Using the Opta supercomputer’s predictions, we’re able to look at the chances of each team lifting the Premier League title at the end of the season. As the campaign goes on, we’ll track the chance of each of the frontrunners in the title race.
Liverpool’s 4-1 midweek victory against Luton last week put the pressure back on fellow title contenders Manchester City and Arsenal. Both sides knew they needed to win their games in hand to keep the pressure on Jürgen Klopp’s side at the top of table.
Manchester City were first up on Saturday and were made to work extremely hard by Bournemouth for their 1-0 victory. But work hard and win they did, grinding out narrow victories is the hallmark of champions. That’s now seven of City’s 18 wins this season that have come by a one-goal margin.
Phil Foden was their match-winner, and his first-half goal was his 16th in all competitions this season, his joint-most in a single campaign along with 2020-21.
A win here saw Man City’s title likelihood jump up 3.9% to 50.6%. Pep Guardiola’s side are a coin flip away from becoming the first-ever team to win four consecutive Premier League titles.
Arsenal responded to City’s win in emphatic style with a stellar 4-1 performance at home to Newcastle. Mikel Arteta’s side blew away the visitors in the first half, with an own goal from Sven Botman and a Kai Havertz goal putting the Gunners two-nil to the good after the first 45 minutes.
But it was the manner of the performance that was most notable, with Arsenal harrying Newcastle all over the pitch. The home side won possession in Newcastle’s third on 14 different occasions during the match – the highest total in any of their games so far this season.
That pressure saw Newcastle fail to have a single shot in the first half, the first time they’ve failed to do so in the opening 45 minutes of a Premier League game since March 2014 (vs Southampton).
Victory here saw Arsenal become the sixth side to win at least their first six Premier League games from the start of a calendar, with each of the last three going on to win the league that season (Man City in 2021, Liverpool in 2020, Man Utd in 2009, Blackburn in 1994 and Sheffield Wednesday in 1993).
Despite that, their predicted Premier League title chance barely moved, increasing a mere 0.4%. And that’s simply because of the calibre of opposition which they find themselves up against in this exciting three-way battle for the title.
Liverpool will resume their quest for Premier League glory on Matchday 27 at the top of the summit, but saw their overall chances of winning the title fall by 4.3%. That’s what happens when both of your immediate rivals win while you don’t play.
Still, with a record-extending 10th EFL Cup win, the Reds had a pretty good weekend all things considered.
Only two Premier League matches were played in midweek, but both had big implications on the title race.
First, Manchester City hosted Brentford at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday evening. With City enjoying a 3-1 away win against the Bees just three weeks ago, many expected another comfortable night for Pep Guardiola’s side. However, they only won by a single Erling Haaland goal, scored 19 minutes from time.
Haaland’s strike means he’s now scored against all 21 teams he’s faced in the Premier League, and when the striker scores, it’s usually great news for Man City – they’ve never lost a league game that he’s netted in.
Just 24 hours later, an injury-ravaged Liverpool hosted Luton Town at Anfield. The Reds’ fans would have been nervous at half-time as they trailed 1-0, but four second-half goals sent Liverpool back to the top of the table having played a game more than their rivals.
This win means that Liverpool have now won a league-high 22 points from losing positions in the competition in 2023-24 and equal their own club record within a single Premier League season, level with 2008-09.
Following these two matches. Man City still hold the edge in the Opta supercomputer’s season projections. Their current chance of a fourth successive Premier League title stands at 46.7%, which is above Liverpool’s 40.4%. It could have been so much worse for Jürgen Klopp’s team, though.
In the seconds before Virgil van Dijk and Cody Gakpo’s quickfire double to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead, Liverpool’s chance of winning the Premier League title had fallen to 30.1%. The Opta supercomputer was so sure of a Liverpool win in this fixture (78.4%) that any points dropped would have gone massively against their chances of title success.
Arsenal – who suffered a poor 1-0 UEFA Champions League defeat in Porto on Wednesday – still have a game in hand on Liverpool and see their current chances of winning the title at 12.9% with the supercomputer.
With Liverpool in EFL Cup final action this weekend, Manchester City host Bournemouth – a team that they have won all 13 Premier League games against, while Arsenal host Newcastle – a fixture that’s had its fair share of bad blood in recent memory.
It could be a pivotal weekend in the title race.
A Manchester City slip and the title race has been blown (nearly) wide open. It’s not quite a straight three-way race yet, but it’s now about as close as it’s been all season, with Liverpool and Arsenal both capitalising this weekend on City dropping points.
Liverpool began proceedings with a convincing 4-1 win at Brentford in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off, before Arsenal blew Burnley away, winning 5-0 at Turf Moor. Mikel Arteta’s side have now scored five or more goals in three of their last five Premier League games (also 5-0 vs Crystal Palace and 6-0 vs West Ham), netting a total of 21 goals in those five matches, all of which they have won. That run of 15 points from 15 has seen them storm back into the title race.
