International Centre for
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Wed. 11 January 2012

Big-5 league predictions: mid-season assessment


For the second year running, the CIES Football Observatory has teamed up with RunningBall to predict the outcome of the five major European championships. At the start of the season, stars were attributed to teams according to the profile of their players in terms of both club and international experience, as well as stability. Clubs with three stars had a strong enough squad to win the title, those with two could claim a European place, while those with one could only avoid relegation. It is now time for an initial assessment.

All five clubs currently at the top of their league are three-star teams. Among the champions forecasted by our statistical model, Bayern Munich and Paris St-Germain are at the top of the ranking, Barcelona is second, while Chelsea FC and Inter Milan are only fourth and fifth. In both cases, the frequent manager changes are symptomatic of the lack of a clear strategic vision and have had a negative impact on results. The ageing of several key players may also explain the current decrease in performance.

If the 2011/12 season were to end today, our model would have predicted 10 out of 15 teams on the podium (two out of three in each league). All clubs in the top three of their championship tables have at least two stars. Among teams that we would have expected to be on the podium, only Bayer Leverkusen and Málaga CF are below fifth position (6th). Borussia Mönchengladbach and Levante UD are the only one-star clubs close to the three first places. These clubs are the true surprises of the first part of the season.

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About the CIES Football Observatory

The CIES Football Observatory was set up in 2005 under the name of the Professional Football Players Observatory (PFPO). Since 2011, it is one of the cornerstones of the vast CIES Observatory project, dedicated to the statistical analysis of sport in all its diversity. As well as the realisation of two annual reports, the CIES Football Observatory regularly carries out mandates for various stakeholders of the football industry. Methodological rigor coupled with a deep knowledge of football guarantees high quality analyses at competitive rates. More information at 

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