Retrofitting Monte Carlo to the Hodgson Great Escape


Okay, just for the sake of it, here’s the Hodgson Great Escape Monte Carlo’d up.  In short if I’d created the model at the time Hodgson took over I would have predicted between 32-34 points.

We ended up with 36, and then only with that silly late run.   So you can say that Hodgson gained the team one win over what the model expected.  This isn’t trying to do Hodgson a disservice: we all know that we’d have gone down without him.  But this is exactly the point. The model says that Hodgson basically got the team back to a reasonable level and then some, which took an awful look of hard work.  That’s the challenge: not making us good, but getting us back to where we should be.  The current model says that doing this, which is what Meulensteen can achieve, will still perhaps not be enough.

What I think this shows is that even with a new coach who knows what he’s up to, it’s very hard to change a team’s trajectory that much.  This is why I think the earlier model for the current team is important.  It takes in the team’s established level and says what it’s likely to do.  The argument that we don’t know the team’s level because of the new coach is valid but over-estimate’s a coaches ability to change a team. That would take a great deal of money in addition to basic team organising.

It’s also worth noting that Meulensteen has effectively the same task ahead of him as Hodgson did.  The model for now sees greater possibilities ahead than it did for Roy’s escape but it amounts to the same thing: the model things we’re destined for a points total in the lowish 30s. Hodgson beat it by the narrowest of margins.  Can Meulensteen?

12 thoughts on “Retrofitting Monte Carlo to the Hodgson Great Escape

  1. Despite a reasonable A level obtained 45 years ago I don’t really “do” statistics.

    Surely though the model predicts likely possible futures with most of them predicated on the basis that not much will change because normally it won’t.

    We “only” need to be 3 or 4 points better than one out of 5 clubs provided we do as well as the two below us.

    Looked at that way not much improvement is required.

    1. Yes but that alone is based on a degree of regression towards an established level. given that the season has been performed well below that level we are faced with the question of whether returning to a reasonable level will be sufficient, and it appears it won’t.

      I do understand the point you make but from this it seems likely (and I believe this) that we’ll be either be reaching a low level of points or having to improve to a degree greater than we did under Roy. At that point we might have said the same thing, that we ‘only’ had to finish above three other bad teams, but that proved to be a challenge and a half, as it will this time.

      We are probably going round in circles now!

      1. Perhaps a problem is that you are looking at our probabilities alone and not doing the same with West Ham, Stoke etc.

        If we only need to get 3 or 4 points more than them in 24 games and play them once then provided we beat them we only have to do as well as them give or take a point or two.

        Of course we have to improve on our performance levels but we don’t actually have to be better than the other teams at the wrong end of the table.

  2. For me, this suggests Sundays game is even more important than I originally thought!! We desperately need those 3 points on Sunday. Previously I’d compelled myself into a belief that even a sustained level of performance would have us on the right path, but clearly we need some points to get the balance of probability looking a little more favourable. I think we can all safely assume Everton & City are unlikely to yield much for us even if we were playing at our best.

    I don’t know why, but I have a comparison in my head that is more akin to the season under Mark Hughes – from memory we were tripe, and 2nd bottom before the trip to Stoke, yet ended up being reasonably well placed come the end of the season. Granted we were probably 6 points better off than currently before the Stoke game, but with Villa, Norwich & Hull on the horizon it didn’t feel that unachievable to be in that position. This, in my mind at least, came down to a slight shift in emphasis in tactics, and more importantly a returning Bobby Zamora who was central to our play.

    My biggest difference with the Hodgson comparison is that I really felt he was working with one of the 2 or 3 worst squads assembled in the division, whereas I think Rene has a bit more quality (not a huge amount more, granted) at his disposal – something more akin to the 12th-14th best squad as it were. But that is based on nothing other than a gut “we’ve been massively underpeforming” feeling. It was certainly like day & night watching on Wednesday -v- the previous 13 weeks. Under Sanchez, we had a dire squad, and Hodgson managed to eek out some business in January (Hangeland, Nevland, Saltieri on loan etc.) that made it a little more competitive & even then, we still weren’t in business until Bullard + McBride came back from injuries.

    Either way, by the time the final whistle blows on New Years Day I suspect we’ll know whether it’s looking at all likely or not.


    1. Whatever the quality of the squad the analytic community think that we have been one of the worst teams in Europe this season. This is partly why I am not convinced that we can achieve what we want to achieve. And if we can then serious questions need to be asked about what has been going on.

      1. “And if we can then serious questions need to be asked about what has been going on.” – With the few reports/rumors that have leaked, including statements from former players about the atmosphere around the grounds, I think it’s highly likely that Jol was the bull in Fulham’s china shop. I used to love the man and defended him all the time, but this season has really opened my eyes as to his deficiencies as a manager. We’ve been over this again and again as well: allegations of laziness, favoritism, bust ups, lack of training ground preparation, etc. For whatever reason, Jol has overseen a qualitative sea-change at The Cottage that may take a long time to correct. Perhaps it wasn’t his fault, perhaps he assumed too much about Fulham’s playing style or player nous, perhaps he was ham-stringed by the board… we’ll never know the details, but we can pretty well guess that he was the epicenter of the disturbances.

        Meulensteen’s review of the Spurs match (check it out on YouTube) gives me hope in that he seems to be keen to identifying problems, talking about them openly, and fixing them. We may not see the return of Operation: 0-0 a la Roy, but I have a feeling that we’ll begin to see the rise of a more coherent system of play that will lead to more positive performances from our boys and, please-god-please, more results. Even if we go down, we’ll go down fighting. At this point that’s all we can really ask for.

      2. Although I, like others can visualize us getting out of this, one argument to back up your “it’s beyond us” would be that our three wins have been pretty fortuitous. Based on stats and performances perhaps we should only have a fraction of our ten points, and from that base you would extrapolate to a finishing position in the bottom three.

  3. I bet ya’ll Roy wishes he was helping Fulham escape relegation again instead of planning for that tricky WC group…

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