As the dust settles on the English Football League season, as some teams celebrate and others lick their (financial) wounds, RED looks back to last August, when it made a pre-season forecast of what the final league table might look like in May. A comparison of these forecasts with the final league positions of each team is below. The table also contains the % predictions the Model made for the title, automatic promotion, at least playoffs and relegation (estimated using repeated simulation and random draws using the model’s probabilistic forecasts).
As a very simple metric of forecast performance, the correlation between the August prediction of league position and the May outcome is around 0.5. This is significantly positive, implying RED has some forecasting power. But it also isn’t great in this case. The Championship though is fairly unpredictable and has a high degree of “competitive balance”, with some correlation in team’s performances form one season to the next, but not as high as in the English Premier League, for example.
RED was nowhere on this one. Norwich won the league but RED had them finishing 19th, with next to 0% chance of winning the title, and a far higher chance of relegation than making at least the playoffs. RED’s title favourites, Stoke City, really disappointed this season. RED’s forecast in August didn’t seem ridiculous, giving Stoke as much as a 46% chance of becoming champions, given the considerably greater wage budget they enjoyed compared with anybody else and their Premier League pedigree. Stoke in the end finished 16th, making a mockery of RED’s 96% prediction that they would at least make the playoffs.
Automatic Promotion and Playoffs:
Besides Norwich and Stoke, RED gave a fairly good account in August of what other teams would be in the promotion picture by the end of the season. Swansea were predicted to finish 2nd, with a 90% chance of at least making the playoffs, but in the end finished 10th. RED works on historical patterns, and in the past the teams relegated from the Premier League have generally done well the next season. However, with a large number of teams now benefiting from parachute money over several seasons, it is plausible that this relationship has weakened, or equally plausible that this season was a one-off in terms of the weak performance of the teams relegated form the EPL.
RED got Bolton’s demise right. Birmingham City, forecast to finish bottom, survived comfortably, which might explain why their manager Gary Monk is now being coveted widely. Ipswich propped up the final league table, but RED suggested they would finish 14th and only had a 4% pre-season chance of relegation.
The local team:
Reading finished exactly where RED said they would, 20th position. Perhaps the Model is benefiting from some sort of local knowledge or intuition, and is more in tune with its immediate environment than we thought…
|Pos.||Team||Pos.||Title %||AP %||Poffs %||Rel %|
|4||West Bromwich Albion||3||11.6||28.8||83.3||0|
|14||Preston North End||12||0.1||0.2||5.2||2|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||22||0||0||0.4||25.2|