6 months ago by Sporting Life

SPORTING LIFE-INFOGOL: WHO WILL FINISH IN THE TOP FOUR?

Data experts analyse who will finish in the Premier League’s top four this season.

I think everyone would agree that Manchester City and Liverpool are nailed on for a top four finish, with their pairs underlying numbers streets clear of the rest over the past few seasons.

The question, therefore, is who will join them?

It looks to be between the remainder of the ‘big six’; Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Manchester United are in a season of transition under Erik ten Hag, and are very unlikely to finish the season in the Champions League places.

They simply have too much ground to make up on their rivals, and will likely lack the consistency required given the amount of change on and off the pitch.

Arsenal are making steady progress under Mikel Arteta from a data standpoint, with last season’s expected goals (xG) process their best since Arsene Wenger left the club.

New signings have strengthened their squad too, and the Gunners are expected to go close to a top four finish yet again, but the quality of Chelsea and Tottenham is likely to see Arteta’s side on the outside looking in again.

The Infogol model calculates the Gunners have just a 24% chance of finishing in the top four.

Thomas Tuchel’s side performed at very solid levels last season to finish third, ranking third in all major statistical categories. More of the same is expected, meaning they have an 80% chance of a top four finish according to the Infogol model.

Tottenham’s chances are at 49% for a top four berth, but the exponential improvement under Antonio Conte is set to continue – particularly as he has been backed this summer.

After a shocking start last season under Nuno Espirito Santo in which Spurs posted a -0.55 expected goal difference (xGD) per game, Conte came in and got the team pointing the right direction, with their xGD ranking third best in the league after his appointment (+0.91).

By the end of 21/22, their underlying process was at its highest level since the 17/18 season, and with the signings of Yves Bissouma, Richarlison, Ivan Perisic, Clement Lenglet and Djed Spence, they should only improve.

TOTTENHAM TO FINISH IN THE TOP FOUR is a confident selection given everything discussed.

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