Which teams have over- or underachieved this season?

With the 2015/16 English Premier League season drawing to a close, positions in the table are being keenly contested from top-to-bottom, from the pursuit for European football at the sharper end of the standings to the three-way relegation battle in the basement.

I wanted to find out if the teams fighting for their respective fates deserve to be in the positions they are in the table, or more specifically if any of them have over- or underperformed.

I did some further investigation using StrataBet’s Fair Outcome Model, rather than looking at the actual final score of games played. For reference, the Fair Outcome Model is a method by which each game is given a result based on what we consider to be the most valuable metrics (Great Chances, Good Chances, Attempts and all of that good stuff.)

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A quick glance at the table (as at Wednesday 20th April 2016) will show that most teams are roughly where they deserve to be, though just two sides are placed exactly where they should be according to their fair outcomes. However, another two teams jump off the page. One of them seems to have significantly over-achieved and the other look to be a lot lower than where they should be.

According to StrataBet’s Fair Outcome Model, fifth-placed Manchester United are in fact seven positions and 12.6 points better off than they should be, whilst fifteenth-placed Crystal Palace are nine spots and 10.5 points worse off.

Before we proceed I must interject with a side-note relating to the stature of these two clubs and their general objectives for the season. The comparison between them could then be seen as a little obtuse for that reason alone, though it is important to state that I am looking at their on-pitch performance from a purely statistical base.

So let’s take a look at the reasoning behind such a dramatic swing for each side and see if we can find explanation anywhere. My initial thought would be that Manchester United are simply more efficient in attack than Crystal Palace. This theory does actually hold true, particularly when we look at their conversion rate from Great Chances (a moment in a game where a player would be expected to score.)

Palace convert just under 37% of all Great Chances they create, which is the third lowest number in the league. On the other hand United are far more ruthless, scoring 55% of their Great Chances, making them the second most efficient side in the league behind Stoke when it comes to scoring from situations where they would be expected to:

Who have over- or underachieved this season1-01

What makes these statistics even more interesting is that Palace have actually created more Great Chances over the course of the season than United (55 to 49). Again, perhaps not anything we did not know already but this really does serve to highlight that the output of Alan Pardew’s forward line has been a real cause for concern.

Naturally if Crystal Palace are not scoring when they should be, extra pressure is applied to their defensive line to keep a clean sheet. Fortunately, they have been fairly injury free at the back for much of the season and have been able to keep a settled back four in place. Conversely, Louis Van Gaal’s has suffered a lot more with injuries and has rarely been able to name his strongest back four, certainly not for any consistent length of time.

Despite this, Palace are once again near the bottom of the pile when it comes to their opponents converting against them, with 52.3% of all Great Chances situations they face leading to the ball finding the net. This figure is second only to Bournemouth, who concede from Great Chances marginally more.

Alternatively, Manchester United are the most effective side in the division at preventing Great Chances from being scored, with just 20.8% of all Great Chances they face leading to a goal. This statistic puts them just under 6% better off than nearest competitors Tottenham, who only allow 27%.

Unsurprisingly a lot of the credit for this low conversion rate must go to David De Gea in goal, who has the highest save percentage from Great Chances of all goalkeepers in the league:

Who have over- or underachieved this season2-01

Interestingly enough, Palace again come out on top when it comes to number of Great Chances conceded, having allowed just 44 all season compared to United’s 53.

These factors combined can give a fairly good indication of why these two teams are operating at different ends of the table. It seems that Crystal Palace are not being rewarded for making a lot of forays into the final third and are being punished defensively, whereas Manchester United are the opposite. Van Gaal’s men usually score when they should and do a good job of nullifying opponents.

From a purely statistical perspective, were Crystal Palace taking points when they deserved to they would be the side challenging for European football, while United would be staring at a season of mid-table mediocrity.

Style of play is also a big dividing factor between the two sides, as Man Utd are a more ball dominant side, averaging just shy of 55% possession per game. This generally means that they are more organised and more static as a unit, allowing them to control the tempo of their matches with a more methodical approach. Van Gaal’s style has been heavily criticised by supporters and pundits alike, though it is hard to argue with its effectiveness. The Dutchman’s rigid philosophy has allowed his team to grind out results and pick up points even when they aren’t necessarily deserving of doing so.

