We predicted the outcome of the Premier League 2023-24 season before the campaign began via our trusty Opta supercomputer, and now we’ve taken a look at how those predictions have changed after the first four matches.
Updated Premier League Season Predictions: The Quick Hits
Favourites for the Title: Manchester City
Top Four Favourites: Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur
Relegation Favourites: Luton Town, Sheffield United and Everton
Just a few weeks ago when the 2023-24 Premier League season was about to get under way, we ran the numbers through the Opta supercomputer and found out the likelihood of where each team would finish.
The supercomputer simulated the 2023-24 Premier League season 10,000 times to see how it believed the campaign may pan out. After just four games (or three in the case of Burnley and Luton Town), we have fired it up again for an update, and there have been some interesting changes to its pre-season predictions.
Here, we look at all the key findings from the Opta supercomputer’s latest simulations of the 2023-24 Premier League season.
Who Will Win the Premier League in 2023-24?
At the start of the season, Manchester City were already overwhelming favourites to win what would be a record fourth Premier League title in a row. No English side has ever won the top-flight title that many times on the bounce, but the supercomputer determined that Pep Guardiola’s men had a 90.2% chance of doing so.
They were such big favourites that winning all four of their opening games – the only team to do so – has not really increased their likelihood that much. Top-of-the-league City are now considered to have a 91.3% chance of retaining their title. It would certainly take a brave person to bet against them.
The second favourites for the title had been Arsenal at 4.1%, but despite being level on 10 points with Liverpool, Jürgen Klopp’s side have leapfrogged the north Londoners in our simulations. Liverpool are considered to have a 5.6% chance of winning the Premier League, up from 3.6%, after a start that has included impressive wins over Newcastle United and Aston Villa, while Arsenal’s home draw with Fulham is probably largely what has sent their chances down to 2.8%, though their late win over Manchester United no doubt helped boost them a bit.
Beyond that, the supercomputer basically thinks a miracle would be required for anyone else to win the title. The fourth favourites are now Tottenham after their excellent start to life under Ange Postecoglou. Currently second on goal difference, Spurs are given a 0.1% chance of winning the league, while the last of the four teams on 10 points after four games, West Ham, have a 0.03% possibility of doing the unthinkable and following up their UEFA Europa Conference League success with a Premier League title.
Manchester United are the only other team considered to have a better chance of finishing first than West Ham, though their 0.09% likelihood is hardly something to get their fans excited after a bumpy start that has included two defeats in their first two away games.
The only other teams who won the title in those 10,000 simulations were Brentford, Newcastle (both 0.02%), Brighton and Aston Villa (both 0.01%). Chelsea were surprisingly low when the season began in terms of their chances (0.13%), but are now entirely off the radar as far as the title goes after picking up just four points so far from one of the easier starts.
Who Will Win Finish in the Premier League Top Four?
At the start of the season, it looked like it would be a fascinating race for the top four. Due to the nature of qualifying for the revamped UEFA Champions League, there is a good chance that fifth place in the Premier League will also be enough to reach the competition this season, but as it’s not yet certain, we’ll stick with the top four.
To the surprise of no one, Manchester City are deemed rather likely to make it. It often seems like an exaggeration to say that something is 99.9% likely, but if anything, that’s a modest statement for City’s top-four prospects, as that number has actually been rounded down (99.93%).
Despite finishing fifth last season, the supercomputer thinks Liverpool’s start to the new campaign is a sign they are on their way back to another top-four finish. Klopp’s men had already been given a 76.8% chance of getting back in there at the start of the season, and that has now risen to 91.1%.
Arsenal had finished in the top four again in 79.9% of simulations at the start of the season, and despite their title chances reducing, their top-four hopes have actually gone up slightly, now sitting at 82.4%.
As with the title, Tottenham are favourites to take fourth place, having done so in 17.1% of simulations, and they have an overall likelihood of finishing inside the top four of 31.7%. Manchester United’s chances have dropped quite a bit since the start of the season, when they were judged to have a 63.2% probability, which is now down to just 28.4%.
