Title Challenge Consequences of Arsenal v. Manchester City

This will be a short blog post, but I wanted to show the huge consequences of this weekend’s biggest game: Arsenal v. Manchester City. My model has Arsenal as a  surprisingly big favorite here, giving City only 14% chance to win at the Emirates.1 Clearly Arsenal has a lot more to lose here, with 2.05 expected points compared to City’s 0.70 expected points.  Arsenal currently has about a 6 point lead at the top of the expected table over City, so even a draw would close that gap to ~4.5 points. Week 17-0 Arsenal City

So what will happen to the title chase after Monday’s game? I ran the usual 10,000 simulated seasons based on an Arsenal win, a draw, and a City win, and looked at the results. Here they are:

Consequences of Arsenal v City

This game has huge implications for the title race. Currently I have Arsenal at about 74% to win the league, but if they lose they drop a net 4.3 points in the title race (losing their ~2 expected points, and City picking up 2.3) which closes the 6 point gap to a little over a point.  An Arsenal loss/City win gives Arsenal a 52% chance to win the league, bumping City up to 40%.

A tie hurts Arsenal as well, but not too badly. They’d be at 66.5% to win the league, while City would move up to 24.5%. Still big favorites, but with a little less breathing room at the top.

However, a win puts Arsenal over 80% to win the league, giving them an ~8 point expected final table cushion over City, dropping City’s chances to only 13%.

This is probably the biggest game of the season so far, and really borders on a must-win for City if they want to make a title challenge. However, a draw seems to suit both teams just fine so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a 0-0 draw with no one taking too many chances and content to live to fight another day (while letting Leicester City presumably build on their lead at the top of the table).

  1. Personally that seems far too low to me, but I’m a City supporter so I may be biased here. City doesn’t have a great record recently on the road in big matches so the model may be smarter than me.

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