I haven’t posted one of these in a while so it’s a good chance to see how things are looking in the league in terms of ELO.
ELO is a system that was originally created to rate chess players, but it has since been adapted to many other sports, including football. There are some great websites that track ELO ratings of teams from all over the world, one of the best I have come across is ClubElo. In a nutshell, ELO gives a rating to two teams/players and when they face one another the number of points gained and lost is equal so there is alway the same number of points in the pool.
For my own ELO ratings, I decided to start each team off with 1500 points meaning the EPL has a total points pool of 30,000 points. A quick look at ClubElo will show that some teams are far above & below this figure, and that is due to the timescale being observed. For the moment I am only tracking this season’s results and started each team on an even 1500 to see how they compare (I hope to expand this to include every game since the start of the PL era. It’s a manpower/logistics issue that will have to wait until summer sadly).
Here’s a look at the overall table after Gameweek 16:
The first column shows the team name, the second each team’s ratings change from the previous week, the sparklines track week to week ratings, and the final column shows each team’s rating.
Of course a lot of this is business as usual, “Elite” teams towards the top, Sunderland ever-spiralling the abyss, but it makes for really interesting viewing when taken on a week by week scale.
Only 8 teams have improved their rating from the beginning of 1500, while 12 teams have fallen below that mark.
Here we can see how the traditional Big 6 have performed so far. By this view alone we can put some things in context. It’s clear from the above that Manchester City have not performed as a typical “City” team. What seemed promising at the beginning of the season took a sudden turn from week six and has been middling to falling since. Manchester United have been playing like… Manchester United since the departure of Ferguson, and it is clear the expectations of fans after the appointment of Mourinho have not been met. Liverpool’s form has also taken a knock, since GW 11 their rise to the top has somewhat stalled, and after a series of disappointing results against Southampton, Bournemouth, and West Ham United, they have been trading second and third place with Arsenal.
Chelsea on the other hand. Well. After a rocky start to the season with many pundits questioning whether Conte was the right fit for the job, it was starting to look like another nightmare season for the London side. The first six games of the season were not great by Chelsea standards. They were playing a 4-1-4-1 with no real success, but from gameweek 7 and the switch to 3 at the back, this team has been rejuvenated. For the past 8 weeks Chelsea’s ELO ratings have gone up and up and show no sign of stopping with very winnable games between now and the 4th of January (when they will face Tottenham). This change in formation has given new life to Eden Hazard and has made the Chelsea net virtually untouchable.
Below is a gif giving a better view of the week to week change of the Big 6’s ratings.
Stoke Ride Again
After somehow managing to finish last season in 9th place with 51 points and a huge goal difference of -14, Stoke’s chances for this season weren’t rated very highly, but I don’t think anyone expected them to have such a bad start to this campaign.
The Potters finished off last season with a Pythagorean Expectation of +9 points (they performed 9 points better than they should have). This metric is very useful for spotting over/under performance and as expected, Stoke have not been at that level this season.
Their first 7 games were a mix of very winnable games (Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace, West Bromwich Albion) mixed with difficult fixtures against Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, and Manchester United.
However, since that run that saw them take just 3 points from a potential 21 (0.14 points per game) they have clawed their way back to where they started and sit again around the 1500 mark. This evening they managed to hold Southampton (worst shots efficiency in the PL to a goalless draw) with 10 men from early on, so that has to be something right?
In other news, Hull City have fallen even lower in the rankings, and are now rated 126 points lower than they were back at the start of August.