English league · Records & statistics

Analysis Of Premier League Scores 2008-09


I received the following e-mail from a friend yesterday:

Just a bit of fun this.

In my office, there is a football results game. Each week, you predict the score for the weekend’s games – you get 3 points for getting the score right, 1 point for getting the result right. Midweek games don’t count, so last year there were 35 rounds (out of 38 games played in the prem). The winning score was 281. That’s an average of 8 points per week. I managed to get 224 (6.4/week) and ended 29th. There are prizes for the top 5 spots as well as prizes for winning each week.

This year, I’ve decided that there’s no point in relying on my footy knowledge so how about a scientific approach? Now, predicting the result for any particular match is not an easy science – see : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/more_or_less/8062277.stm

BUT, there must be an overall profile for the season- say 25% of games finish 2-1 or something like that? So if I put 2-1 for all the scores every week, then of the 350 games in the season – statistically I should get around 260 points, PLUS all the single points I would get for a home win where the score is not 2-1. That would probably be enough to win. Are there any flaws to my masterplan? Also, any ideas where I can find the general stats I need for say last season?

I couldn’t find the stats anywhere, so I worked it out myself, using the results grid from ESPN Soccernet.

The product is here.   The information is in two tables – one of results by margin (distinction being drawn between home and away wins), and the other by total goals.

Not unsurprisingly, 0-0 and 1-0 are the most frequent scores, with 42 each (11.05%).   If home and away wins are combined, 1-0 or 0-1 is the most frequent score, with 72 (18.95%).

In terms of total number of goals scored, 3 goals is the most frequent, with 86 (22.63%).

As for margins, the most frequent are 1 goal wins (1-0, 0-1, 2-1, 1-2, 3-2, 2-3 and 4-3) with 149 (39.21%).   Draws occurred 97 times (25.52%) with 42 goalless draws (11.05%) and 55 score draws (14.47%).

The workings can be downloaded as an Excel document here.

As for the original question, 2-1 home wins occurred 36 times (9.47%).  2-1 wins, whether home or away, occurred 61 times (16.05%).

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