City’s to lose?
As predicted at the start of the season, the Infogol model now has the title race as a solid two-team battle between Manchester City and Liverpool, with Liverpool going into the International break with two-point lead after beating Fulham 2-1 at the weekend – though the Reds have now played a game more.
While Tottenham gave hope of a three-way contest for the title, Infogol never really thought that was the case, as Spurs were given just a 1 per cent chance of lifting the trophy as recently as February, and their poor recent run of form has seen their chances go to zero.
It is now a two-horse race, with Manchester City looking to become the first team to defend the title since 2009, and Liverpool aiming to lift the Premier League trophy for the very first time. As things stand, based on current points, the underlying raw ratings of both teams, and the number of points that we expect them to pick up on the run-in, we endorse Manchester City being favourites for the title at 2/5, with a 65 per cent chance that Pep Guardiola’s side will retain their crown.
This leaves Jürgen Klopp’s side with a 35 per cent chance of pipping City, and there will be plenty more twists and turns to come in the closing few weeks, especially if City have a fixture pile-up as they bid for an unprecedented quadruple.
Arsenal gunner be hard to keep out of top four
The race for a Champions League place is even tighter, as four sides (Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea) battle it out for two places, with Manchester City and Liverpool both given a 100 per cent chance of finishing in the top four. As it stands, after Chelsea’s disappointing 2-0 defeat at Everton at the weekend, all four teams have played 30 games, and they are separated by just four points.
Tottenham looked shoo-ins for the top four in February, with a 94.7 per cent chance, but three defeats and a draw in their last four matches has seen that percentage drop to 74 per cent – a 20 per cent decrease – though Mauricio Pochettino’s side are still fancied to sit in one of the top four spots come the end of the season.
Arsenal currently sit in fourth spot following a 2-0 win over rivals Manchester United, and have a two-point cushion to the Red Devil’s, with Infogol giving them a 55 per cent chance of making the top four, which I’m sure many fans would have taken at the start of the season.
They raw rating is slightly worse than their top four opponents, but have a much easier final eight games, with no matches against the top six, and six matches against teams that sit in the bottom half of Infogol’s xG table.
Manchester United and Chelsea face an uphill battle to secure Champions League football through a top four finish, having a 32 per cent and 39 per cent chance respectively of doing so.
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Both teams are still in Europe, and their place in next season’s Champions League could come down to having to win one of UEFA’s competitions, so if results don’t go to plan domestically after the international break, don’t be surprised to see them put all their eggs in the European basket.
Chelsea’s defeat at Everton saw their chances of finishing in the top four drop by more than 15 per cent, and both they and Manchester United have tougher fixtures coming up than Arsenal, so will have to put in some impressive performances to overhaul Unai Emery’s solid-looking Arsenal at 4/7.
Cardiff most likely to get the Blues
At the bottom of the table (above), Huddersfield are 16 points from safety with just 21 points left to play for, with the Infogol model giving them a 0 per cent chance of surviving. And the same can now be said for Fulham, who are also a 100 per cent chance of relegation following a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool at the weekend, which leaves them 13 points adrift.
The third and final relegation place is very interesting, with Cardiff currently occupying 18th spot, but there are just five points separating five teams, with Neil Warnock’s side also having a game in hand on Burnley – who are directly above them.
Despite this, the Bluebirds are still favourites at 2/5, according to the Infogol model, to join Huddersfield and Fulham, with a 65 per cent chance of doing so, but they interestingly have a better underlying process than Newcastle, Burnley and Brighton. However, the issue for Cardiff is fixtures, as in their remaining eight matches they face four of the top six, so may need to cause a few shock results if they are to stay up.
Burnley’s eight game unbeaten Premier League run is a distant memory heading into this International break, with four straight defeats seeing them back hovering above the drop zone.
The Infogol model thinks the final relegation spot is mainly between Sean Dyche’s side and Cardiff.
Burnley have a 28 per cent chance of falling through the trap door, while next best Southampton have just a 4 per cent chance according to our simulations.
Brighton, Crystal Palace and Newcastle all have a 1 per cent chance of going down, with all three having a better fixture list and raw rating so it is highly likely that the bottom three will remain as it is now.
Huddersfield, Fulham and Cardiff will be relegated.