Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Arsenal and Chelsea Outpace the Pack in Updated Power Rankings

By El Chupacabra
The Luchametric EPL Power Rankings have been fully updated through Monday's match at Anfield. Arsenal is back on top followed, again extremely closely, by Chelsea. Man U and Man City round out the top four but are significantly back of the top two.

Notice that a mere .16th of a StandDev separates the Gunners from the Blues. Chelsea has more points and more wins, but Arsenal has more goals (as always, you can look at the comprehensive data here). The Goal Differential of both teams is nearly identical: 22 for Arsenal; 21 for Chelsea. Arsenal has played one game less than Chelsea, and this accounts for the difference in wins to some extent.

Before you Blues fans blow a gasket, consider that the difference between the two teams is really negligible, at least statistically, but it comes down to this: Arsenal is a better offensive club, Chelsea the better defensive club. And Chelsea is probably more balanced overall.
The Luchametric weighs a number of different variables, and it could be that we need to look at the defensive side of the model. We have a measure for Quality Scoring Chances, for example, and in this measure Arsenal is clearly superior. But we're still looking at comprenhesive statistical measures of a team's defense.

We can say this, however: A full 42 % of the Gunners' Shots on Goal become goals, compared to 30% for Chelsea. That's a 25% difference. Also, 32% of Arsenal's SOG Against become Goals Against, compared to 25% for Chelsea (the league average is 25%; the league leaders are Villa with an impressively low 18%). Arsenal allows 1.27 GA per game, while Chelsea allows a mere .67 GA per game. And Chelsea allows only 2.67 SOGA per game, while Arsenal allows 4.0 SOGA. That's fairly significant. Chelsea is unbelievably stingy. You may have noticed on Sunday if you caught the game against Man U that Chelsea had the usual four man back line, but then frequently had another two men behind that. They were in essence playing a sort of 2-4-3-1 or you could just call it a 5-4-1. This shows both their respect for Man U and the genius of Ancelotti.

At this point, given the history of the league and of the big four, its understandable why so much attention still gets paid to Liverpool, who really are in trouble at this point, and that so many people continue to doubt Wenger's confidence that his club is playing for the title. But the evidence is clear: this year, barring injuries (Bendtner), Chelsea and Arsenal are the cream of the league. We look forward to the November 29 match at Emirates against Chelsea. This will be the true test of the two teams and should be some outstanding football. The league's best attacking club against the league's most balanced and most stingy club. At Stamford bridge, we'd take Chelsea, but at Emirates, Arsenal will give the Blues all they can handle.

No comments: