Are Villa safe? Updated relegation probabilities and projected safety line

Christopher Lee

Villa suffered a terrible 4-1 defeat to Swansea today, but did it change their probability of staying up by much?

At this point, you can start expecting these updates after every matchday that impacts the relegation chances of the bottom six squads in the Premier League. We'll have one after tomorrow's massive Sunderland-Cardiff tilt, on which a whole lot hangs. But let's get down to it. For a primer on the math used, see this post for how I calculated the number of points each team should end with and this post for the odds of reaching the projected safety line.

I'll just give you the straight numbers first. After that, if you're so inclined, there is a bit of discussion about what may or may not change in the coming days.

Projected final table:

Position Team Projected points
15th West Bromwich Albion 39.16
16th Aston Villa 38.41
17th Sunderland 34.29
18th Norwich City 33.74
19th Fulham 33.52
20th Cardiff City 32.76

You'll notice that Aston Villa and West Brom have flipped places, but otherwise the projected finishing order remains the same. As for implications from tomorrow, if Sunderland win, they'll jump to 35+, a draw sees them fall about a point, and a loss drops them about two. For Cardiff, a win would bump them to the top of the bottom four, while a draw or a loss would see they stay bottom of the pile.

Given that a draw hurts Sunderland and doesn't help Cardiff, that's what fans of any of the other teams in the discussion should be rooting for.

Projected safety line

Yesterday, I did the math and found out that the projected safety line would be 36 points (and that teams with 35 would be in danger). Today's results actually bumped both of those down by a point. 35 is safe in nearly every prediction now, while 34 is the dangerous spot to be. So with that in mind, here are the percent chances of each team reaching 35 points:

Team % chance to reach 35 points
West Bromwich Albion 100
Aston Villa 100
Sunderland 48.73
Norwich City 42.77
Fulham 28.27
Cardiff City 16.78

The fact that four teams are projected to miss 35 points more than half the time is what makes me think that it's the number needed for safety. If that's true, Villa actually find themselves safer today after a 1-4 loss than they were yesterday.

Discussion

  • Remember, these are probabilities. There ARE ways in which 35 points would not be safe, but they are highly unlikely.
  • I've used the best odds I can find, but they're a bit wonky for the final week. For instance, according to the odds Villa and Tottenham have equal chances of beating one another (35.21% each). That's simply not correct, but even if I adjust the probabilities a bit (by saying, for instance, that Villa have a 15%/15%/70% chance of win/draw/loss respectively) it doesn't really significantly alter much of the math presented here. I expect to have better odds sometime midweek this week, and will of course update accordingly.
  • We owe massive thanks to Hull City for coming back to draw Fulham and Manchester United for trouncing Norwich. Allow either of those teams to win and the situation is significantly dicier.
  • As mentioned above, we should all be rooting feverishly for a Sunderland-Cardiff draw tomorrow. Should that not happen, the next best scenario is a Cardiff win.
  • These numbers actually agree with many of the simple "To be relegated" odds that you can get for Villa right now. Currently I'm seeing 8/1 in most places, which translates to an 88.89% chance of safety. To my gut, that feels about right, even though it differs from the numbers by a bit.
So what do you think? How are you feeling about the bottom of the table now, and who do you think will be dropping? Let us know in the comments!

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