Champions League R6 (11-12 Dec)

It’s crunch time in the Champions League – the final set of group matches. Who will progress? Who will slip into the Europa League? This week, in addition to our usual forecasts, we also list the outcome forecasts created by Jean-Louis Foulley – see below. These are forecasts posted here, and Jean-Louis has also written an important paper on the ways in which we might penalise scoreline forecasts – like the ones we create.

Tottenham look set to drop out on Tuesday night, losing 2-0 to Barcelona (11%), while Liverpool look set to progress, beating Napoli 3-0 (9%).

Forecast Win (%)
Tuesday Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Barcelona Tottenham 2-0 11% 48% 26%
Brugge Atl Madrid 0-1 21% 22% 54%
Galatasaray Porto 0-1 23% 24% 51%
Inter PSV 1-0 20% 48% 26%
Liverpool Napoli 3-0 9% 58% 19%
Monaco Dortmund 1-2 9% 22% 54%
Red Star Paris St-G. 0-2 10% 29% 45%
Schalke L Moscow 2-0 15% 56% 21%

On Wednesday, in the only group where qualification hasn’t already been resolved, Shaktar will beat Lyon into the knock-out stages…

Forecast Win (%)
Wednesday Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Ajax B Munich 1-0 10% 41% 32%
Benfica AEK 1-0 18% 57% 20%
Man City Hoffenheim 3-1 8% 78% 8%
R Madrid CSKA 3-0 15% 68% 13%
Shakhtar Lyon 1-0 10% 49% 25%
Valencia Man Utd 0-1 23% 28% 45%
Plzen Roma 0-3 10% 36% 37%
Young Boys Juventus 0-3 9% 26% 48%

Foulley’s forecasts:

We’re going head to head against Foulley’s model, so here are his outcome probabilities, including the most likely socreline. For the forecast scoreline, we disagree on three matches (Ajax vs Bayern, Shakhtar vs Lyon, & Valencia vs Man U), and on all other matches, we are more conservative in our estimated probabilities. We will continue to post these comparisons, as with probabilistic forecasts, it is fairly meaningless to compare a small number of probabilities as those listed here.

Foulley (Bayesian) forecasts Win %
Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Barcelona Tottenham 2-0 10% 69% 13%
Brugge Atl Madrid 0-1 12% 17% 62%
Galatasaray Porto 0-1 13% 20% 56%
Inter PSV 1-0 12% 61% 17%
Liverpool Napoli 1-0 11% 53% 23%
Monaco Dortmund 0-1 13% 18% 59%
Red Star Paris St-G. 0-2 12% 11% 73%
Schalke L Moscow 1-0 13% 64% 15%
Ajax B Munich 1-1 12% 30% 44%
Benfica AEK 1-0 12% 68% 13%
Man City Hoffenheim 2-0 10% 84% 6%
R Madrid CSKA 2-0 13% 83% 5%
Shakhtar Lyon 1-1 11% 48% 29%
Valencia Man Utd 1-0 11% 37% 35%
Plzen Roma 0-2 10% 18% 61%
Young Boys Juventus 0-2 13% 12% 70%

 

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Model vs the Experts (R16)

As usual, Lawro and Merson have got their forecasts in. We’ve been doing well so far this season against the experts (if not our own challengers), let’s see if we can keep it up…

Model Lawro Merson
Arsenal Huddersfield 2-0 3-0 3-0
Bournemouth Liverpool 0-2 0-2 1-3
Burnley Brighton 1-1 2-0 1-1
Cardiff Southampton 1-1 2-1 2-0
Chelsea Man City 0-1 0-2 1-2
Leicester Tottenham 1-2 0-2 1-3
Man Utd Fulham 3-0 2-0 2-0
West Ham C Palace 1-0 2-0 2-0
Newcastle Wolves 1-0 1-1 2-2
Everton Watford 1-0 2-0 2-1

Lower Leagues, R21 (Dec 8)

There have been 31 goalless draws so far in League One and League Two. Indeed we Scorecasting Economists saw one of them earlier in the season. Will there be any more this weekend? If The Model is to be believed, then no.

