We have moved to a more “official” University of Reading blog

Dear Readers,

This is to let you know that from today we will be posting our scoreline forecasts at:

http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/econscorecast/

Also, keep an eye out for us on a certain weekly UK football show to be broadcast on 20th April.

Best wishes,

Scorecasting Economists

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Lower Leagues, midweek April 9

Those all important games in hand. Who will make the most of them? In the epic League One relegation battle a crucial game takes place in the heart of Lancashire, as Accrington host Rochdale. The Model fancies Stanley to turn Dale over 2-1 (10%), edging Accrington closer to safety, and Rochdale closer to the drop.

At the other end, Sunderland play one of their two games in hand when they host Burton. The Model thinks they will leapfrog the Yorkshiremen into the second automatic promotion spot tonight with a 1-0 win (16%).

In League Two Macclesfield face a tough task in their game in hand against play-off chasing Exeter City. The Model thinks that Macc will still be in the drop zone at 10pm tonight (0-1, 13%).

Forecast Win (%)
League One Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Accrington Rochdale 2-1 10% 47% 27%
Sunderland Burton 1-0 16% 56% 20%
Wycombe Charlton 0-1 12% 25% 50%
Forecast Win (%)
League Two Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Macclesfield Exeter 0-1 13% 34% 39%
Newport Co Swindon 1-0 11% 40% 32%

End of Season League Table Forecasts (April edition)

We have run the simulations and updated our probabilistic forecasts of the final Premier League and Championship tables in 2019 (below — also see here for comparison with previous end of season forecasts).

Man City are now clear title favourites, 79% to Liverpools 21%.

Man Utd have a forecast 32% likelihood of making the top 4 and qualifying for the Champions League (that way). Chelsea (44%), Arsenal (42%) and Spurs (82%) are all ahead in the competition for a top 4 spot.

Fulham and Huddersfield are already relegated. Cardiff are now most likely to join them in the Championship next season at 63%. Burnley however ares till in significant danger, with a 22% chance of going down.


These forecasts incorporate all information from all matches up to 4th April.

Most likely final position and chances of: winning the title, Champions League qualification, relegation, automatic promotion and making at least the playoffs.


 

Most likely position Likelihood of… (%)
Aug April Title CL Rel
1 1 Man City 79.2 100 0
2 2 Liverpool 20.8 100 0
3 3 Tottenham 0 81.8 0
6 5 Chelsea 0 44.3 0
2 6 Man Utd 0 31.7 0
6 6 Arsenal 0 42.2 0
10 7 Wolves 0 0 0
17 8 Watford 0 0 0
12 9 Everton 0 0 0
7 10 Leicester 0 0 0
16 11 West Ham 0 0 0
15 12 B’mouth 0 0 0.4
14 13 C Palace 0 0 0.1
14 13 Newcastle 0 0 1.1
18 15 Brighton 0 0 4.9
16 16 S’ton 0 0 8.9
11 17 Burnley 0 0 21.9
7 18 Cardiff 0 0 62.7
9 19 Fulham 0 0 100
20 20 Hudd 0 0 100

End of season, League Two

Continuing our lower league end-of-season projections, here we present League Two. Lincoln are nailed on for promotion (99%) and probably the title (92%). Tranmere’s storming run of form puts them in serious play-off contention, but they are in the mix with a lot of teams, so are only at 57% to make the end-of-season lottery.

At the bottom, Sol Campbell’s Macclesfield have a 84% chance of being relegated, and Football League founder members Notts County have an 83% chance of that continuous 131-year spell of league membership being broken.

Probability (%)
Team Most Likely Position Title Promotion Playoffs Relegation
Lincoln 1 92% 92% 99% 100% 0%
Bury 2 33% 3% 60% 96% 0%
Mansfield 2 21% 2% 42% 91% 0%
MK Dons 3 17% 1% 32% 87% 0%
Forest Green 5 15% 1% 22% 78% 0%
Carlisle 6 16% 1% 15% 71% 0%
Exeter 7 16% 0% 17% 74% 0%
Tranmere 8 19% 0% 9% 57% 0%
Colchester 9 22% 0% 3% 36% 0%
Northampton 10 19% 0% 0% 2% 0%
Crewe 11 20% 0% 0% 2% 0%
Stevenage 12 19% 0% 0% 6% 0%
Oldham 13 15% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Cheltenham 14 16% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Swindon 15 14% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Grimsby 15 14% 0% 0% 0% 0%
M’cambe 17 15% 0% 0% 0% 1%
Newport 18 17% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Crawley 19 21% 0% 0% 0% 1%
Cambridge 21 22% 0% 0% 0% 4%
Port Vale 21 24% 0% 0% 0% 13%
Yeovil 22 32% 0% 0% 0% 15%
Macc T 24 48% 0% 0% 0% 84%
Notts Co 24 45% 0% 0% 0% 83%

End of Season League Table Forecasts (March edition)

We have run the simulations and updated our probabilistic forecasts of the final Premier League and Championship tables in 2019 (below — also see here for comparison with previous end of season forecasts).