Crystal Palace average under 48% of the ball, preferring a more counter-attacking and open style, which can often see their games become stretched and played at a high tempo. Naturally this allows more chance of players being caught out of position defensively, which inevitably will lead to goals conceded over time. On occasion their more expansive and exciting style has won plaudits for delivering entertaining matches, but ultimately it has not led to enough points being put on the board. It is also fair to say that they do not really open up until they are behind and chasing the game.

In a direct comparison between the two sides it is evident that Man Utd’s style is better suited to picking up results, as can be shown in the table below with their average game statistics:

Who have over- or underachieved this season3-01

As evidenced, Manchester United do a better job with and without the ball than Crystal Palace, making their respective league standings a little less surprising when looked at through this lens.

What we can learn from the data is that Crystal Palace’s inability to do the basics effectively has cost them points and positions in the table, whereas United’s more incisive edge is paying dividends. Despite not playing particularly well overall, Van Gaal’s side continue to be in with a real chance of a top four finish and now even more so after they dispatched of Pardew’s men relatively easily at Old Trafford on Wednesday night. However, as evidenced by their team selection, Palace undoubtedly had the impending FA Cup Semi-Final with Watford on their minds.

Alec Payne (@Payney3)

Who are the most creative players in Europe?

Now that most European leagues are entering their final stages, I wanted to look back over the season and pick out the players who have been the most creative. In this piece I will use StrataData to investigate which players were involved in either scoring or assisting the most chances and goals, while also looking at expected assists from Great and Good Chances.

Although Stratagem covers 15 domestic league competitions in Europe, I have only focused on 9 for the purpose of this blog. In essence I have only looked at the top leagues from each country and ones that follow the typical August-May calendar:

Austrian Bundesliga
Dutch Eredivisie
English Premier League
French Ligue 1
German Bundesliga 1
Italian Serie A
Scottish Premiership
Spanish Primera Division
Swiss Super League

Players Involved in Most Chances and Goals

Rather than just looking at Goals and Assists, I wanted to delve a bit deeper and consider players making and taking Great and Good Chances. At Stratagem we define Great Chances as situations that players would be expected to score from, while Good Chances are situations that players could score from but would not necessarily be expected to.

I calculated the number of Goals, Great Chances and Good Chances that each player was involved in and adjusted it per 90 minutes to reflect those who have missed time during the season. To be included in the final list, each player had to have featured for at least 900 minutes and the top 35 players were ranked as follows (data correct as of 5th April 2016):

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Expected Assists

As a further indicator of creative play, I then looked at the expected assists using the same conditions as above. Expected assists were defined as actual assists of goals plus primary creation of Great and Good Chances, adjusted by arbitrary conversion rates.  This then produced the following list of top 35 players, again adjusted per 90 minutes:

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There are a lot of familiar names at the top of both lists, though perhaps a few unexpected ones as well. Leigh Griffiths of Celtic, Matias Delgado of Basel and Florian Kainz of Rapid Wien may raise the most eyebrows as they sit amongst world stars such as Lionel Messi, Gareth Bale and Angel Di Maria.

A couple of other notable entries are Wahbi Khazri and Ciro Immobile. Both of these players are included despite not being at the same club for the whole season. Khazri moved to Sunderland in the January transfer window, so his data is based on his first half of the season with Bordeaux. Immobile is perhaps even more impressive, with his underlying chance creation numbers being incredibly good despite only playing for current club Torino since 16th January 2016.

When calculating the European Golden Shoe award (top goalscorer in European leagues), UEFA use a weighting system that rewards players for scoring goals in tougher competitions, so as to create a “fairer” comparison. This system takes the UEFA league coefficients and allocates a multiplier for each league; 2 is used for the 1st-5th ranked teams, 1.5 is used for the 6th-21st ranked teams and 1 is used for 22nd and beyond. For the leagues I considered, the multipliers used are as follows:

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Naturally, I wanted as fair a comparison as possible when looking at Europe’s most creative players, so I applied UEFA’s league multiplier to both the Adjusted Involved Per 90 and Adjusted Expected Assists Per 90 data:

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Perhaps the most surprising name on the second table is Gerard Deulofeu of Everton. Deulofeu is undoubtedly a gifted footballer, but at this stage of his development he remains highly inconsistent. If he were able to produce his current numbers over more minutes on the field, then it would be no surprise to see Barcelona invoke the reported £6.3m buy back clause in his contract.