The eye-catching match in League One, surely, is Sunderland’s visit to Accrington Stanley. This is the first meeting between the two clubs for a mere 124 years, and the first league meeting for 126 years. When they met back in 1892, Sunderland routed Stanley 6-0. The Model thinks it’ll only be 1-0 to Sunderland tomorrow (10%).

Forecast Win (%)
League One Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Accrington Sunderland 0-1 10% 28% 44%
AFC W Rochdale 2-1 8% 45% 27%
Blackpool Charlton 1-0 10% 60% 17%
Bristol R Doncaster 0-1 9% 22% 52%
Burton Shrewsbury 1-2 5% 25% 47%
Luton Fleetwood 1-0 10% 53% 21%
Peterboro Oxford 2-1 8% 50% 23%
Plymouth Bradford 0-1 3% 32% 39%
Portsmouth Southend 1-0 11% 69% 12%
Scunthorpe Gillingham 2-3 3% 29% 42%
Walsall Coventry 1-0 6% 58% 18%
Wycombe Barnsley 0-1 14% 21% 53%

Sol Campbell gets going with Macclesfield at the bottom of the Football League this weekend, as Macc make the tough trip to Essex’s finest, Colchester United. The Model doesn’t think Sol will have solved Macc’s defensive problems just yet, predicting a 2-0 defeat (10%). The Great Western Railway Derby between Swindon and Newport looks set to go the Welshmen’s way, 1-0 (9%).

Forecast Win (%)
League Two Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Bury Exeter 1-0 5% 47% 26%
Cheltenham Grimsby 0-1 11% 31% 41%
Colchester Macclesfield 2-0 10% 61% 16%
Crawley N’hampton 1-2 6% 30% 41%
Crewe Oldham 0-1 9% 19% 57%
Mansfield Notts Co 1-0 11% 59% 17%
MK Dons Carlisle 1-0 12% 50% 23%
Morecambe Port Vale 0-1 12% 31% 40%
Stevenage Lincoln 0-1 11% 18% 57%
Swindon Newport Co 0-1 9% 25% 47%
Tranmere Cambridge 2-0 11% 64% 14%
Yeovil Forest Green 1-1 12% 36% 35%

The scourge of the goalless draw

It’s the classic trope wheeled out by those who don’t like football – goalless draws, boring! Even those of us who live and breathe football have to confess we’d rather see a game with goals, even if those goals are all a bit comical, as they were in the 2-2 draw between Man United and Arsenal in the week.

Just how frequent are goalless draws? Mark Lawrenson and Paul Merson spectacularly under-predict them; prior to the current season, Lawro had called just 8 0-0 draws in 2,617 recorded predictions, and Merson just 4 in 1,483 recorded predictions (thanks to @MyFootballFacts and @EightyFivePoints for the data). That’s low (about 0.3%), but how low compared to outcomes?

The featured pic for this post shows the frequency per season (northern hemisphere) over the history of data collected on Soccerbase. There’s been quite a bit of variation over time, and perhaps surprisingly for someone who got into football in the late 1980s and early 1990s, that isn’t the period when the most goalless draws were recorded – it’s actually the 1920s.

We can use the econometric technique of Indicator Saturation to determine shifts and outliers in this time series. The R package gets gives us the following plot:

goalless-draws-isat

So we see that since the late 1960s, things have been fairly constant, with (persistent) variation around about 8%. The middle panel gives the residuals, hence the difference each year from that mean level of 8%. We’re on a run now of 12 consecutive seasons with less than 8%, but not statistically significantly less than 8%. If the downward trend continues though, we may be looking at a new equilibrium sometime soon.

The art of defending, maybe, is a thing of the past?

Model vs Experts (R14)

Belatedly, and adding Stan Collymore to the line-up of ex-professionals picking scores, here is the table:

Model Lawrenson Merson Collymore
Arsenal Tottenham 2-1 1-2 1-1 2-2
C Palace Burnley 1-0 1-0 2-1 1-1
Cardiff Wolves 0-0 1-1 1-1 1-1
Chelsea Fulham 2-0 2-0 2-0 2-0
Huddersfield Brighton 0-0 1-0 1-0 2-1
Leicester Watford 1-0 2-0 1-1 2-0
Liverpool Everton 1-0 2-0 2-0 2-0
Man City Bournemouth 3-0 3-0 4-1 5-0
Newcastle West Ham 1-0 2-0 2-1 1-0
Southampton Man Utd 0-1 0-2 0-2 0-2

FA Cup Round 2 (Nov 30-Dec 3)

The second round of the FA Cup is upon us (in fact it began about 35 minutes ago somewhere near Birmingham). The Model actually thinks there’ll be a shock at Solihull Moors, too, with a 1-0 win for the non-leaguers most likely (16%).