Liverpool are now title favourites, 56% to City’s 44%.

Man Utd have a forecast 61% likelihood of making the top 4 and qualifying for the Champions League (that way). Chelsea (35%), Arsenal (37%) and Spurs (67%) are also still competition for a top 4 spot.

Fulham (96%) and Huddersfield (99.9%) are essentially gone (who knew?). Brighton are most likely to join them in the Championship next season at 26%. Cardiff are only at a 13% chance of going down.

In the Championship, it remains tight at the top. Derby still have a 46% chance of the play-offs despite their recent wobbles.

Norwich (80%) and Leeds (55%) are both now odds on favourites for automatic promotion according to the Model. Along with Sheffield Utd, those three teams are almost guaranteed at least a playoff spot.

The Scorecasting Economists’ local club, Reading, off the back of their solid recent form, are only 28% for the drop. Rotherham are 70%. Bolton are almost certainly relegated and Ipswich are effectively gone.

There is only a small probability that Stoke will get relegated, 0.8%, but we can all dream anyway.


These forecasts incorporate all information from all matches up to 7th March.

Most likely final position and chances of: winning the title, Champions League qualification, relegation, automatic promotion and making at least the playoffs.


English Premier League, 2018/19

Most likely pos. Likelihood of… (%)
Aug Oct Dec Mar Title CL Rel
2 2 2 1 Liverpool 55.9 100 0
1 1 1 2 Man City 43.6 100 0
3 4 3 3 Tottenham 0.4 67.2 0
2 5 6 3 Man Utd 0.1 60.5 0
6 3 4 6 Chelsea 0 34.7 0
6 6 5 6 Arsenal 0 37.3 0
17 9 12 7 Watford 0 0.3 0
12 12 11 8 Everton 0 0 0
15 7 7 10 B’mouth 0 0 0.3
16 15 8 10 West Ham 0 0 0.1
10 8 11 10 Wolves 0 0 0.8
7 10 7 11 Leicester 0 0 1.6
7 20 18 14 Cardiff 0 0 12.6
14 18 15 15 Newcastle 0 0 11
14 15 13 16 C Palace 0 0 14.6
16 17 17 16 S’ton 0 0 16
11 16 16 17 Burnley 0 0 21.6
18 11 8 18 Brighton 0 0 25.7
9 12 20 19 Fulham 0 0 95.8
20 19 20 20 Hudd 0 0 99.9

EFL Championship

Most likely pos. Likelihood of… (%)
Aug   Oct Dec March Title AP Poffs Rel
19 15 2 1 Norwich 53.7 79.3 99.7 0
11 3 1 2 Leeds 23.9 54.6 98.8 0
9 5 8 3 Sheff U 15.8 42.8 97.2 0
3 2 3 4 W Brom 4.1 11.7 82.5 0
7 1 8 4 Midd 2 8 75.5 0
5 14 1 6 Derby 0.2 1.6 45.6 0
5 10 10 7 Bristol C 0.2 0.8 35.4 0
24 16 7 8 Birm 0.1 0.5 23.5 0
22 6 3 9 Notts 0 0.4 14.6 0
12 17 11 10 Preston 0 0.1 13.8 0
15 22 22 11 Hull 0 0 5.9 0
8 4 22 13 Brent 0 0 1.4 0
2 6 5 14 Swansea 0 0 1.3 0
3 8 7 16 A Villa 0 0 0.3 0.1
14 13 14 16 Blackb 0 0.2 2.4 0.1
22 20 14 16 QPR 0 0 0.5 0
18 9 20 17 Sheff Wed 0 0 1.5 0
1 12 6 18 Stoke 0 0 0.1 0.8
16 6 13 20 Wigan 0 0 0 10
15 18 21 20 Millwall 0 0 0 8.5
20 23 21 21 Reading 0 0 0 28.2
18 21 21 22 Roth 0 0 0 69.5
23 19 23 23 Bolton 0 0 0 86.5
14 24 24 24 Ipswich 0 0 0 96.3

Scholes to do a Solskjær?

After a mere 718 games playing for the world famous Manchester United, winning almost every honour possible, Paul Scholes (pictured) is finally living the dream – taking up the managerial reins at Oldham Athletic. It’s something Oldham fans have long hoped for, especially as during that time that Scholes took United to soaring heights, the Latics slipped further and further down the leagues.

There is still some way further down they could go, but 14th in League Two for the Premier League founder members, feels close to rock bottom.

However, Scholes could hardly have asked for a better first three fixtures. Naturally, at any level there are no easy games, but in the spectrum of winnable to nigh on impossible, Oldham have three of the more winnable games coming up – three home fixtures on the bounce against teams below them, between today and next Tuesday.

