Kick racism out

There has been much recent discussion surrounding racism and football. Two high profile cases have involved conflicts between Luis Suarez/Patrice Evra (see here) and John Terry/Anton Ferdinand (see here).

In the first case, the Football Association (FA) handed out an 8 match suspension – one of the more extreme punishments in recent times.

In the second, a complaint was made to the police – and it goes to a court of law later in about six months’ time.

The second has additional knock on effects, as JT has been the most recent England captain. Not wanting to be seen to endorse racism, the FA has stripped him of captaincy until the outcome of the trial is known – going against the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ stance of UK law, but in line with suspensions in many other professions while investigations are carried out. This overrules, and subsequently undermines, Fabio Capello (the England manager), who has consequently resigned.

FC was due to leave in six months’ time (shortly before JT’s court hearing) regardless, so this doesn’t come as a huge difficulty, or surprise. However, much has been made of FC being Italian and him never truly overcoming language and cultural barriers. In the aftermath of his resignation, there has also been much support for the next manager to be English.

My only comment on the matter is to suggest the FA need to be very careful that they are not being racist themselves – institutionally or otherwise.

Premier league predictor

In 2009, on the final day of the football season, David Spiegelhalter, a Statistician, attempted to predict the outcome of the Premier League fixtures using a mathematical model. He correctly identified the outcome (win, lose or draw) of 9 matches and the correct scoreline of 2 games. As a comparison, Mark Lawrenson, a football pundit, correctly predicted 7 outcomes and 1 scoreline using football ‘knowledge’. There had been ten fixtures in total.

The article detailing these predictions can be seen here, while the article detailing the maths behind the model can be seen here.

I have since replicated the model and adjusted it so that people can use it to predict any Premier League fixture of their choice. Please be aware that it may take a few minutes for any changes or selections to appear on this page – so please be patient with any ‘refreshing’.

The ten most recent games that people have requested to be predicted are listed below.

The percentages shown are the chances of obtaining that result. Sometimes a team may, for example, be ‘expected’ to win, while the single most likely result could be a 1-1 draw.

A breakdown of how the model works for the first (top) listed game is detailed below.

However, there are a number of limitations.

  • David Spiegelhalter details the limitations of much of the maths within his article.
  • The model becomes more accurate as the season progresses – as the amount of data on which the model is based increases (it is particularly inaccurate at the start of the season).
  • It is only as accurate as the information that has been entered – if I don’t update the results, the accuracy of the model will not update accordingly. See the table, below, to check how up-to-date any results are.
  • Changes and selections take a few mintues for data to appear on this page.
  • Only ten predictions are displayed at a time, which could be problematic if a few people want to simultaneously view predictions for a few matches.

Results upon which the model is based.