Some perhaps less well known players who appear to have had excellent seasons in chance creation would be Hiroshi Kiyotake of Hannover, Florian Kainz of Rapid Wien and Simon Gustafson of Feyenoord. Kiyotake has been playing in a very poor Hannover team, who are rooted to the bottom of the German Bundesliga, while Kainz has recently broken into the talented Austrian national team and hopes to be selected for their Euro 2016 squad. Gustafson is a 21-year-old midfielder who has played in less than half of Feyenoord’s games so far this season. He has also recently broken into the Swedish national team and, if he maintains his levels of creativity from this season, he will certainly be one to watch out for in the coming years.

In order to conclude who the most creative players in Europe have been this season, I averaged the rank of all players in each of the two measurements. The following table gives the top 10 players across the leagues considered, weighted for strength of competition:

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It will be no surprise to most observers to see Barcelona’s front three featuring so highly. Manchester City fans may wonder what might have been if Kevin De Bruyne had remained injury free this season, with the expectation being that they would’ve made a much more sustained challenge in the Premier League. With Ciro Immobile only on loan at Torino, it will also be interesting to see if parent club Borussia Dortmund take another chance on him next season, especially if current striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang moves on.

For more in-depth team analysis, trading ideas, statistical modelling, proprietary data and unrivalled trading tools/execution, start your 30-day free trial of StrataBet today.

Mark McAfee (@AvonBets)

Who will make the play-offs in the English Championship?

The English Championship continues to be a fiercely competitive division. At the top end of the table the recent poor form of Hull and Middlesbrough has created what now looks to be a four-way fight for the two automatic promotion spots. At the bottom the recent resurgence of Rotherham under Neil Warnock has given them a great chance of avoiding relegation. Bolton and Charlton look doomed, but there are other teams who could still be dragged into the fight. Indeed, MK Dons look set to join them after poor results in their last two games.

The focus of this piece will be the race for the two remaining play-off places. Derby secured an excellent victory over Hull on Tuesday and it looks like four teams will be competing for two places, just like in the race for automatic promotion. Birmingham seemed to be in contention before the weekend but defeats to Charlton and Brighton have left them facing an almost insurmountable task, despite the fact that they have a game in hand.

The Contenders

Screenshot 1 - Current Positions

Sheffield Wednesday
After a huge improvement last season under Stuart Gray, this season saw a new and largely unheard of manager Carlos Carvalhal arrive, and with the backing of fresh investment Wednesday have been excellent this season. Their aim at the beginning of the campaign was a top half finish, but it will now be disappointing if they don’t make the top six. They have a squad high on quality but they can be overly reliant on the talismanic Fernando Forestieri, with few players capable of acting as a direct replacement. Wednesday have a very strong spine and will be the favourites to finish sixth.

Derby County
Derby have history with missing out on the play-offs after last season’s dismal finish and they will be determined not to let the same happen again. They have already had a bad spell this term when they dropped from first to fifth and Paul Clement was sacked after less than eight months in charge. Despite sound bites from the club that promotion is not their primary aim they will not want to miss out, but need to get the team playing a cohesive style. They can often look disjointed and tend to struggle against more physical sides.

Cardiff City
While Cardiff fans have recently had a taste of the Premier League they have emerged as unexpected challengers this season after cost cutting seemed to hinder any kind of push. Resentment towards owner Vincent Tan, plus a general dislike of Russell Slade and his style of play seems to have diminished slightly as a togetherness within the team has seen them only lose twice at home all season. Their lack of strikers could be their major downfall in the end, but they have been able to spread the goals around the team so far.

Ipswich Town
Having missed out on the 2014/15 play-off final after losing to local rivals Norwich in the semi-final, another shot at the top six was the aim for this campaign. Despite losing key players like Tyrone Mings and with very little investment Mick McCarthy has again worked wonders to get them competing at the top end of the division. Their style of play is still direct and aggressive, but there is perhaps not quite as much long ball play as there was last season and they still remain effective. Daryl Murphy remains their most dangerous player, but he has regressed from last season when he hit an unprecedented 27 goals, which was more than his total in the previous four years combined. Murphy’s saving grace is that he adds a lot of value to the team even when not scoring, so Ipswich will hope the injury he picked up on international duty is a minor one.

