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A few posts ago (see here), I noted that there was a group of 7 teams in the English Premier League (EPL) that seem to be a cut above the rest:

• Arsenal
• Chelsea
• Everton
• Liverpool
• Manchester City
• Manchester United
• Tottenham Hotspur

The team logos. (Photo credit: kadanewsmag.com.ng)

Who is the best among these 7 teams? In thinking about this question I realized that there are so many measures of what is best. So, instead of trying to figure out who is best (and get caught in between raging fans), I challenged myself to do the following: For each of the 7 teams, can I find a metric of success for which they are the best? Here, I am limiting myself to metrics that can be derived from just ranking and points.

tl;dr: I couldn’t find one for Everton, and the one I found for Liverpool is rather forced. Can you find measures against which Liverpool or Everton come out tops?

Code snippets used to obtain figures in this post are provided; the full R script can be found here.

Here is a glimpse at the data we are using (named under the variable standings):

Most championships in last 10 years: Chelsea, Man C, Man U (3)


standings %>% filter(Rank == 1) %>%
group_by(Club) %>%
summarize(Champions = n()) %>%
arrange(desc(Champions))


Most top 3 finishes in last 10 years: Chelsea, Man C (7), Man U (6)


standings %>% filter(Rank <= 3) %>%
group_by(Club) %>%
summarize(Top 3 = n()) %>%
arrange(desc(Top 3))


Most top 5 finishes in last 10 years: Arsenal, Man C (9),Chelsea, Man U, Tottenham (8)


standings %>% filter(Rank <= 5) %>%
group_by(Club) %>%
summarize(Top 5 = n()) %>%
arrange(desc(Top 5))


Most points in last 10 years: Man U (783), Man C (764), Chelsea (762)


standings %>% group_by(Club) %>%
summarize(Total Points = sum(Points)) %>%
arrange(desc(Total Points))


Best median rank in last 10 years: Man U (2), Man C (2.5), Chelsea (3)


standings %>%
group_by(Club) %>%
summarize(Median Rank = median(Rank)) %>%
arrange(Median Rank)


Best median rank in last 5 years: Man C (2), Chelsea (3), Tottenham (3)


standings %>%
group_by(Club) %>% filter(Season >= 2013) %>%
summarize(Median Rank = median(Rank)) %>%
arrange(Median Rank)


Best worst rank in last 10 years: Arsenal (6), Man U (7), Liverpool (8), Tottenham (8)


standings %>%
group_by(Club) %>%
summarize(Worst Rank = max(Rank)) %>%
arrange(Worst Rank)


Best worst rank in last 3 years: Tottenham (3), Man C (4), Arsenal (6), Man U (6)


standings %>% filter(Season >= 2015) %>%
group_by(Club) %>%
summarize(Worst Rank = max(Rank)) %>%
arrange(Worst Rank)


Most consistent ranking by standard deviation: Arsenal (1.14), Tottenham (1.72), Everton (2.12)


standings %>%
filter(Club %in% c("Arsenal", "Chelsea", "Everton",
"Liverpool", "Manchester United",
"Manchester City", "Tottenham Hotspur")) %>%
group_by(Club) %>%
summarize(sd = sd(Rank)) %>%
arrange(sd)


Most consistent ranking by linear regression coefficient: Liverpool (-0.024), Arsenal (0.133), Chelsea (0.261)


standings %>%
filter(Club %in% c("Arsenal", "Chelsea", "Everton",
"Liverpool", "Manchester United",
"Manchester City", "Tottenham Hotspur")) %>%
group_by(Club) %>%
summarize(beta = lm(Rank ~ Season)$coefficients[2]) %>% arrange(abs(beta))  Most improved team in last 5 years by linear regression coefficient: Tottenham (-0.9), Man U (-0.8), Man C (0.1)  standings %>% filter(Season >= 2013) %>% filter(Club %in% c("Arsenal", "Chelsea", "Everton", "Liverpool", "Manchester United", "Manchester City", "Tottenham Hotspur")) %>% group_by(Club) %>% summarize(beta = lm(Rank ~ Season)$coefficients[2]) %>%
arrange(beta)


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