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Alternative League Table and unlucky Heerenveen

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Expected Points (xP), introduced in my previous post, opens up doors for analyzing team performance over a time period. With the aid of data provided by fine gentlemen at Strata, now it’s time for a recap of last season. Let’s go.


Eredivisie Using xG to calculate expected points for every match and then summing up numbers for the season results in the following ‘alternate’ rankings table for Eredivisie last season:

What a race it was! The expected rankings table shows that the Big 3 - Feyenoord, Ajax and PSV - were actually neck and neck: expected points (xP) are very close. Looking at the difference between xP and actual points collected, we see some interesting (too speculative, for sure) story lines.

  • Feyenoord exceeded expectations greatly (82p vs. 68 xP = +14 points). Not only that, in the alternate world, they would also be playing at Europa League now – having finished 3rd behind Ajax.

  • PSV were slightly above their xP (76 vs. 71.5), but it could have been enough to win the title in this alternate world – 71.5 xP would give them the honors for champions.

Going below the table to the European cup spots:

  • Heerenveen: With 50 points (instead of 43 they actually managed), they could have secured a Europa League playoff spot with their 6th rank (instead of 9th in the unfortunate real world). They would have kicked Twente out of that bunch who would move to middle of the table.

  • Utrecht, AZ and Vitesse are just fine where they are.

Relegation battle still fierce:

  • 5 points lie between the 10th and 17th spots in the alternate league table.

  • Sparta Rotterdam’s 12th spot would have made their summer break start in due time, without having to play relegation play-off.

  • Roda wouldn’t have been that lucky however, since their expected rank overlaps with their actual on 17th.

  • No good news for Go Ahead Eagles either: their expected tally of 30 points wouldn’t have saved them from relegation.

It is important to note that expected points (and thus rankings) is only an additional measure we derive to understand what's happening on the pitch. Scenarios built on that are to provide additional insights into team performance and should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Serie A For the Italian league, I will let the interested readers to create the alternative storylines themselves. But I can't help but feel sorry for Pescara. 15 points - 41 xP = 26 points less than expected?! This calls for another post.

Until next time!


This article was written with the aid of StrataData, which is property of Stratagem Technologies. StrataData powers the StrataBet Sports Trading Platform, in addition to StrataBet Premium Recommendations.


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