Schedule

As shown in the table below the teams face run-ins of various difficulties. On paper it appears that Ipswich have the hardest set of fixtures with three away games against current top six sides, all coming in the final five games of the campaign. Cardiff have just come through a tough spell against teams in the top six themselves and took a very respectable four points:

Upcomming fixtures2.png

It should be noted that because Sheff Wed and Derby currently reside in the play-offs they obviously count as members of the top six. Wednesday still have all three play-off rivals to face, with two of these games being at home, and it is these three games that should be most vital. Derby have perhaps the easiest run in of the four sides, purely due to their games against teams in the bottom six.

Ipswich’s trio of difficult away games sandwich two games at home against teams in the bottom three. While this may seem like a massive bonus, at this stage of the season it may actually be a huge banana skin compared to playing a mid-table side with nothing to play for. This was shown on Tuesday night when they struggled at home to a determined Charlton side.

In previous seasons 70 points has been seen as the benchmark needed to make the top six. However, this would only have seen a team make the play-offs in three of the last ten seasons:

previous points needed for 6th place.png

75 points actually seems a much more reasonable target, especially with the number of teams chasing down the play-off spots. 75 Points would be enough in nine of the last ten seasons, with only last season throwing up an anomaly as Wolves (78 points) and Derby (77 points) both missed out. These were the highest totals to do so since the Championship switched to its current format of 24 teams in the late 80’s.

StrataData

Using StrataData we can look at some key indicators as to how each of the teams have performed over the season:

Table 3 CHANCE VOLUME1.png

From this we can see there are only marginal differences between the teams. Cardiff, Derby and Sheff Wed create a similar number of Great Chances (~1.5/1.6 per game), but Wednesday convert them at a much better rate. While this may be expected to decline, the small number of games remaining means that this is unlikely to happen before the end of the season.

Sheffield Wednesday actually have the best conversion rate across two of the three categories, which is a big reason for why they are the second highest scorers in the league (behind leaders Burnley). This is a real change from last season when they scored the fewest number of home goals in the division – even less than the bottom three.

Derby’s Great Chance conversion rate is the lowest of the group, but they make up for this by not only having the highest conversion rate of Good Chances, but also creating many more of these than the other sides. Ipswich’s rates are also quite good, though not at the level of Wednesday and Derby. This could be an indicator of some quality in their shooting but it could also be an indicator of an uncontrollable luck factor too.

Defensively, it is again Derby who look most impressive, giving up the lowest number of Great and Good Chances, with a low conversion rate on those Good Chances as well. Wednesday also seem to be skilled at preventing chances but the conversion rate on the Greats shows that if they concede one there is almost a 50% probability of it being scored. Naturally, preventing these situations is a must for Carvalhal’s men, but fortunately for him he has a solid defence.

Another thing to consider here is the fair outcome for each team in the table, which is basically StrataData’s “fair score” of their games. This is based on various metrics and is designed to show that if a team were to play the same game 100 times in the same situation would they be more/less likely to get something out of it. These scores are then added up in the same way a league table would be and the top four is quite representative here:

Fair Outcome Table 2 DB NOW 1.png

It seems that only Brighton are not truly worthy of their place in the top four, though even by this method they would still be 7th, which is not a big stretch giving the strength of the league. Chris Hughton’s side had a great start to the season, but drew a lot of games that they could have lost on many other days.

Using this technique to observe the four teams we are focusing on reveals a different story:

Fair Outcome Table 1 DB NOW 2

While Wednesday apparently deserve their fifth place, the other teams could be in much different positions in the table. Derby are ranked at the top and this shows that a combination of bad luck and poor form has seen them slip out of the running for the automatic spots. Cardiff and Ipswich look like they may be over-performing, as they are ranked 10th and 13th respectively. This shows that they are grinding out wins that they may not have got on any other day. However, this does not mean they are not deserving of a top six place, but that they have consistently achieved better results than they have been expected to.

This is far from perfect, but provides an indicator of which teams could be over- or under-performing. It is interesting that the other team who deserve to be in the top six is actually Blackburn who sit way down in 16th – while losing Gestede and Rhodes is not easy to cope with they have badly underperformed this season.

Mini League

One final thing to look at is the impact of these teams playing each other. We have already mentioned that there are still a number of games between the sides due before the end of the season. Cardiff have the fewest fixtures against the other teams competing for a play-off place and this could be a benefit, as if they do win when two of their rivals compete they have an increased chance of taking advantage of both dropping points at the same time.

