Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Crystal Palace.....The Only Way Is Up.

A quick post to try to put Crystal Palace's current predicament into some kind of historical context.

In terms of points, they've (obviously) had the worst start through seven matches in the lifetime of the 20 team Premier League.

Zero points, zero goals and not one iota of friendly randomness to break their duck in either category, despite bad, but not completely hopeless xG figures.

Particularly in chances created.

Points won are just one factor in determining how bad a side has started their campaign. The aim of the majority of teams in the Premier League is to simply stay in it for next season and your proximity to your nearest rivals is therefore just as important as merely your own points total.

One this basis, there's arguably a few teams ahead of Palace in claiming the worst initial seven game record.

Southampton in 1998/99, Portsmouth in 2009/10, their administration year and Sunderland in 2013/14 could be considered to have been worse off than Palace are now. Each may have won more points than Palace has, but Palace are marginally closer to both their immediate rivals and even mid table than were this trio.

Also, poor starts aren't an automatic ticket to the Championship.

50% of the 20 worst placed teams, compared to their 19 rivals after seven matches managed to stay up, although conversely the better the start, the more likely survival becomes.

27 teams have been comfortably placed equidistant from the leaders and the 20th placed side after seven matches and four ultimately fell through the trapdoor. But after that it became plain sailing and survival has been universal.

If we use Palace's proximity to their rivals as a measure of their start and compare the fate and the ranking of all teams in the 20 team Premier League era after seven games, there is more than a glimmer of hope.

Based on historical precedent and that alone, Palace have around a 28% chance of escaping relegation.

Of course a side is not relegated just on a single statistic. Injuries, the January window and their underlying stats all contribute to the reckoning in May.

Palace have had around the fourth toughest start in terms of opposition faced. It gets much less arduous after the play Chelsea in game eight, but they haven't enjoyed good luck with injuries to key attackers.

Their 10 game rolling xGD and actual GD since 2014 has been trending downwards over time, but the precipitous disconnect between process and outcome in recent matches is unlikely to persist.

They are far from the worst team in the current Premier League when measured over a more prolonged time frame. And although they have given inferior sides a start, it is a start that has been run down in the past.

Supporters will be correct to be pessimistic, Palace are probably more likely to be relegated than not, but the bookies price of 1.53, with an implied probability 65% still leaves their survival chances somewhere around the mid to low 30%'s.

A similar level of success enjoyed by their single cause predecessors mentioned earlier in this post.

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