There’s a 55% chance they win tonight (1-0, 17%) against Yeovil, there’s a 49% chance they win on Saturday against Crewe (1-0, 10%), and a 59% chance they win against Morcambe next Tuesday (1-0, 13%). See the table…

Forecast Win (%)
League Two Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Tues 12 Oldham Yeovil 1-0 17% 55% 21%
Sat 16 Oldham Crewe 1-0 10% 49% 25%
Tues 19 Oldham Morecamb 1-0 13% 59% 18%

 

Our Research in (Israeli) media: are transfers in the winter window really worthwhile?

The following article was initially published in Hebrew here by Ouriel Daskal for calcalist, an Israeli daily business newspaper and website: this is a rough translation.

Guy Elaad, a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Economics at Reading University, has been conducting research into the winter transfer market in recent months. The study, in collaboration with Prof. James Reade and Dr. Carl Singleton at the University of Reading in England, examines the impact of the transfer window in January on the performance of football teams: “There are many studies on the impact of coach changes on performance,” This led Elaad, Reade and Singleton to examine the effect of the winter players transfer market on the teams’ performance. “In other words, we check whether the teams are actually ‘getting stronger’ when they bring players in during the transfer window in the winter,” writes Elaad. “According to our results, the answer is no, both in the English Premier League and in the Championship. In fact, we find a significant negative effect from the amount of players who were replaced in the team (mainly the number of players who joined but also those who left) on the team’s performance in the months (Premier League) after the transfer window. “Even an examination of the total minutes actually played by players arriving in the transfer window shows that as more minutes are played by these new players, their team’s results are less favourable after the transfer window than before. ”

The study is not over yet, but the interim conclusions are very interesting. In general, signing each player is a short-term harm to the team, since there is a period of acclimatisation. If the player is at a very high level, it can neutralise the negative effect of the acclimatisation period. However, it is even possible to see exactly how too much action in the player transfer market can hurt teams.

The researchers looked at tens of thousands of transfers between 2008/09 and 2017/18 and saw that for each player who signed for the team and for each player leaving the team, the chances of good results in the following months decreased by 1 percent, relative to matches before the transfer window, if their opponents did not carry out any transfer activity. That is, if 5 players join and 5 players leave, on average the team has approximately a 10% reduced chance of winning a game after a transfer window. However, the data does indicate that a player’s high-quality transition (quality is measured by his value on Transfermarkt) may actually increase the chances of a team winning more games. For example, if a player joins for £45m, his new team’s chance of winning the next game is up 4%. For example, the acquisition of Virgil van Dijk for £75m helped Liverpool in the second half of the season And his quality made the team better for next season.

In any case, “the fact that the more players which are brought in the more performance after is hurt is evident from the data” says Guy Elaad. “The question is whether the owners of the teams are aware of the impact, and if so, why do they still sign players?” So far we have thought, and we still need to examine it in real life, about three possible explanations: A. There is an opportunity to bring a player we want – In the winter, it will hurt us this season, but it could be worthwhile for the following seasons: B. To increase the variance – we know that in the replacement of many players – the average effect is negative, but the chances of very positive impacts are also high, so it could be worth taking the the risk; C: the performance of the team is not the only objective when deciding on transfer activity – the owners of the teams want to avoid the criticism of fans / The media / sponsors that they did nothing at the window, especially in case players left the team. ”

Other studies have shown that staff stability is a virtue of achievement. According to the CIES Football Observatory, “Stability in the roster gives teams an advantage over rivalry – at the sporting level (better results in the medium and long term) and at the economic level (financial savings and easier integration of young players).” “Stability” is measured by CIES according to the average stay time of each player on the roster and the percentage of new players on the roster. CIES show that over the years, the less staff changes, the more the faculty spends. Already in 2001, the University of Southampton demonstrated in its Premier League research that “stability leads to success.” The social psychologists of the university calculated the stability of each squad in relation to the team’s position in the table and found that teams with small turnover were more successful than teams with high turnover. “Football is a complicated teamwork,” said Dr. Mark van Vogt, director of research, “Football is not built on individual talent, but mostly on the players’ ability to work together with other players as a team that tries to beat the team in front of it.” According to van Vogt: Players who rely on each other and the abilities of their teammates are familiar to them, meaning they understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses together with strong faith and correct guidance will succeed – against all odds. “Van Vogt concludes:” Instead of investing in new players and changing the staff , Clubs need to develop team capabilities of their players and ensure that everyone knows each other. ”

In other words, signing players often does not fit into professional-rational-sports thinking, which strives to create more stability in the team and build it with players who are more suited to each other. If owners want to help the team in the middle of the season, they do not necessarily have to buy new players, but they have to invest a lot of money in purchasing a break-even player, and if not, then simply take the players out for vacation or mid-season. That way, with less money he can make more connections, better communication between the players and a better team. In short, the winter market players should buy a lot of money or not buy at all.