Premier League action returns tonight with the chance for Aston Villa to temporarily go top of the league if can avoid defeat against Leeds. We think a Villa win is likely. Why this is, is explained below.

This prediction is calculated using past results, including goals, whether a team wins or not in their most recent match and also in the last 6 matches. The teams Elo rating is also used.

Expected goals are those drawn from a Poisson model based on past results given the information listed above from recent games, and Elo ratings. For instance, both Liverpool and Man City are predicted to score at least 2 goals (2.24 goals for Liverpool and 2.14 goals for Man City).

We then sum up all these probabilities to give an overall probability of each outcome, under “Outcome Probs”.

The most likely scoreline is then in the “Score Picks” columns under “Most”. This is often 1-1, since 1-1 historically is the most likely scoreline, though not exclusively.

The column “Cond” is the most likely scoreline conditional on the most likely outcome occurring – that’s usually, but not always, a home win since our forecast model builds in the home advantage.

The final two columns are the average bookmaker prices for match outcomes according to Oddsportal

We can see below that our model closely agrees with bookmakers that Liverpool are going to win at home to Sheffield Utd for instance. A clear 2-0 victory is predicted as the most likely result (despite Liverpool being without Van Dijk and Alisson – because the model doesn’t take into account individual player absence).

Generally speaking though there isn’t a lot of difference between our model predictions and the bookmakers odds this week.