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UEFA Champions League 2013-2014: Round of 16 – A prediction


UEFA Champions League 2013-2014: Round of 16 – A PREDICTION

I got to be honest here. Like other millions of fans, I cannot wait for the Round of 16 of UCL to kick off. I was getting super restless so I decided to put down my predictions.

Now, numbers definitely speak a language. More importantly, the belief our race has in that language, as evident from the trillions or maybe quadrillions spent by organizations, betters, governments, etc., in various fields such as science, sports, retail, finance, analytics, and many more, will not dwindle in ages to come. I really admire simplicity and so this time I picked the most simple, yet, important element of a football game – goals – to predict my top 8.

The Data

Now, a goal could be for and against. I collected the data for goals scored per game by the 16 teams which have qualified for the Round of 16 for 2013/2014 UEFA Champions League. The matches being considered are the teams’ league matches. Yes, the number of goals scored varies in different leagues, but I believe these numbers highlight the average number of goals a team has been scoring for the past quarter, thus indicating the kind of form they are in.

I calculated the average profile for each team.

Average Profile = [Goals scored per game]/[Goals conceded per game]

Average Profile

Source: Footstats and ESPN FC

The Model

I ranked the teams based on the average profile. This tells that a team with a higher rank (RBOP) is more capable of scoring than conceding goals, which directly conveys that that team is more capable of scripting a win instead of dreadful draws or losses against a team with lower RBOP. Based on these ranks, we could predict the result of a match between two teams. A team with higher RBOP is more likely to win against a team with lower RBOP.


The Validation

Before I predict the results of the round of 16, I decided to benchmark and validate the data and here is a proof of why I believe that this model of predicting results of football matches can be used for Champions League knockout stages.


From the above table, it can be seen that the team with the higher RBOP was the winner and the team with a lower RBOP was the runner up in 6 out of 8 groups of this year’s Champions League. In Group A it is believed that Manchester United is playing better than they are playing in EPL and in Group C, Olympiacos has shown a much deteriorated performance as compared to their league matches.

Yes, probably an argument can be made that it was touch and go in some of the groups, but I believe that eventually a team with a higher RBOP prevailed, with an exception in groups A and C.

The Results

Based, on the above, a prediction can be made about the round of 16 of UCL.


The Conclusion

3 Spanish teams, 2 German teams and 1 team each from England, Greece and France are likely to qualify for the Quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.

Having said that, since in group A and C the model failed and plus, the winner of group A is going to face the runner up of group C, I believe that Manchester United will most likely win against Olympiacos and hence that will change the composition to include 2 English teams and no Greek team!

So here is my list of 8 teams which will qualify for the quarterfinals.


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