It’s not the only shock the Model sees in store this weekend, either. AFC Wimbledon will go down 1-0 at Halifax (3%), Oldham who squeaked by Hampton and Richmond Borough in the first round (pictured) will bow out 1-0 at Maidstone (11%), Wrexham will win the Welsh Derby with Newport 1-0 (3%), Chesterfield will beat Grimsby 1-0 (9%), and Slough will deal with Gilllingham 3-0 (9%). It could be an interesting weekend!

Forecast Win (%)
Date Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
30 Nov Solihull M Blackpool 1-0 16% 38% 35%
1 Dec Accrington Chelt’m 2-0 17% 56% 20%
Halifax AFCW 1-0 3% 48% 26%
Lincoln Carlisle 2-1 10% 57% 20%
Maidstone Oldham 1-0 11% 37% 36%
Peterboro Bradford 1-0 18% 66% 14%
Plymouth Oxford 1-0 13% 38% 35%
Southend Barnsley 0-1 6% 29% 44%
Walsall S’derland 0-1 16% 31% 42%
Wrexham Newport 1-0 3% 55% 21%
2 Dec Barnet Stockport 2-1 5% 45% 28%
Bury Luton 1-2 9% 29% 44%
Chesterf’d Grimsby 1-0 9% 45% 28%
Rochdale P’mouth 0-1 7% 34% 39%
S’bury S’thorpe 1-0 26% 53% 22%
Slough G’ham 3-0 9% 44% 29%
Swindon Woking 2-1 4% 39% 34%
Tranmere Southport 2-0 11% 59% 19%
3 Dec Guiseley Fleetwood 0-1 17% 35% 38%

Lower Leagues, R20 (Nov 27)

It’s the archetypal midweek night tonight – wet and windy. Can they do it on a wet Tuesday night in <insert bleak usually northern town here>?  We’ll find out this evening. The Model backs only Gillingham and Charlton to go to another place (Bristol and Burton) and “do it”, in League One, and thinks even League Two leaders won’t manage to do it at Oldham this evening, only drawing 1-1 (10%). Indeed, only Carlisle are expected to “do it” elsewhere other than at home tonight, with a 2-1 win expected at beleaguered Notts County (9%). Another John Sheridan-inspired win for Carlisle at one of his former managerial posts? Are the oldest football club about to fall out of the Football League?

Forecast Win (%)
League One Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Accrington Wycombe 2-1 9% 57% 19%
Bristol R Gillingham 0-1 5% 28% 44%
Burton Charlton 1-2 8% 25% 48%
Doncaster Blackpool 1-1 11% 35% 36%
Fleetwood Coventry 1-0 11% 60% 17%
Luton Bradford 1-0 10% 64% 15%
Oxford Rochdale 2-1 9% 40% 31%
Peterborough AFC Wimbledon 2-1 10% 60% 17%
Portsmouth Walsall 1-0 17% 54% 20%
Shrewsbury Plymouth 2-1 9% 52% 22%
Southend Scunthorpe 2-1 8% 43% 29%
Sunderland Barnsley 1-0 11% 45% 27%
Forecast Win (%)
League Two Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Bury Cheltenham 1-0 12% 52% 22%
Crewe Cambridge U 2-0 14% 42% 30%
Exeter Macclesfield 2-0 16% 64% 14%
Forest Green Colchester 1-0 14% 40% 31%
Grimsby Tranmere 0-0 17% 34% 37%
Mansfield Crawley 1-0 16% 58% 18%
MK Dons Morecambe 2-0 16% 61% 16%
Newport Co Northampton 1-0 11% 50% 24%
Notts Co Carlisle 1-2 9% 20% 55%
Oldham Lincoln 1-1 10% 35% 37%
Swindon Stevenage 1-0 12% 55% 20%
Yeovil Port Vale 1-0 22% 44% 28%