Thursday 26 April 2012

Champions League Final Ready Reckoner.

Well done to both Chelsea and Bayern Munich who each defied the odds and made the UCL a much more compelling viewing spectacle overall by denying UEFA the "dream" Spanish final.However,the matchup has thrown up one unfortunate occurrence because the final will be held at the Allianz Arena,Bayern's home ground.

Home field advantage is a universal component of professional sports of every kind,so it seems inevitable that the host will benefit by upto three or four tenths of a goal because of the quirk of the pre determined fixture list.The split of "home" fans to visiting supporters won't reach the levels of a normal home fixture and Uefa could try to lessen Bayern's in built advantage by,say giving the home dressing room to Chelsea,but it's very likely that a sizable home field effect will be present on May 19th.

One off finals are almost always contested on neutral ground,but this presents a slight problem when you try to get an intuitive feel for the likely outcome of the game.Virtually every game has home field advantage incorporated into your perception of the course and final outcome of the game,so your ad hoc skills at weighing up a match up almost always includes a HFA component.Therefore,deciding how much of an advantage one team has over their opponent in a neutral venue final requires you to strip out this universal ever present.....and that's not that easy to do without recourse to a spreadsheet.

Fortunately,this year,Chelsea's bad luck in playing the UCL Final on the ground of their rivals means we can look at this game in a very similar manner to how we view most games throughout the season.Namely,Bayern are at home to Chelsea,who's going to win?

One last wrinkle is that German sides don't often play English one's so to make the comparison even easier,I've framed the evaluation in terms of a one off English FA Cup game.The first named team are the home side on the day and the chances on the right refer to the respective sides progressing to the next round,either in 90 minutes,extra time or through a shootout.

All you need to do is select the matchup below that in your opinion most resembles the task faced by Chelsea when they travel to Munich in May.I consider their task on par with,coincidentally Chelsea visiting Old Trafford and that gives Chelsea a 35% chance of qualifying or in this case picking up the silverware.If you think the UCL Final is the equivalent of Stoke trying to get past Manchester United on United's own turf,then you'll be giving Di Matteo's side less than a 20% chance of taking the podium,the fireworks and the trophy.

Equivalent "Settled on the Day" FA Cup Tie. Home Side's Chance of Qualifying/Away Side's Chances of Qualifying.
Manchester City at home to Manchester United. 0.58/0.42
Manchester United at home to Chelsea. 0.65/0.35
Manchester United at home to Tottenham. 0.70/0.30
Manchester United at home to Liverpool. 0.75/0.25
Manchester United at home to Stoke City. 0.82/0.18
Manchester United at home to Aston Villa. 0.88/0.12

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