ESPN and a team led by Dr. Thomas Curran (of the London School of Economics) put together the Luck Index that looks at every game of the Premier League season. Their predictions based on what they found in 2017-18 seemed to come true during this just-ended 2018-19 season.
For the Luck Index, four types of incidents were considered:
- red-card incidents (both that should have been and should not have been sent off),
- penalty incidents (both correctly and incorrectly given),
- goals incorrectly disallowed (either by a bad offside or a nonexistent foul call)
- deflected goals
In the three categories related to officiating errors, the decision was made by a panel that included qualified referees with a consensus required for the incident in question to be considered an error.
The survey found that 39.7% of Premier League matches had been affected by one or more of the four types of incidents mentioned above.
For Blues specifically, this observation will hold particular relevance.
”... but when you break down the myriad injustices suffered by Everton, who were the unluckiest team in the Premier League last year according to the Luck Index, United should have finished seventh and out of the European places, with Everton finishing sixth on 62 points, ahead of United on goal difference. It’s no wonder both teams have been busy making signings this summer.”
You see, we weren’t all crazy when we felt strongly that we were getting hard done by with a few big decisions last season, with Phil Jagielka and Richarlison’s red cards coming to mind off the top of my head.
Also, the study actually showed that Manchester City were actually unlucky and should have won the league ahead of Liverpool by a bigger margin, with Sergio Aguero also hard done by as he should have won the Golden Boot.
Of course, any study of this nature comes with multiple caveats so before you start harbouring thoughts of suing the Premier League and the referee’s association, read through that section of the assumptions being made and used in the mathematical model.
Read more about the findings from the study and see the results from ESPN’s Luck Index.