Of course these games are destined to have a significant impact on how the race for sixth finishes up. If Wednesday were to lose their three games against close rivals but win the three other it would likely see a much tighter finish than they would like. As such, picking up points in these matches is key.

Previous results between these teams this season look like this:

Table 4 mini league

As there is quite a difference in how many games they have played against each of their rivals it should be noted that Sheffield Wednesday have picked up less than a point per game against the teams around them. Even with three matches to play this is not a positive statistic, especially when you see that they have also failed to take any wins from the top four sides as well. Derby look understandably strong and with two home games to come they will be looking to further strengthen their position. It is often breaking those teams who look to defend down that has been their undoing, so playing against opponents that might need to go for a win will surely help them.

Who has the edge?

The market has Derby and Sheffield Wednesday as clear favourites (odds as at 6/4/16):

Derby County ~1.08
Sheffield Wednesday ~1.11
Cardiff City ~4.5
Ipswich Town ~15.0

These prices seem quite reflective of the information that has been covered here so far. As an example, Sheffield Wednesday are likely to need around seven points from their final six games to reach the previously mentioned 75 points. This could be achieved with wins against the two teams in the bottom six that they are due to play, leaving them needing just one point from the remaining four games.

Let’s finish with some rough estimates and assume the following:

1st-4th placed opposition – Lose
5th-12th placed opposition – Draw
13th-18th placed opposition – Win
19th-24th placed opposition (home) – Win
19th-24th placed opposition (away) – Draw

This leaves the table at the end of the season as follows:

5th – Sheffield Wednesday (76pts)
6th – Derby County (74pts)
7th – Cardiff City (73pts)
8th – Ipswich Town (70pts)

There could be some value in Cardiff as they are close to the teams above in the projected final table despite their much longer odds. Indeed, a win for Slade’s team away to Sheffield Wednesday would leave both clubs on 75 points.

We will have to wait until the 7th of May to see how accurate this is but there are sure to be plenty of twists and turns before then. Knowing The Championship, it will certainly be an exciting end to the season.

Dave Willoughby (@donceno)

Who tends to have the first chance in the Premier League?

Last month I wrote a blog that utilised StrataData to investigate the importance of the first chance in football, specifically looking at the 2015/16 English Premier League. Following up on that piece I will now take a closer look at the players who tend to get the first Good or Great Chance in a game for their team.

My hope for this post is that it will provide some interesting information to those of you who enjoy making trades in the first goalscorer market or satisfy those looking to make a late run for glory in their fantasy game of choice.

Let’s begin by taking a look at the updated values for team win probability when having the first Great or Good Chance in a game:First Chance Prem League01

With another six and a half rounds complete since we last looked at these figures it is pleasing to see that things are largely holding firm across the board. When the home team has the first Great or Good Chance in a game they still avoid defeat around 80% of the time and when the away team has the first they avoid defeat around 71% of the time.

I should note that this updated table has required the addition of a “None” column, thanks to Norwich City’s 0-0 draw with Manchester City at the weekend. Amazingly this game did not contain a single Great or Good Chance, with 13 poor quality attempts registered and an analyst fair score of 0-0 being recorded as a result.

Looking at Great Chances alone things remain largely the same too, though the proportion of wins for the team who has the first Great Chance has risen by around 3%, which points towards even larger significance than first thought:First Chance Prem League002

Remember that the average team typically converts a Great Chance around 45% of the time compared to around 27% for Great/Good combined, so many of these events in this table will have resulted in a goal being scored.

Hopefully by now you agree with me that that the first chance in a game is important, especially when that chance is a Great one, but who are the players most likely to get the first Great/Good Chance in the Premier League?

Let’s take a look at the rankings by player, first of all:First Chance Prem League 03

Surprisingly Odion Ighalo of fourteenth-placed Watford leads the way, having the first Great/Good Chance on ten separate occasions this season and finding the net twice in such situations.

It is much less of a shock to see 19-goal Jamie Vardy of Leicester hot on his heels with nine, though he has also only scored from two of these situations. Ighalo has started 29 games this season compared to 31 for Vardy, which makes the Nigerian’s numbers all the more impressive. This also speaks to Ighalo’s superb start to the season, as there is no doubt his output has dipped since the turn of the year.

