FOOTBALL – According to the Euro Club Index the all-Spanish tie between Villarreal CF and titleholders Sevilla FC was the highest profile matchup that resulted from today’s Europa League Last 16 draw. Of the 16 teams still in contention, Sevilla is the highest ranked (14th) team in the Euro Club Index. The index claims that Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk v Ajax is the lowest profile tie on offer.
FOOTBALL – Since 2008, when the Euro Club Index began ranking all of Europe’s top flight sides, the average strength of the Champions League quarterfinalists has never been even remotely as high as this year. Where the average strength will move between a typical bandwidth of 3,400-3,550 ranking points, this year it is a whopping 3,856. For the first time all eight group winners from the group stage have advanced to the quarterfinals and all teams that make up the last eight are ranked among the top 11 in the Euro Club Index.
FOOTBALL – Bayern Munich go into Saturday’s Champions League final as favourites but how big a favourite the club is depends on how we assess their supposed home advantage. Assuming that Bayern Munich enjoy a full home advantage, they have a 50% chance of winning in 90 minutes and a 63% chance of becoming Champions League winners this season. Chelsea’s chances are 24% for a 90 minute victory and 37% to win the Champions League.
What if we disregard home advantage altogether?
With the two clubs ranked numbers five and six in the Euro Club Index, completely disregarding home advantage gives a somewhat different picture providing little discernible difference between the clubs. On that basis Bayern have a 52% chance of victory and Chelsea 48% with the 90 minute probabilities standing at 38% and 35% respectively.
Half a dozen home finals
There are plenty of analyses out there regarding what the actual home advantage is but the biggest problem with all of them is lack of data. For example, there have been only six previous European finals in which a team has played in its own stadium.
The best of the best?
One thing is for sure though. Whoever lifts the Champions League trophy on Saturday evening is not the best team in Europe. Due to the vagaries of knockout football, four clubs currently ranked above these two were eliminated on the way to this stage. Coincidentally, Bayern’s semi-final victims, Real Madrid, overtook FC Barcelona last weekend to become the Euro Club Index’s new number one team.
FOOTBALL – Last week’s Champions League semi-final first legs have unsurprisingly had a major effect on the chances of the Euro Club Index top two clubs of reaching this year’s Champions League final. The chance of May’s final being between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid has now reduced to 43%.
Both clubs are still favourites in their semi-final ties to reach the final in Munich on May 19 but their chances have reduced to 68.5% (Real Madrid) and 62.3% (Barcelona). There is still a high chance (77.2%) that one of the two Spanish clubs will end this season with the Champions League trophy in their cabinet but this is a little less than the 90+% chance there was before the first legs.
Due to the current standings in the two ties, ECI second ranked Real Madrid are now the favourites to win the Champions League (40.6%). FC Barcelona’s chance is 36.6%, Chelsea have a 12.2% chance. Bayern München have a 10.8% chance of lifting the trophy in their own stadium.
The Euro Club Index ranks all European clubs, calculates match odds and also odds of teams winning league championships. Find it on Twitter @EuroClubIndex
FOOTBALL – The most crucial match of the season takes place in the Camp Nou on Saturday evening with the Euro Club Index top two clubs clashing in El Clásico. According to the match odds, FC Barcelona have a 54% chance of victory on Saturday, Real Madrid 22% and there is 24% chance of a draw. If Barcelona win, the race to the La Liga title will be wide open.
Victory for FC Barcelona will improve their odds of winning La Liga from 30% to 50% according to the Euro Club Index. A draw will almost give Real Madrid the title, improving their chances to 85% from the current 70%. A Real Madrid victory will mean that it is pretty much done and dusted with Real 99% sure of the title.
FOOTBALL – Manchester United’s defeat at Wigan Athletic coupled with Manchester City’s victory against West Bromwich Albion in the midweek matches have put a slight dent in United’s chances of winning the Premier League this season. Their odds on the Euro Club Index have reduced to 92.6% from the table we published on Monday with City’s rising to 7.4%.
Can dark horse Newcastle United keep this up?
In the race for the other Champions League places for next season, Newcastle United seem to have made great strides by moving level with fourth placed Tottenham Hotspur. However, with Newcastle rated lower on the Euro Club Index than their three rivals for the Champions League, and with a tricky last five matches they are currently rated only a 2% chance to finish in the top four. This will change drastically of course if Newcastle manage to spring a surprise at Chelsea or in their home fixture against title chasing Manchester City.
Drop zone developments
At the bottom, things are becoming much clearer with Wolverhampton Wanderers effectively already relegated (0.1% chance of survival) with QPR and Blackburn Rovers currently the favourites to join them. Blackburn have a 69% chance of relegation and QPR 57%. The only other realistic possibilities are Bolton Wanderers (42%) and Wigan Athletic (32%).
Updated Euro Club Index
Our predictions for the final league tables of a number of leagues can be found on the League Odds page and are updated every Monday. You can find the Euro Club Index on Twitter @EuroClubIndex
The Euro Club Index (http://www.euroclubindex.com) gives Manchester United a 90% chance of winning this season’s Premier League title. It is the first time that a Premier League team’s chance has risen above the 90% mark this season after United’s biggest rivals Manchester City slipped up at the weekend by drawing at home to Sunderland.
Manchester United have been the Euro Club Index’s favourites for the Premier League title for almost the whole season. Manchester City became slight favourites for a few weeks in January, and again in February, but the gap between the two has only increased over the last five weeks and now United’s chance is a shade over the 90% mark.
City are, of course big favourites to finish second (90% chance) ahead of the battle for third, fourth and fifth. The battle for third and fourth is assessed as a near 50-50 split between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur with the Gunners holding the edge currently. Chelsea also have a slight chance of finishing fourth but are more likely to end the season outside the Champions League places.
Down at the bottom, Wolverhampton Wanderers are all but down with only a 0.5% chance of staying up. Wigan Athletic (72% chance of relegation) and QPR (84%) are currently tipped to join them in next season’s Championship but Blackburn Rovers (29%) and Bolton Wanderers (15%) are not yet out of it.
You can follow all of the latest developments from the Euro Club Index on Twitter: @euroclubindex and at the website http://www.euroclubindex.com which contains a ranking of all top flight clubs in Europe (updated daily), odds on every top flight match and predictions for the final standings in Europe’s biggest competitions. It is looked after by our Head of Analysis Simon Gleave who also wrote this article.