We asked the Opta supercomputer to predict how the Premier League pan out in 2023-24 prior to the season and then in September; with 12 rounds of games done, we’ve another update on those predictions.
Updated Premier League Predictions: The Quick Hits
Favourites to Finish Bottom: Burnley
Favourites for Relegation: Burnley, Sheffield United, Luton Town
Prior to the 2023-24 Premier League season kicking off, the Opta supercomputer simulated the campaign 10,000 times to see what we might be able to expect.
With almost a third of the season gone, we wanted to see how those percentages have developed. We’ve already covered the title race and top-four battle, and now we’re looking at the relegation fight.
Only Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool managed to avoid relegation in all of the initial 10,000 simulations, with each of the other 17 clubs relegated at least once. Plenty have pulled clear of any possibility of going down since, with a clear foursome emerging as the likeliest to drop.
With 12 matches played, it’s time to see how much work those, and others, have to do to try and save their skin. Below you’ll find the percentage probabilities of each team finishing in every position in the latest 10,000 season simulations, followed by our analysis.
Who Will Finish Bottom?
Pretty much since the season began, things have looked quite bleak for the three promoted sides. Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton Town came up, with the latter in particular filled with excitement given it is their first season in the Premier League.
Things have not gone entirely according to plan, though it’s Burnley who have struggled the most recently. In our October update, Vincent Kompany’s side looked like they were on course to stay up; they were relegated in less than half of the supercomputer’s 10,000 simulations (47.5%), with Sheffield United, Luton and Bournemouth all considered likelier to go down.
However, after a run of games since then that has seen them lose to Brentford, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Arsenal, the Clarets not only find themselves on course for relegation, but the supercomputer thinks they are the likeliest team to finish bottom at 34.8%.
Burnley have not been helped by their terrible home form. Their 2-0 loss to Palace at Turf Moor meant they have now lost all six games on home soil in the Premier League this season. They are the first side in English top-flight history to lose each of their first six home games to begin a season, while Kompany is only the second Premier League manager to lose his first six home league games after Mick McCarthy, who lost his first seven with Sunderland.
They’ve won just four points, with Everton in 1994-95 the only team to have that number of points after 12 games and manage to stay up.
Sheffield United recently secured their first league win of the season, which will have helped boost their chances of not finishing bottom. In our last update, Paul Heckingbottom’s side were considered likeliest to prop up the table at the season’s end at 44.5%. After their win against Wolves was followed by a draw at Brighton last time out, that has now reduced to 31.1%.
Luton are showing resilience, despite not amassing many points yet, and finish bottom in 22.7% of simulations. Everton – following their 10-point deduction – and Bournemouth are the only other sides with a chance greater than 0.3%, finishing 20th 6.4% and 4.6% of the time, respectively.
Who Else Will Be Relegated?
The overall relegation battle is more open, but not by much. The supercomputer still very much thinks it’ll be three from Burnley, Sheffield United, Luton, Everton and Bournemouth.
Burnley and the Blades are both given hefty chances of heading straight back down to the Championship, with the former’s relegation likelihood drastically increasing from 47.5% to 80.5% over the last four games, from which they’ve taken zero points and scored just two goals. Sheffield United have slightly improved their chances from 85% to 76.9%, which might be quite demoralising considering they have won four points from their last two games, though they were helped by Everton’s points deduction. It will be a real six-pointer when the Yorkshire side meet Burnley at Turf Moor in early December.
Luton are still fancied to be relegated with them (71.1%), down from their previous 74.3% after commendable draws against Nottingham Forest and Liverpool, while they only lost 1-0 against Manchester United at Old Trafford last time out. Rob Edwards’ side have home clashes with Arsenal, Manchester City, Newcastle United and Chelsea in December, and they also face each of Bournemouth, Sheffield United and Burnley away by mid-January.
Everton must have come over all Al Pacino from Godfather III. Just when they thought they were out, a 10-point deduction from the Premier League for financial breaches pulled them back in. After a poor start to the season, the supercomputer had Sean Dyche’s men down as one of the relegation favourites.
Having won four of their last seven games, they were up into 14th place and eight points clear of the drop zone. They were judged to have just a 3.5% chance of relegation, down from 21.2% four games ago. Then, with the 10 points shaved off, they’re back down to four points, level with bottom side Burnley, and their relegation chances sit at 33.8%. Their form will surely inspire confidence they can pull away again, and the club have declared their intention to appeal the sanction. You would probably still fancy them to reach safety even in this scenario, though, such has been their recent improvement now Dominic Calvert-Lewin is fit again. He is one of the players we consider to be an MVP on their Premier League team.
Bournemouth were looking in deep trouble as Andoni Iraola failed to win any of his first nine Premier League games. They were among the three likeliest teams to go down in October, with them doing so 57.2% of the time in supercomputer simulations. However, home wins against Burnley and Newcastle have given the Cherries a big boost, and now they go down in just 29.1% of simulations. Still higher than Iraola would like, but an improvement nonetheless.
After winning just one of their last eight Premier League games, Nottingham Forest sit in 14th place, with a 4.1% chance of going down, while 15th-placed Fulham (2.8%) are the only other team with a chance greater than 1%.
Chelsea fans will be relieved to learn their chances of going down have reduced to just 0.05%.
Opta-Simulated Premier League Table
After simulating the Premier League 2023-24 season 10,000 times following 12 games played, we’re able to rank teams positionally. Here’s the Opta supercomputer results from those simulations:
1st: Manchester City
4th: Tottenham Hotspur
5th: Aston Villa
6th: Newcastle United
7th: Manchester United
8th: Brighton & Hove Albion
10th: West Ham United
12th: Crystal Palace
13th: Wolverhampton Wanderers
15th: Nottingham Forest
18th: Luton Town
19th: Sheffield United
How Does the Opta Supercomputer Model Work?
- Opta’s League Prediction model estimates the likelihood of teams finishing in each position in the competition. We can therefore see how successful a team’s season is likely to be, whether it’s their relegation or title chances.
- The model estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) by using betting market odds and Opta Power Rankings. The odds and rankings are based on historical and recent team performances.
- The model considers the strength of opponents by using these match outcome probabilities and simulates the remaining fixtures in the competition thousands of times. By analysing the outcome of each of these simulations, the model can see how often teams finished in each league position to create our final predictions.