Sunday, 22 October 2017

Excitement Quotas in the Premier League.

Excitement at a sporting event is a subjective measurement.

It doesn't quite equate to brilliance, as a 7-2 thrashing has to be appreciated for the excellence of the performance of one of the teams, but as the score differential climbs, morbid fascination takes over, at least for the uncommitted.

Nor does it tally with technical expertise. A delicately crafted passing movement doesn't quite set the pulse racing like a half scuffed close range shot that deflects off the keepers knee and loops agonisingly over the bar with the game on the line.

You can attempt to quantify excitement using a couple of benchmark requirements.

The game should contain a fair number of dramatic moments that potentially might have changed the course of the outcome or actually do lead to a significant alteration to the score.

It's easy to measure the change in win probability associated with an actual goal.

A goal that breaks a tied game in the final minutes will advance the chances of the scoring team by a significant amount, whilst the seventh goal in a 7-2 win merely rubs salt into the goal difference of the defeated side.

Spurned chances at significant junctures are only slightly more difficult to quantify.

You can take a probabilistic view and attach the likelihood that a chance was taken based on the chance's expected goals figure to the effect that an actual goal would have had on the winning chances of each side.

Summing the actual and probabilistic changes in win probability for each goal attempt in each match played in the 2016/17 Premier League season gives the five most "in the balance", chance laden matches from that season.

                               Top Five Games for Excitement 2016/17 Premier League

No surprise to see the Swansea/Palace game as the season's most exciting encounter, with Palace staging a late comeback, before an even later Swansea response claimed all three points in a nine goal thriller.

Overall I've ranked each of the 380 matches from 2016/17 in order of excitement as measured by the actual and potential outcomes of the chances created by each team in the game

Bournemouth's games had the biggest share of late, game swinging goals, along with the most unconverted endeavour when the match was still in the balance.

While Tottenham, despite playing in the season's second most exciting game, a very late 3-2 win over West Ham, more typically romped away with games, leaving the thrill seekers looking for a match with more competitive balance to tune into.

Middlesbrough fans not only saw their side relegated, but they did so in rather bland encounters, as well.

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