Wednesday, October 6, 2010
After a long hiatus, we're finally back with our EPL Power Rankings. The top of the rankings look much like the actual standings--the real insights are a bit further down table. We'll get to those in a second.
First, we'd be remiss not to point out just how dominant Chelsea, in fact, is. They obviously won't end up with 106 points when all is said and done, but our rankings indicate there is some real separation between Chelsea and even the top clubs. Currently, they enjoy a 1.45 advantage over the next closest club (Man U) in the Z-score. Over the last three seasons in the EPL, a difference of 1.0 has indicated a strong difference in relative strength between any two clubs. Chelsea are averaging over 3 Goals For per game (the league average is 1.34; Man U and Arsenal are both at 2.29 ), and they have given up only 2 Goals Against in seven matches. They also are scoring 44% of the time when they put a shot on goal. The league average is currently 29% (historically in the EPL, a SOG results in a goal about 20% of the time). That's a huge advantage over other clubs and a measure of both the quality of chances Chelsea are creating and how efficient they are--that is, they don't need nearly as many chances as other clubs in order to put the ball in the net (how many strikers would have converted the chance Drogba did against Arsenal last Sunday?). You can look at all the numbers here. The bottom line is that we think the gap between Chelsea and the rest of the league, including that between Chelsea and the top clubs, is much greater than it was last year. If they can maintain this level of play for another 7 or so fixtures, we honestly don't think anyone will be able to come close to them this year in the Premiership.
Down table we'd point out just a few things. First, we've got Blackpool just south of mid-table, and we think that's where they belong. But their LM tells us that their 10 points, although certainly a big surprise, are not a fluke--as their win at Anfield proved. On Saturday the Seasiders looked great and played organized and attack-minded football. And they're overall production thus far has them out of the relegation zone--where most pundits, including us, put them at the start of the season. Given the fact they've played five out of their first seven games on the road suggests that barring injury they have a good chance of sticking.
We've also got Everton well out of the relegation zone, suggesting that results finally might start coming for the Toffees and soon. Last year they started slowly and then steadily climbed the table. Their rate of overall production suggests this year could be similar. The results haven't been there, but they've been playing decent football.
Newcastle is slightly better than they look in the official standings. And we think they, too, will start to move up closer to where they belong--mid-table and out of danger of dropping. West Brom we'll continue to monitor. They're 6th in the standings and 7th in our rankings, suggesting that their points are no fluke. However, everyone in the preseason had them dropping, and it will be interesting to see how they do over the next five or so fixtures. Perhaps one of the stories in the league this year is going to be the resilience of the newly promoted. We'll see.
Finally, Wolves are going down. Go put money on it. But what about Liverpool? We're not about to predict that the Reds will be in a relegation fight come March and April, nor do we think they won't move up table. However, make no mistake about it, they have played horribly over the first 7 games, suggesting that they're lucky to have the points they do and not that they've been unlucky. In other words, the numbers make it clear that the dearth of points for the Scousers are no fluke--the production, the effort, just hasn't been there, and the Reds are exactly where they should be in the table--on the bottom.
Posted by Nordecke Luchador at 2:52 PM