This is the first part of the series "Ranking Methods in football". The series introduces a variety of methods to determine the strongest teams on various levels of football. This article explains how Google's PageRank can be used as a rating method for domestic, continental and world-wide football. The procedure comes with the desired feature of adjusting for the strength of schedule. That is, winning against stronger teams is more beneficial than winning against weaker teams. We use this method to rank several European domestic leagues, find the strongest teams in Europe and also the strongest team in the world, all for the Season 2016/17. Be prepared for a surprise in the English Premier League!
Ranking Methods I: Page Rank
Home Field Advantage
There are many articles or blog posts about home-field advantage in popular leagues, for example in the English Premier League, the German Bundesliga and "The Big Five". No matter which article you consult, they all reach a similar conclusion: Home-field advantage exists, but it is declining. We here use our dataset of more than 800,000 games played in 225 top-tier leagues and international cups to analyse home-field advantage on a global scale. While our results confirm its decline, their are some interesting country specific surprises.
Goal and Result Distributions
Goals, the rare beauty of football. No other sport has such a low scoring frequency as football. But isn't that exactly what makes the sport so intriguing? A small moment of carelessness can make all the difference and a whole season goes down the drain. Just ask the "Meister der Herzen" of Schalke 04 in 2001 about a guy named Patrick Andersson and how he ruined a full season by a freekick. In this article, we examine how rare goals actually are and how the average number of goals per game has developed over the years. Also, we are going to look at the most frequent results in football history.