Respected American statistics and analysis website FiveThirtyEight.com has predicted the final positions in League One this season, and they conclude Sunderland will finish second.
The website bases its forecasts on a complex model that takes into account a host of factors derived from a revised version of ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI), a rating system devised initially by FiveThirtyEight in 2009 for rating international football teams.
The SPI incorporates club data going back to 1888 and also includes data from Opta. During the season a team’s ratings are adjusted after every match based on its performance during the game and the strength of the opponent.
The computer has crunched the numbers, and it predicts Sunderland will win seventy-eight points, finishing second behind Ipswich on eighty-six points and secure the automatic promotion spot their supporters crave.
The forecast will perhaps come as a surprise to Black Cats supporters, with many less than impressed with new boss Phil Parkinson. Sunderland have lost four of their eight games with the former Bolton manager at the helm and their latest defeat at League Two strugglers Scunthorpe United in the EFL Trophy was described as the lowest point in the club’s illustrious history by some supporters.
Although the start to the season has left many fans exasperated and cost the previous boss Jack Ross his job, the Black Cats are still in a decent position, currently seventh in League One, one point off a playoff place and eight points behind surprise package Wycombe in second.
However, the prediction may raise a wry smile from many supporters, who feel their underperforming side has no chance of achieving the club’s aim and getting back into the Championship this season.
To some, the phrase ‘Lies, damned lies, and statistics’ will come to mind.
For a look at the full league table as predicted by FiveThirtyEight.com, click here.
Can Sunderland do it and make a charge for the second spot?
We doubt it, but you never know in football.
One thing for sure, Parkinson is yet to convince many fans and needs to put a run together, or his time in Wearside could be short and very painful.