The Ghana Premier League title race: A statistical analysis and prediction

Two school of thoughts have emerged over the past weeks in a bid to theorize a possible cause for the close margins between clubs in the race for the 2020/21 Ghana Premier League title.

While those who view it from the standpoint of lack of quality can argue out their points, it does not rule out the fact that the supposed lack of quality in the league this season has contributed to its competitive nature.

The margin of points are so close to the extent that, with just a handful of games to go, even the teams outside the top 4 cannot be dismissed as potential victors.

This has undoubtedly been of significant importance to the league, as it is garnering a lot of attention from football fans in the country.

Throw in the fact that the two greatest clubs in the country in Kotoko and Hearts are occupying 2nd and 1st place respectively, and it is evident how special the season has been.

With just six games left in the 2020/2021 season, Hearts of Oak, Kumasi Asante Kotoko, Medeama SC and Accra Great Olympics all have their eyes set on glory.

But how will they fare in the last weeks that matters most for them?

In here, we tease out the possible outcomes of the remaining fixtures through a statistical analysis.

We compare the home and away Points Per Game (PPG) of the top four teams, their goals scored and conceded against their remaining opponents.

Hearts of Oak 

Position : 1st

Number of matches played: 28

Overall PPG: 1.79

Accra Hearts of Oak were in and around the title race in the opening half of the season as a result of their inconsistency, but the turn of the year has brought more smiles to the Phobians.

The purchase of Salifu Ibrahim has been influential, but most of the credit must be given to current head coach Samuel Boadu who has given more self confidence to the team.

Since his arrival from Medeama SC, Boadu has recorded some impressive victories which has seen them climb to the top of the table.

It might not be in flamboyant fashion, but the wins secured have been very crucial especially with the layer of clean sheet added to it.

The Phobians had not conceded in their 5 games played under Boadu until they played Olympics while the draw was also their first recorded following their 5-game winning run.

With such an impressive record, the Phobians can continue dreaming of a Premier League trophy since 2008.

The Ghana Premier League title race: A statistical analysis and prediction
Hearts are aiming to win their first trophy since 2008

The league leaders are among few clubs with a strong home record and that could come in handy in their next three home games.

They play Medeama, Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Liberty Professionals in a bid to consolidate their position at the top of the table.

Facing a less superior away sides in Medeama and Liberty Professionals, the Phobians are expected to take all six available points.

Medeama have a PPG of 0.93 in their away games, having won just 3 of 14 played so far this season, while Liberty Professionals have recorded a win less than Medeama on the road and a PPG of 0.57.

Unlike the aforementioned fixtures, the game against their arch rivals, Kotoko is likely to be the trickiest.

Although, Hearts pose a stronger threat at home as compared to their opponents, the unbalanced nature of goals scored and conceded could even things out.

The Phobians have scored 30 of their 38 goals at home this season, indicating their superiority at home.

But this time they will be facing a strong defensive setup of Kotoko who has conceded just 6 goals on the road this season, which is 2 less than they have conceded at home.

On the other hand, the Phobians will be encouraged by the fact that the Porcupines are not as sharp as they are in defense, having scored just 11 goals on the road.

Away from home, Accra Hearts of Oak have very slim chances of winning in their last game of the season against a WAFA side who has recorded a 2.31 PPG at home this season.

However, they stand a better chance against both Legon Cities (1.86 PPG) and Ebusua Dwarfs (1.57PPG) who do not have the most convincing records at home.

Expected home points: 7

Expected away points: 4

Total: 11

Asante Kotoko 

Position: 2nd 

Games played: 28

Overall PPG: 1.79 

Kumasi Asante Kotoko have a higher probability of winning three of their remaining games at home.

The situation would have been entirely different if the Porcupines were facing better away opponents.

Of the 14 home games played at home this season, Barretto’s side have a less superior PPG of 1.93, have scored 19 goals and conceded 8 in the process.

These stats are not entirely encouraging for a home side, but they are expected to emerge victorious against their next three opponents.

