It could be argued that the Premier League reached new heights this season. The top two teams ended with 98 and 97 points, with just 5 losses between them all season. And in Europe, English sides completed the line-ups of both showpiece finals of the Champions League and the Europa League. RED now looks back to last August, when it made a pre-season forecast of what the final league table might look like in May, giving the most likely position of each team. 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, Champions League qualification (top 4) 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 0.72. This is significantly positive, implying RED has some forecasting power. It is far higher than what RED achieved for the EFL Championship. However, this is not surprising. The Championship is fairly unpredictable and has a high degree of “competitive balance”, with only some correlation in team’s performances form one season to the next. The top positions of the Premier League, however, are dominated by the same teams from one season to the next. Similarly, teams promoted from the Championship tend to do particularly poorly in their second Premier League season – colloquially known as the “Second Season Syndrome”. By most measures of competitive balance, the EPL is a fundamentally unequal league, and thus far easier to predict than the lower leagues of English football.


RED got this one right. At the start of the season the Model gave Man City a massive 92% chance of winning the title. However, during the season Liverpool pushed City close, and for large parts were ahead both in terms of actual position and RED’s predictions for the final positions.

Champions League Qualification:

Chelsea marginally over-performed this season. RED gave them a 44% chance of finishing in the top 4, with a most likely position of 6th, but in the end they came 3rd. Manchester Utd clearly under-performed this season, costing their manager his job. The Model suggested they had a 79% chance of finishing in the top 4, but eventually they came 6th and had a really poor end to the season.


Huddersfield confirmed expectations, finishing 20th and bottom, as predicted with an 82% chance pre-season. Brighton just about escaped the drop, which reflects their pre-season prediction of a 44% chance of returning to the Championship. Cardiff and Fulham had very small chances of relegation according to RED in August. This was the biggest failure of the Model this season. It suggests RED over-valued Cardiff’s and Fulham’s form from the previous season in the Championship and their abilities to replicate this at a higher level.

Final Pre-season forecast
Pos. Team Pos. Title % CL % Rel %
1 Manchester City 1 92.4 100 0
2 Liverpool 2 1.9 68.3 0
3 Chelsea 6 0.7 44.3 0
4 Tottenham Hotspur 3 1.1 78.3 0
5 Arsenal 6 0.2 29.9 0
6 Manchester United 2 3.7 79 0
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 10 0 0 0.5
8 Everton 12 0 0 7.2
9 Leicester City 7 0 0.1 0.1
10 West Ham United 16 0 0 30.2
11 Watford 17 0 0 27.4
12 Crystal Palace 14 0 0 27.6
13 Newcastle United 14 0 0 22.7
14 AFC Bournemouth 15 0 0 23.9
15 Burnley 11 0 0 1.1
16 Southampton 16 0 0 32.6
17 Brighton & Hove Albion 18 0 0 44.1
18 Cardiff City 7 0 0.1 0.2
19 Fulham 9 0 0 0.4
20 Huddersfield Town 20 0 0 82