StatsBomb Predictive Models – Serie A Through 6 Matches

By Ted Knutson

Greetings, and welcome to another edition of our Predictive Models, this time featuring Italy’s top league. If you aren’t familiar with what these are or why you might care, feel free to click here [LINK] for a more complete explanation. For the rest of you, let’s dive right in.

R Team

1

Roma

2

Juventus

3

AC Milan

4

Inter

5

Lazio

6

Napoli

7

Fiorentina

8

Livorno

9

Udinese

10

Genoa

11

Cagliari

12

Torino

13

Parma

14

Atalanta

15

Sassuolo

16

Chievo

17

Bologna

18

Verona

19

Sampdoria

20

Catania

League Winner: Juventus, Roma
Champions League Spots: AC Milan, Inter, Lazio, Napoli
Relegation Battle: Uh, it’s complicated.

This is not what I expected at all. Roma are at the top of the rankings (they were likely projected around 6th preseason), and Fiorentina are struggling down in 7th (having lost Super Mario Gomez very early on). Both Milan teams are playing better than I figured (Inter in both coefficient and results, Milan in co-efficient only) and… Lazio?

Lazio are rated above Napoli?

LAZIO?!?

The same Lazio who have already played at Juventus and at Roma? This is deeply unexpected. (For me, anyway. You guys probably already knew all this.) This is the same team that I said just yesterday, “don’t count as having played anybody.”

I need to apologize to Lazio and their fans. I was wrong. I’m sorry. You guys are totally anybodies.

While talking about strength of schedule, I can say that Roma have had it fairly easy thus far, while Inter have played both Juve and Fiorentina and done quite well. I didn’t think Mazarri would be able to whip them into shape this quickly, especially with all the defensive issues they suffered last year, but that’s exactly what has happened.

The short of it is: there are six strong teams at the top of Serie A right now, with Roma and Juve currently a class above the rest. In fact, their coefficients through the first six matches are in the same range as Dortmund and Bayern Munich, meaning they have been hugely dominant. Fiorentina could potentially join the teams at the top, but they need more defensive solidity and better health.

At the bottom end of the model expectation, strength of schedule is wreaking havoc. Verona and Bologna (very hard opening schedule) are the “worst of the lot”, with Catania (very hard opening schedule), Chievo (very hard opening schedule), Sassuolo (yep, Inter, Napoli, Lazio), and Atalanta at the edge of the danger zone. (All of these teams have production that is quite a bit worse than the rest of the league). Sampdoria are probably only hanging out down there because they too have faced Juventus, Roma, and Milan in the first six matches – I think they are a lot better than this.

Yes, I know Verona have 10 points, despite giving up 20.5 shots and 8 shots on target per game. No, I can’t quite explain how that has happened except to note they also had a miserable opening schedule (Juve, Roma, Milan). Variance is a bitch.

Sassuolo, despite some abusive beatings, have fundamentals that suggest they should get a bit better as they go along as well.

So regarding the bottom of the table, take all of this with a grain of salt. Usually there’s more balance to the schedule overall and we can draw at least some vague conclusions at this point. Not this year. Basically every single team down there has faced two or three of the six best teams in the league in their first six matches and been roughed up. The next five matches will be a much better indicator of where these guys will end up at the end of the year.

 

 

 

 

Article responses

Sassuolo impressed me in last two games. They made 17 shots when played Napoli despite having 28% possession. I’ve never seen anything like that. In next game Sassuolo outshot Lazio 20-12. It is obviously a good sign for this team.

Reply

The defeat at Inter obviously stung Sassuolo, but having Berardi back playing well is an amazing fillip. He, Zaza and Missiroli looked a class above even Lazio (EVEN LAZIO) on Sunday.

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