In the late game on Saturday, City then stumbled against Chelsea, with Rodri rescuing a 1-1 draw after Raheem Sterling’s opener. It was the first time they have failed to win a game in any competition since mid-December’s 2-2 draw with Palace, and it had a significant impact on the title race according to the Opta supercomputer. City’s title chances plunged from 67.7% last Monday to 46.5% today, making it more likely after this weekend’s results that one of Liverpool or Arsenal win the title than City.
Liverpool’s chances have gone up to 38.4% – putting them closer to City in terms of their title chances than they have been all season – while Arsenal are given a 15.0% chance. They aren’t quite as likely to win the league as they were just before Christmas – when their chances went as high as 29.9% – but they are back in with a very good shout.
If Spurs were still clinging on to any hope of a title race, those hopes were as good as extinguished this weekend as they fell to a hugely disappointing 2-1 home defeat to Wolves. Last week, their manager had been asked about the Opta supercomputer rating his team’s title chances at 0.1%. He replied: “A supercomputer! Does it go into a phone booth and change into something else from just a normal computer? What did it say, 0.1%? So we got a chance then. Let’s go for it. No problems, no issues with that, we’ve got a chance.”
Unfortunately, the chance of Spurs winning the title is now low enough that when rounded to one decimal place, it is 0.0%. The title race isn’t completely over for Postecoglou’s side, but it very, very nearly is, according to the supercomputer.
Aston Villa swapped places in the table with Spurs and took that 0.1% chance off them, too. A 2-1 win at Fulham took Villa back into the top four, and they are now the ones clinging on to an outside chance of a late surge for the title.
Suffice to say, it was a bad weekend for Aston Villa. It doesn’t bode well that they followed up their first home defeat in the Premier League in over 11 months against Newcastle with another, having also been beaten on home turf by Chelsea in the FA Cup in midweek.
Their title chances – according to the Opta supercomputer – only stood at 0.2% heading into Matchday 24, but Villa’s 2-1 home defeat to Manchester United on Sunday coupled with wins for all their rivals has seen their chances drop to just 0.01%. Enter your favourite Dumb & Dumber meme here.
Manchester City maintained their ominous form as they beat Everton 2-0 thanks to a second-half brace from Erling Haaland. That makes it six league wins in a row for the defending champions since their brief hiatus to win the FIFA Club World Cup in December.
Pep Guardiola’s side increased their favourites tag to retain the title with their latest victory at the Etihad Stadium, moving up from 66.2% to 67.7%.
Their likeliest competition still comes from familiar foes Liverpool, who bounced back from their loss at Arsenal last week to beat Burnley 3-1 on Saturday. It wasn’t a straightforward win for Jürgen Klopp’s men and wasn’t the first time Vincent Kompany has looked to give them problems in a title race, but headers from Diogo Jota, Luis Díaz and Darwin Núñez gave them the win at Anfield.
Due primarily to City’s victory, though, Liverpool’s chances of sending Klopp off into the sunset with a second Premier League title still dropped according to the supercomputer, going from 26.1% to 24%.
It was another big win for Arsenal, though, not just in terms of importance but in the sheer number of goals scored. They wiped the floor with West Ham in a tremendously one-sided London derby. Declan Rice was predictably among the scorers in a 6-0 trouncing at London Stadium on Sunday.
The supercomputer still doesn’t view the Gunners as particularly strong challengers to City, but we did at least see a rise in their percentage from 7.4% to 8.2%. Keep up the form that has seen them win their first four league games of 2024 and that number will continue to go up.
Tottenham just about kept their name in the reckoning with a 96th-minute winner against Brighton. Ange Postecoglou’s side have conceded more 90+ minute goals than any other team in the Premier League this season but have now scored the joint-most 90+ minute winners (three – level with Man Utd) thanks to Brennan Johnson’s late strike at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
They remain on just a 0.1% likelihood of winning the league, but luckily for Spurs their manager won’t be concerned. Postecoglou said of our supercomputer just last week: “A supercomputer? Does it go to a phone booth and change into something else from just a normal computer?
“What did it say, 0.1%? So, we got a chance then. Let’s go for it. No problems, no issues with that. We’ve got a chance.”
League so far this season, but keeping close and stealing the title at the last would suit them just fine.
How Does the Opta Supercomputer Model Work?
• Opta’s League Prediction model estimates the likelihood of teams finishing in each position in the competition. We can therefore see how successful a team’s season is likely to be, whether it’s their relegation or title chances.
• The model estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) by using betting market odds and Opta Power Rankings. The odds and rankings are based on historical and recent team performances.
• The model considers the strength of opponents by using these match outcome probabilities and simulates the remaining fixtures in the competition thousands of times. By analysing the outcome of each of these simulations, the model can see how often teams finished in each league position to create our final predictions.
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