Friday 15 December 2017

How High Might Manchester City Go?

Despite an inglorious 0/1 record, (Stoke to be relegated after one game of their return to the Premier League in 2008) Paddy Power has already paid out on the crowning in 2018 of Manchester City as the Premier League winners.

They are on slightly firmer ground this time around, as not only are City 11 points clear of United, 14 from Chelsea and 18 ahead of the three top six also-rans, Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal Burnley, they are also one of the best teams in Premier League history.

With "City to win the League" drifting into "Putin to be re-elected as Russian Leader" territory, focus has shifted to secondary betting markets, based around City's likely points total, goals scored or margin by which they will lift the domestic crown.

Whether or not you're interested in the betting dimension, estimating City's degree of dominance can provide a useful exercise in prediction over the long term.

The quick, and usually flawed way to predict a side's end of season statistics is to blindly scale up from those recorded in the season to date.

This approach is rarely useful, as it takes no account of remaining schedule, implies that the 17 matches played by City and each of their 19 rivals is a near perfect indication of what will follow and disregards variance.

Even after the fact of 16 wins and one draw, there was a finite possibility that more than just Everton may have taken something from a daunting meeting with Manchester City.

Future projections should embrace the possibility that their record to date belongs to an excellent team, but one who may have been slightly fortunate to extract a near 100% points haul and allow for the often admittedly small chance that Pep's City may be defeated.

Even a cursory glance at City's remaining fixtures that includes a game against each of the top 6 7 and two meetings with Spurs, should indicate that a single draw interspersed with wins in their remaining games would seem an unlikely scenario up on which to base a projection.

Simulations of the remaining games in the 2017/18 season, give a less rose tinted prediction, while still confirming City's near certainty to lift the title.

Simulations based on expected goals rolling over both this and last season, expect City to gain 98 Premier League points by May. This is completely in line with the current estimates at which their final points total may be bought or sold at a variety of spread betting companies.

Similar ranges are shown for 10,000 simulated outcomes for City's total goals scored and total wins over the 38 game season.

I've also added the scaled up totals based on their record over 17 games being repeated over the remaining 21 and while these blockbusting values do occasionally appear in the simulations, they are relatively high end outliers and inadequate as a most likely projection in mid December.

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