With 5 rounds of games played I thought it would be a good time to look at how the 2016 Allsvenskan is going. Let’s have a look at the league table so far:
True to it’s rather unexpected nature, the opening five rounds of the 2016 Allsvenskan have seen some surprises, and I don’t think anyone expected Sundsvall and newly-promoted Jönköpings Södra to be at the top! Also, last year’s top team’s have been struggling a bit, but seem to have picked up the pace lately.
But nevermind the table – altough it never lies, it does give an unfair view of the teams’ underlying performances, especially with so few games played. To really have a look at how the team’s been coming along so far I’ve reproduced some of Ben Mayhew‘s beautiful scatterplots:
Looking at shots taken and conceded per game we can see how Malmö, Djurgården and AIK have dominated their games so far, outshooting their opponent’s by some marginal. League leaders Sundsvall have, given their results, surprisingly spent most of their time in defence – but that’s just how Allsvenskan is.
When looking closer at shooting effectiveness we see that surprise teams Sundsvall and Jönköpings Södra have been clinical in front of goal so far, partly explaining their results. Häcken on the other hand have really struggled to score.
Looking at defensive effectiveness we can really see why Sundsvall are at the top of the Allsvenskan table. While spending a lot of time in defence, they’ve managed to concede very few goals given their shots faced. If this is down to some new tactic, skill or simply dumb luck remains to be seen – but for a team like Sundsvall I’m willing to say it’s the latter.
Expected Goals-wise we see just how lucky Sundsvall have been so far. They’ve conceded a lot of xG while failing to produce up front, putting them in the same group as struggling sides Falkenberg, Häcken, Helsingborg and Gefle. Malmö is at the other side of the scale, producing a lot of high-quality chances while keeping a tight defence.
Another interesting thing to look at is time spent in Game States. As a result of their good performance (or luck!) so far, Sundsvall have only spent about 1% of minutes played losing so far while Gefle have only spent 10% in the lead!
What about a prediction for the rest of the season then? I’ve used the games so far to fire up my league table simulation based on my Monte Carlo xG game simulation, and this is the result:
Note: The first table posted here was wrong due to a minor error in the code. This is the correct table.
As a Djurgården supporter, I kinda like the result – even though I think it’s a bit unrealistic for us to compete for silverware just yet. And anyways, a simulation of the whole season based on only 5 games tells more about what has happened so far than what we’ll see in the future, at least in my opinion.
The model clearly ranks Malmö as the best team in the league, as it’s done pretty much every season in my database, alongside AIK and Göteborg. Both the newly promoted teams, Östersund and Jönköpings Södra, seem competent xG-wise and have a good chance of staying up, while reigning champions Norrköping seem to be performing worse than last year. Gefle are always in the bottom of these kind of tables, but nevertheless seem to outsmart every metric available to avoid relegation season after season – but maybe this is the year they finally drop down to Superettan?
I’m planning to do these kind of updates at regular intervals, and maybe add some more plots and deeper analysis, but this will have to do for now!