Many of the usual suspects feature in the upper echelons of the table, though it is important to note that Diego Costa (23), Jermain Defoe (21), Sergio Aguero (22), Bafetimbi Gomis (17) and Olivier Giroud (21) have had significantly fewer starts than the two players at the top of the standings.

League top scorer Harry Kane (31 starts) is there or thereabouts, but it seems the 21-goal Tottenham man tends to save his impact for a little later in games.

For me the most surprising name in this list is Michail Antonio of West Ham, a player who has has found himself at right back of late, though Ayoze Perez runs him close in this respect. As a Newcastle supporter I was surprised to see any of our squad here at all, though in fairness the young Spaniard has started 19 games and scored six times.

Breaking it down by team there are some more surprising entries that catch the eye:First Chance Prem League 04

The much-maligned Christian Benteke remains Liverpool’s best player at getting the first Great/Good Chance in a game, while Robbie Brady is an unusual entrant on the list for Norwich. The Irish winger has started 29 times and scored three goals, but is probably benefitting from the striker rotation that has taken place all season at Carrow Road.

Although we are dealing with a very small sample size for the most part, the conversion rates of Romelu Lukaku (Everton) and Bojan (Stoke) really jump out from this list. Lukaku has hit the net on 2/3 occasions when having the first chance, while Bojan has struck 3/4 times.

When narrowing our field of view to Great Chances alone things do not change too much at the top in terms of best performers, but the list is significantly different overall:First Chance Prem League 05

Ighalo looks to have been the best bet for first goalscorer this season as he gets the first Great Chance more often than anyone else, though his conversion rate is significantly lower than that of Vardy and Kane. Those two players have 40 goals between them in the league this season and 11 of these goals have come from the first Great Chance in a contest. One common adjective used to describe England’s potential front two for Euro 2016 is “sharp” and it again fits nicely here.

Aguero is unsurprisingly near the top again, but a 17% conversion rate for a striker of his class is desperately poor. Only Bafetimbi Gomis of Swansea comes anywhere near this figure, but is perhaps much more the sort of player you would associate with squandering opportunities. It should be noted that Lukaku is nowhere to be seen here, which makes his conversion rate from the previous table all the more impressive. We can assume all three of his chances were merely Good ones, which have an average conversion rate of just 15%.

I would hope you would agree that James Morrison’s appearance in this list is probably the biggest surprise of all so far, though, with Tony Pulis’ West Brom side hardly known for scoring goals or even just making chances. Morrison is a good all-round player and has featured in multiple positions this season, finding the net three times from 17 starts. Interestingly he has failed to take all four of the Great Chances he has had when they have been the first in a game, though. He is in good company with Aleksandar Mitrović (“Misstrović”), though the young Serb came up trumps in the recent Tyne-Wear Derby so maybe I should lay off him a bit…

Let’s finish by taking a look at who tends to get the first Great Chance in a game per team:First Chance Prem League 06

Players aside it is really no shock to see Aston Villa sitting at the bottom of the table for having the first Great Chance in a game, registering the first big opportunity just twice all year. The fact that it is Scott Sinclair’s name here also says a lot, with the former Manchester City man firmly out of favour with Remi Garde these days after starting 14 games earlier in the season.

Southampton’s Sadio Mane joins Morrison and Mitrović in never scoring from the first Great Chance in a game, though after his excellent brace against Liverpool it is hard to see the Senegalese winger being too concerned about this.

Only Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey and Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney have a first Great Chance mean time in the second half of a contest, which points towards how opposition teams set up to contain these teams in the early stages of games. It also points to issues both teams have had in creating the first big attacking moment in a match, with four instances being towards the lower end of the scale.

Perhaps the lack of respect shown to Leicester and Watford is why Ighalo and Vardy have fared so well this season. It has undoubtedly taken teams some time to come to grips with Claudio Ranieri’s style, though the Foxes are still grinding out win after win. Harry Kane’s involvement in the upper segment of these lists is testament to just how strong Tottenham’s attacking numbers have been all season. If the league were decided by metrics then they would be champions already.

I hope that the data discussed in this blog helps you add some winning legs to accumulators or topple that annoying friend who seems to dominate your fantasy league every season. For my next piece I will take a look at what England’s squad for Euro 2016 would look like if StrataData was making the selection instead of Roy Hodgson.

Rich Huggan (@AnalysisRich)