# The Premier League Wins Graph

I thought that with the new year in football, in would be interesting to draw a graph of all the football teams and all the results. Draws aren’t really directed in either way so I had to leave them off the graph, but this is what it looks like:

Premier league results for first half of 2009/10 season. Drawn games are not shown. Click on the picture to see a PDF which you can zoom into.

Now of course it is impossible to see anything on this graph! However, I programmed it in Mathematica, and so it was really easy to limit it into showing only a certain range of match days. For instance, the last four match-days of 2009 (17, 18, 19 and 20) are shown here:

Match-days 17 to 20 are shown. Again, draws are hidden.

Perhaps it would be interesting to come up of a graph of ‘upsets’, where perhaps that is a team from the bottom half of the table beating a team in the top half, or a draw in more extreme cases. Perhaps it could be decided by me ranking each team in the Premier League. Actually, that might be interesting. (Edit: I have now done this here)

Getting this together I used Excel’s ‘Import from web-page’ feature on the Footbo page. It was the first team I used it and it worked well, saving me from having to write an XML parser in C#. In Excel I formatted it to work with Mathematica and wrote some code to display it there. Most of the work is done by the GraphPlot function. You can download the workbook (with the data) here.

Arsenal fan and comedian Dara O Briain asked in the comments of his latest Guardian column how early in the season the first cycle of teams where each beats the last occurs. His column pointed out a couple of interesting cycles.

It obviously cannot happen on the first day. It is possible for it to happen on the second day, and in fact it nearly does: West Ham beat Wolves, who beat Wigan, who beat Villa. But then Villa ruined it all by losing against West Ham. The third day has a lot more possibilities.

The Premier League 2009/10 after the first three rounds. Draws are not shown.

By the third day it has indeed happened. Villa beat Liverpool 3-1, Liverpool beat Stoke 4-0, Stoke beat Burnley 2-0, Burnley beat United 1-0, United killed Wigan 5-0 and then Wigan beat Villa 2-0. In fact, this is the only such cycle by this time.

I wonder if that fact that a cycle happened so early was a sign that the Premier League is getting more unpredictable, or if such a cycle does tend to appear quite early in the usual case. It would be easy enough to check another couple of seasons but as the fixtures change every year it might not really tell us much.