Of the 3 opponents, no team has recorded an away PPG of 1.00 or more, an indication of their poor run away from home.

Karela have recorded 0.71, King Faisal 0.57 and Elmina Sharks with 0.36.

The Ghana Premier League title race: A statistical analysis and prediction
The Porcupine Warriors could win all their remaining home games.

The situation is a little trickier in their away fixtures, coming up against Hearts, Inter Allies and Berekum Chelsea.

As indicated earlier, there is a huge possibility of recording another draw with Hearts based on the statistics, and the situation could be the same against Inter Allies.

The Porcupine Warriors have the same away PPG as Inter Allies’ home PPG (1.64), indicating the balanced nature of the game.

It is also backed by the fact that both sides have conceded less than 10 goals each at home and away.

Bechem United, however, could be the most dangerous of the three.

They have a great home record, having won 8 out of 14 games and lost only one. With a PPG of 2.07 and a prolific goal scoring average of 1.6, they could edge out the Porcupines in the last game of the season.

Expected home wins: 9

Expected away points: 2

Total: 11

Medeama SC

Position: 3rd 

Games played: 28

Overall PPG: 1.64

In terms of home games played this season, Medeama SC are joint with Accra Hearts of Oak and Karela as the best teams with a PPG of 2.36 each .

The Yellow and Mauves have lost just one of their 14 home games, winning 10 and drawing just 1, and that trend is expected to continue through to the end of the season.

Their first home game will be against a struggling King Faisal side who has an awful away PPG of 0.57 and a conceding average of 2.21.

Elmina Sharks who are even worse off will follow.

Battling relegation, they have a PPG of 0.36 although they have conceded less goals than King Faisal.

Their last game of the season will be against the club who has not won a single game away from home this season and are at the bottom of the away table.

Out of 13 games played away from home, Berekum Chelsea have lost 11 of them, recorded 2 draws, with a PPG of 0.15.

The Ghana Premier League title race: A statistical analysis and prediction
Medeama have a favorable run-in at home

While Medeama are strong at home, they have a poor form on the road, recording a PPG of 0.93.

That statistic is set to haunt them against strong home sides such as Accra Hearts of Oak and Berekum Chelsea who have a PPG of 2.36 and 2.07 respectively.

Their chances against Eleven Wonders is also very slim, given that the host have a superior PPG of 1.67.

Expected home points: 9

Expected away points: 1

Total: 10

Accra Great Olympics

Position: 4th 

Games played: 28 

Overall PPG: 1.61 

Based on the statistics, it will come as a shock if Accra Great Olympics dropped even a point against any of their three opponents at home.

They only do not have an encouraging record at home, but just like the top three sides, they face three of the woeful away clubs in the league this season.

In the 14 home games played this season, Olympics have won 8, drawn 4 and just lost 2, representing a PPG of 2.00.

In comparison to their opponents, they are far superior.

Bechem United who will be the first to visit the Accra Sports stadium have a PPG of 0.36 away from home, while the subsequent visitors Eleven Wonders and Dreams have an away PPG of 0.62 and 0.69 respectively.

The three visitors are also noted for conceding on the road, with a combined goals conceded of 69.

The Ghana Premier League title race: A statistical analysis and prediction
Olympics could win the league this season.

With an away PPG of 1.21, Olympics could survive against King Faisal and Elmina Sharks and pick up at least a point from those games.

But they should be very proud if they are able to achieve the same feat with a strong Berekum Chelsea side who have a PPG of 2.13.

Expected home points: 9

Expected away points: 2

Total: 11

Who will stand out? 

This season’s title race is surely going down to the wire, especially considering the list of remaining fixtures for the clubs.

All four clubs, with the exception of Accra Hearts of Oak are expected to take all 9 points at home, as they face less superior sides.

The club to secure more points on the road could then end up winning the trophy this season.

And based on the statistics, this might well be the season Accra Hearts have the Premier League god smiling on them.