A Mathematical Verdict on Aston Villa’s first season in the Championship

A Mathematical Verdict on Aston Villa’s first season in the Championship

The Championship season has just finished and Aston Villa finished in 13th position. Dr Tony Xia gave Aston Villa a mark of 59 out of 100 where 60 is a pass. How he came to that figure only him and his clique will know. However, when Aston Villa brought in a new manager after ten games into the season, there was all round optimism that Aston Villa would make the play off. Despite being a long term Aston Villa fan, I decided to build a mathematical simulation model that calculated the probability of them making the play-offs. This model was based on an adapted version of the Gambler’s Ruin Problem. I had to make a few simplifying assumptions such as the points needed to make the play-off is 73 points (based on a ten year average). My mathematical simulation calculated the probability of promotion was 3%. In my role as a BBC Expert Voice, I presented my arguments at a local radio station. This was back in October 2016. The mathematical simulation also predicted the number of points Aston Villa is expected to finish the season with; 58 points as well as the cumulative probability distribution of the season’s finishing points. The figure below shows how the model predictions compared to the actual results




Now Aston Villa actually did slightly better than the model predicted finishing with 61 as oppose to 58 points. However because of the poor start the model predicted it was near impossible for Aston Villa gaining a play off position let alone automatic promotion. The points need for promotion was actually 80 points seven more than the 10 year average. Nevertheless, the probability of Aston Villa achieving at least 61 points was 35%. So Dr Xia, I give Aston Villa 65 out of 100. All the best for next season.



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