League table but not as you know it! Top 16 clubs in England revealed, as ranked by stats boffins

5 May

Think the league table tells you which club is the best in the country? It certainly should, but even with a league ladder, people will still argue that where a club places is not necessarily a true reflection of how good they are.


It’s even been argued that new champions Leicester aren’t the best team in the country, and have taken advantage of lapses from the ‘bigger’ clubs.

Step forward the Elo rating system: a method of ranking competitors that was originally developed for rating chess players, but has also been adapted and applied to football clubs. 

The basic principle of the Elo system is that the difference in ratings between two opposing teams provide a prediction for the result of a fixture. The rating is then updated based on how the teams perform.

If a team performs better than expected the rating increases, if they perform worse than expected, the rating decreases (for more explanation, click here).

Thus, a ranking of English clubs has been developed which cuts across different seasons and even divisions, based entirely results dating back to the start of the 1946/47 season.

Domestic league results from the top two divisions are taken into account, but not cup competitions, which can feature clubs without an Elo rating.

For further information see clubelo.com

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