One of the best things about football is that it’s not played on paper so we see hundreds of upsets a season, but it doesn’t mean that fans won’t try to use data to predict what’s going to happen.
There’s an interesting Champions League predictor/simulator online at fivethirtyeight, and it’s thrown up some predictions that just don’t tie in with current league form at all.
Barcelona can hardly buy a victory just now but they’re ranked as third favourites with a 12% overall chance of winning the competition, while Man City are the overwhelming favourites with a 26% chance.
Liverpool and Chelsea are miles behind with a 6% chance of bringing the trophy home, so it shows how hard it actually is to predict the competition at this stage.
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City did fly through their group but they are looking distinctly average at times in the Premier League this season – they certainly have the ability to go all the way, but they’ve not shown much to suggest they should be the big favourites.
Chelsea are an interesting one because they took an absolute pasting from Bayern Munich last year, so this clearly thinks that the summer spending isn’t quite enough to overcome Frank Lampard’s failings at the very highest level.
It would also take a fool to bet against Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool in any competition, but perhaps their lack of numbers and experience will catch up with them and prove to be the difference.
It’s hard to look past Bayern’s consistency as they look to defend the title after last year’s triumph, but it will be interesting to look back on these numbers at the end of the season to see how accurate they really are.