FOOTBALL – As a companion piece to the “Race to 38/68/87” piece which blogger James Grayson published on the Premier League yesterday, we have looked at the current Euro Club Index assessment of the competition.
The title race
As we touched on in the more extensive piece on the title race published yesterday, Manchester United have around a 93% chance of becoming this season’s champions, Manchester City have about a 6% chance and Chelsea a 0.6% chance. Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton all have a non-zero chance of ending the season as champions although the latter pair’s probability is so small that it has been rounded down to 0 in the table following later in this article. The remaining 14 Premier League clubs have no chance of becoming the 2012/2013 champions of England.
The latest Euro Club Index projection suggest that Manchester United will get 89 points this season but the current forecast suggests that they could still win the title with significantly fewer points than this.
The battle to get into the Champions League
Manchester United are certain of a top four place and qualification for next season’s Champions League but there are eight other clubs who still have a chance of ending the season in the Premier League’s top four according to the Euro Club Index forecast.
Manchester City are all but in next season’s Champions League with only a 1.7% chance of them not making it at present. Chelsea have an 80.7% chance of joining the two Manchester clubs in the top four at the end of the season but it is the battle for fourth position that is most fascinating.
Tottenham Hotspur are marginal favourites to take that fourth place with a 43.2% chance of ending the 2012/2013 season by qualifying for the Champions League. However, their North London rivals Arsenal are only just behind with a 40% chance so it should be nip and tuck between these two over the next few months.
Everton are the other club with a reasonable shot at a Champions League place and would be expected to claim that place about once in every four seasons from their current position given their playing strength and remaining schedule. Liverpool, West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City cannot be completely ruled out of a top four position but their chances are somewhat more remote.
Currently, the Euro Club Index projection assesses that 67 points will be enough to make the top four. We will revisit this as the season progresses to see whether it changes.
The battle to avoid relegation
Despite their recent upturn in form and win at Stamford Bridge, Queens Park Rangers are still the favourites for relegation with the Euro Club Index and would be expected to finish bottom of the table in more than one out of every two seasons given their current record. Their chance of relegation is currently 93%, the same as Manchester United’s chance of winning the title.
Two of last season’s promoted clubs, Reading and Southampton, are the next most likely teams to go down with the Euro Club Index’s current projection giving them 78.7% and 55.3% chance of relegation respectively. There are, however, seven other clubs who are not yet safe as illustrated in the table above.
The Euro Club Index predicts Wigan to get 37 points at the moment and therefore the race to escape relegation has that total as a benchmark with 17 matches remaining.
Finally, the sharp eyed amongst you will have noticed that there is one club not mentioned in either the battle for the top four or as part of the relegation picture. That club is Swansea City but the Swans do, of course, have a shot at the Europa League. We will look at that race when it becomes clearer whether one of the Europa League places will go to the League Cup winners or not. Swansea can, of course, book a place in next season’s Europa League via that competition as they already have one foot in the final after their 2-0 win at Chelsea earlier this week.