ANALYSE THIS – Benítez, Redknapp: What lies ahead

FOOTBALL – The last few days have seen both Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers sack their managers in an attempt to turn their seasons around. Making the assumption that Chelsea’s goal is to win the Premier League title this season and QPR’s is to avoid relegation, Head of Analysis Simon Gleave took a look at which of the new managers is more likely to achieve his objective.

Both managers have been given tough tasks and Redknapp has even commented that this will be the toughest assignment of his career. He has mentioned his return to Portsmouth in December 2005 as his previous toughest but ‘Pompey’ were not even in the relegation zone at the time whereas QPR are currently five points adrift of safety at the bottom of the Premier League.

Benitez’s situation looks rosier at first sight with only four points separating them from current leaders Manchester City. However, as we have seen in my ISG coefficient analysis, Chelsea need to turn around a 25 point deficit with Manchester City in comparison to last season’s final table and have so far managed a net turnaround of only eight. If they manage to win the Premier League title, they will also buck the statistics as no team has won the championship in the Premier League era after finishing outside the top three the previous season.

In order to look at the question of who is most likely to achieve his objective, we have to turn to the Euro Club Index. This ranking of all European top flight football clubs has a nice spin-off in that we can forecast the final Premier League table and associate probabilities with all of the different permutations within the table. As you can see here, Chelsea are currently predicted to finish on 74 points, coincidentally the same as the current ISG coefficient suggests. They have an 8% chance of winning the Premier League which approximates to picking up the title once every 12 or 13 seasons from this position given their strength and accounting for opponents.

QPR are ranked 265th in the ranking of top flight European clubs, putting them on a par with clubs like Cyprus’s Apollon Limassol or France’s SC Bastia. The Euro Club Index website doesn’t show the probabilities for relegation but predicts the most likely finishing position of QPR as the one they are currently in. I consulted the algorithm behind the ECI’s forecast and discovered that Redknapp’s likely new club have a 95% chance of being relegated. In other words, we would expect a team of QPR’s current strength and position to be relegated in 19 out of every 20 seasons given their remaining matches this season. This is a pretty tall order for ‘Arry and would therefore surely be the pinnacle of his career if he managed to achieve it.


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