Newcastle are highly-anticipating their participation in this season’s Champions League after being drawn in a group with Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund, but they may have to make the most of it while they can. Three defeats in a row in the league has seen their chances slide from 24.8% at the start of the season to just 16.7% now.
Given Brighton’s win over Newcastle thanks to Evan Ferguson’s hat-trick, it may not be a surprise to learn that they now have a better chance than Eddie Howe’s side of a top-four finish (20.3%). Chelsea reached the top four in 16% of our simulations just a few weeks ago, but their poor start has slashed those chances to just 1.3%. They may be holding out hope for that fifth-place possibility, but even their chances of a top-five finish only come in at 3.4%.
West Ham may find it a stretch to win the league, but they can keep dreaming of a Champions League spot if they keep going like they are, and the supercomputer saw them achieve a top-four finish in 14.8% of its most recent simulations. Other teams given a chance are Aston Villa (7.6%), Brentford (4.2%), Crystal Palace (1.3%), Fulham (0.23%), Nottingham Forest (0.05%) and even Wolves (0.02%).
Who Will Be Relegated from the Premier League in 2023-24?
It has not been a particularly enjoyable start to life in the Premier League for the newly-promoted clubs. Sheffield United’s 2-2 draw with Everton is the only point any of the three teams have recorded so far. Burnley and Luton Town remain pointless, though they have played one game fewer than everyone else due to their match with each other being postponed while renovations were completed at Luton’s Kenilworth Road stadium.
At the start of the season, the supercomputer made Luton (62.3%) and Sheffield United (49.0%) favourites for the drop, and unsurprisingly, that has not changed, except that the percentages for both have gone up (to 68.2% and 64.5% respectively).
Bournemouth had initially been predicted to join them in going down, with the supercomputer initially believing they would finish 18th and giving them a 48.9% likelihood of being relegated. Despite Andoni Iraola still awaiting his first win as Bournemouth boss, their hard-fought draws against West Ham and Brentford seem to have reduced those chances, which are down to 42.0%.
That is bad news for Everton, though, who are now predicted to be going down with Sheffield United and Luton after losing each of their first three games without scoring – including at home to Fulham and Wolves – before that 2-2 draw at Bramall Lane. Sean Dyche’s men have gone from 34.4% chance of going down to 52.3%.
Burnley weren’t much behind Everton in their relegation chances at the start of the campaign, initially suggested to be 33.2%. However, despite losing all three of their games so far – all at home – the fact they have already played Manchester City, Aston Villa and Tottenham may have counted for something. Their relegation probability percentage has gone up to 43.2%, but it’s a much smaller increase than that of Everton.
Outside of those five, chances seem to be slim, which will be good news for the majority of the league. Wolves have slightly reduced their relegation threat from 16.5% to 14.4%, while Nottingham Forest have greatly reduced theirs from 33.8% to just 9.8% after picking up two wins from their first four games, including at Chelsea last time out, while also getting trips to Arsenal and Manchester United out the way early.
The only other team with a greater chance than 1.0% of facing the drop is Fulham at 3.4%, though it should be noted that Chelsea are judged to have a 0.99% likelihood of going down, so apparently Mauricio Pochettino’s expensively assembled team are only 0.26% less likely to be relegated than they are to finish in the top four.
Opta-Simulated Premier League Table
After simulating the Premier League 2023-24 season 10,000 times following four games played (just three by Burnley and Luton Town), we’re able to rank teams positionally. Here’s the Opta supercomputer results from those simulations:
1st: Manchester City
4th: Tottenham Hotspur
5th: Manchester United
6th: Brighton & Hove Albion
7th: Newcastle United
8th: West Ham United
9th: Aston Villa
11th: Crystal Palace
14th: Nottingham Forest
15th: Wolverhampton Wanderers
19th: Sheffield United
20th: Luton Town
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.