispite having the highest EA score, he achieved less in more game time than Mahrez. Jamie “Chat Shit Get Banged” Vardy followed close behind as though he had equal points to Kane with less game time, he was not as involved as Kane in overall play.
Of course the model is skewed towards players who have had more time on the pitch, it would be very interesting to see where Rashford would rank with more game time. Also, and probably just me, but Newcastle’s Darlow put in some good performances when he was called upon (someone in the community with the stats, I’d love to see some figures, perhaps xGoals Against).
Over the run-up to the new season I’ll be posting a lot more stats relating to team figures and player figures, as well as analysis of my own weekly and season predictions and analysis. Be sure to come back and see what’s new.