Relative performance

Thursday 9 February 2023 - by

To evaluate team performance in the context of a league, there are number of statistical tables we can look at in addition to the league table. 

While the league table alone might not necessarily show whether a team's performance has been up to expectations or not, one could assume that it should at least tell us how that team has been performing compared to their competitors, right?

League table shortcomings for evaluating team performance

While the above makes total sense at the end of the season, we know that the way the league table looks like during the season may not accurately depict how strong the performance of each team has really been.

League table

For example, Team A might be ranked higher than team B in the league table, but then what if:
  • Team B has played fewer matches than team A 
  • Team B has played more away matches than team A
  • Team B has already played against each team of the Top 5 while team A has not played against any of the top teams yet

Assuming the above conditions are true, should Team B sitting one point below Team A mean Team B has been underperforming in relation to Team A?

The further we are from the end of the season, the more each team's opposition record is unique and thus the less likely each team has been picking up their points under equivalent circumstances.

Evaluating match difficulty levels

To get a more precise idea on a team's performance, we need to take into account not only the number of points but also how much of a challenge the team has been facing so far.

We use Played Opponents' Points-Per-Game as indicator of how challenging a team's current record could have been.

To factor-in home vs away differences (because facing the league leaders at home may not represent the same difficulty level as facing them in their stadium), the Opponents' Points Per Game of a given team are calculated:
  • based on opponents' home matches only for each opponent played away
  • based on opponents' away matches only for each opponent played at home

We then use the average of all opponents' Points-Per-Game values to get a sense of:
  • how difficult a team's played matches might have been 
  • the expected difficulty level of the team's upcoming matches
We use those metrics to come up with two types of tables. The Relative Performance table and the Run-in Analysis table.

Relative Performance

The Relative Performance table is aimed at contrasting each team's Points-Per-Game value in light of the assumed difficulty-level of the oppositions they have faced to obtain their points.

It is presented in the form of a league table that also includes, for each team:
  • the team's Points-Per-Game value
  • the team played opponents' Points-Per-Game value
  • the Relative Performance Index, calculated by multiplying together both values above

You can view an example of this table by visiting the Bundesliga Relative Performance page.

Run-in Analysis

The Run-in Analysis table provides, for each team, an overview of the difficulty level represented by the team's upcoming matches, based on the Points-Per-Game of the opponents they have yet to play against.

The Difference column shows whether the opponent's already played represent a higher or lower combined Points-Per-Game value than that of the ones that remain to be played.

Run-in analysis

The La Liga Run-in Analysis page shows an example of how that table looks like.
 provides football statistics, results and blog articles on national and international soccer competitions worldwide.

Football fans can keep a tab on stats related to their favourite team or leagues of interest, and access a wide range of team performance data analytics and league standings, not only on the world's most famous professional leagues, but also on amateur and regional leagues over the world.

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