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September 28, 2014 7:00 pm

Can we predict the final Premier League table six rounds in?

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Just over 40 years ago Brian Clough left Leeds United after 44 days and six matches as manager. That, minus a day, is how long the 2014/15 English Premier League season has gone on for so far. The Leeds board thought it was enough to jettison Clough, but how much can you really learn from just six games?

Not a lot. This is because the three points awarded for a win can sling a team further up the table in the early stages – when all teams have relatively few points – than during the later weeks.

Statistically speaking, only 47 per cent of the final league table can be predicted by the teams’ positions after six games, but the amount clubs spend on wages at the start of the season can predict about 67 per cent of the final standings.

It’s not until 13 games in that a team’s league position is a better predictor than the principle that teams with bigger wage bills do better.

On average teams move up or down 3.4 places between the sixth game and the 38th. This is enough, for most teams, to know whether or not they’ll finish in the bottom or top half.

It’s after 33 games that positions are, in general, fixed: the average movement between a team’s position at this point and their final position falls below one, meaning they’re more likely than not to stay in their current position.

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