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Evaluating team performance

SoccerSTATS.com - updated on: 18 Jun 2020

In league competitions, team performance is often evaluated according to well-known indicators such as Total Points, Points per Game or Winning Percentage. To help provide more context in evaluating team results, the Relative Performance Index evaluates Points Per Game in light of an additional factor: played opponents' Points Per Game.

"It all evens out at the end of the season". We know the tune, whether it means arguing about how unlucky our team has been in regards to points lost, suspensions, refereeing decisions, or regarding the fact that other teams have been lucky not to have faced as many tough opponents so far.

At the end of the season, when each team has played the same number of matches, against all the top teams and all the easier oppositions, it is clear to everyone which teams ended up having a successful campaign and which teams did not.

However when the league is half-way through, althouth the team rankings, points and points per game can be useful indicators in evaluating team performance, such values only reflect performance within a specific context. That context is actually the opponents each team has played against, and whether each match has been played at home or away, as discussed in Evaluating matches difficulty-level.




Overrated or underrated?

Let's say our team is ranked just one point behind their direct competitors, with a home game in hand against a lower-level team. Are we on course? Pending a win in that game to catch up, we would think we pretty much are. Shame for those 2 points dropped last week against that supposedly easy opponent though.

Now the league table might be telling us a story we like to hear. And with that game in hand to factor-in, if we would only be looking at Points Per Game, instead of total points, our team would even be ranked above its direct competitors.

Yet in order to get an idea of the kind of performance our team has actually achieved compared to its competitors, we will want to look at where and against which opponents our team's points have been picked up, and the same would apply to the competitors' points.




Evaluating the opposition

To evaluate the opposition's level, we use the same metric described on the Run-in analysis page: an average value taking into account the home Points Per Game (PPG) of all the opponents faced away, and the away PPG of all the opponents played at home. The resulting value is labelled as "Opponents PPG" on the Relative Performance table.


Calculating the Relative Performance Index

Example of a weighted grading system

The Relative Performance Index (RPI) can be compared to an average "grade" a student might get when taking a series of exams to validate a degree. Depending on the nature of the studies, the exam's grading system will likely allocate more weight to grades related to assignments or subjects that are critical to the degree's field.

For example, for a Science degree, a good grade in History will most probably not compensate for a very low grade in Mathematics, as a Science degree will likely weight Mathematics grades higher than History ones. Each subject or assignment will have its own weight, depending on how critical it is for the degree.




The final combined grade will then be calculated by giving more weight to the grades or points obtained in the crucial subjects. In that example, the assumption was that, for a science degree, a good grade in Mathematics is more meaningful than the same grade in History.

Applying weighted grades to football team results

The RPI calculation also attempts to come up with a rating that provides more weight to the team's more meaningful results. For example, if the last two matches played by a team are (1) a home win against a low-level team, and (2) an away win at the league leaders', both results will be valued exactly the same in the league table and in the Points Per Game calculations, yet the latter can be seen as more meaningful in terms of performance.

Each result obtained by the team will carry its own "weight" represented by the opponent PPG, and the combined opposition strength for all played matches by a team is represented by the Opponents PPG value in the table.

To calculate the Relative Performance Index, we multiply the team's Points Per Game with the team's Opponents PPG value.

More information on on the Relative Performance Index is available on the Relative performance page.



 ENGLAND  Premier League
 Liverpool 34 92
 Manchester City 34 69
 Chelsea 34 60
 Leicester City 34 59
 Manchester Utd 34 58
Premier League stats

 ITALY  Serie A
 Juventus 31 75
 Lazio 31 68
 Atalanta 31 66
 Inter Milan 31 65
 AS Roma 31 51
Serie A stats

 SPAIN  Primera Division
 Real Madrid 34 77
 FC Barcelona 35 76
 FC Sevilla 35 63
 Atletico Madrid 35 63
 Villarreal 35 57
Primera Division stats

 FRANCE  Ligue 1
 Paris SG 27 68
 Marseille 28 56
 Rennes 28 50
 Lille 28 49
 Nice 28 41
Ligue 1 stats

 GERMANY  Bundesliga
 Bayern Munich 34 82
 Dortmund 34 69
 RB Leipzig 34 66
 Monchengladbach 34 65
 Leverkusen 34 63
Bundesliga stats

 NETHERLANDS  Eredivisie
 Ajax Amsterdam 25 56
 AZ Alkmaar 25 56
 Feyenoord 25 50
 PSV Eindhoven 26 49
 Willem II 26 44
Eredivisie stats








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