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John Burn-Murdoch

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The chain of events that led to Brexit will be examined in great detail — and much anguish on the Remain side — for years to come. Rapid changes in the UK’s political climate undoubtedly played a part, and global events including the Great Recession and recent European migrant crisis have left their mark.

But for now we can focus on what we know in the immediate aftermath of the vote: the distinguishing characteristics of the areas of Britain that voted for either side. Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

Remain led by several points in late 2015, but saw its lead eroded at first gradually, and then quickly as 2016 wore on, before Leave went ahead over the last weekThe way our model calculates the average from the remaining five polls in its basket after outliers are removed is completely unchanged, but the polls in that basket should be more representative of where the ‘true’ opinion of the electorate lies.

After this change, our poll-of-polls has Leave on 45, two points ahead of Remain. Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

Spain lead the Financial Times' predictions for Euro 2016, just ahead of Germany and then hosts FranceThe European Football Championships are upon us, and with them an eclectic mix of prediction models from media organisations, financial institutions and independent statisticians. To assuage our FOMO (fear of missing out, for the non-Millennials), the FT has joined in with one of our own.

Spain are favourites to lift the trophy, narrowly ahead of Germany and hosts France, based on our method which uses Champions League appearances and players’ market values to determine each team’s strength. This trio of teams comes in well ahead of the other 21 countries taking part.

Read on for details of the model and how it compares to the betting markets. Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

Two weeks out from from Britain’s historic EU referendum, opinion polls are dominating the debate. The question is: are they adding or removing clarity about the eventual outcome?

Today we published an overview of some of the challenges facing pollsters as they look to demonstrate that the 2015 general election mis-fire was a one-off. What follows here is a look at how some of these issues are affecting our own poll-of-polls — and how we might deal with them — as well as an exploration of some of the alternatives to pure polling when it comes to forecasting the result on June 23. Read more

London’s population overtook New York’s in 2014 and last year surpassed its pre-World War II peak for the first time ever. Yet there are increasingly news stories about how the UK’s capital is becoming a place where people work but don’t live, or how sharply rising house prices are forcing out the poor, the young or those with families.

What is actually happening? How to square the anecdotal evidence with the fact that London adds as many people as the entire city of Bath (>100,000) to its population every single year?

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Leicester were bottom of the Premier League on April 10 2015, but a year later had climbed to the top, winning 91 points along the way. No team beginning at the foot of the top flight has ever won that many points* over the subsequent year since English league football began Read more

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John Burn-Murdoch

The 2015-16 El Niño episode has been either the most or one of the most intense on record, depending on which measure you use.

Going on sea surface temperatures alone, the latest El Niño narrowly edges out 1997-98, the previous strongest. Temperatures in the Niño 3.4 region of the Pacific Ocean — the most commonly used of the regions scientists measure for signs of an developing El Niño or La Niña conditions — peaked at 2.37°C above the long term trend in November 2015, just ahead of the 2.33°C mark reached in 1997. Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

PSG are so far ahead of their domestic rivals that manager Laurent Blanc has been able to field weakened sides ahead of big Champions League matches at a rate unmatched by any other quarter-finalist, ensuring that his strongest side has been as well-rested as possible. Read more

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John Burn-Murdoch

Hosts India squeezed into the semi-finals of the ongoing ICC Twenty20 World Cup largely thanks to a sensational innings from their star batsman Virat Kohli, who hit 82 off 51 balls, without losing his wicket, to take India past Australia and eliminate their opponents in the process.

In doing so he scored more than half of all India’s runs for the match — having almost managed the same two games earlier, scoring 46 per cent of the team’s total in another crucial win, this time against Pakistan. Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

England’s Premier League is enjoying one of its most competitive seasons for years, but at the same time the league is without a club in Europe’s top 10 for the first time in 20 years.

The interplay between competitive balance and outright quality of football is a complex one, and depending on who you talk to, different levels of importance are placed on each when it comes to talk of which league is the bestRead more

John Burn-Murdoch

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John Burn-Murdoch

The Premier League could lose its fourth Champions League berth within two years, and things will only get more difficult the year after that.

England’s top flight will be given four places in Europe’s elite club tournament next season whatever happens, but the different leagues’ rankings in Uefa’s member association coefficient rankings as they stand at the end of the current season will determine the number of berths each receives in the 2017-18 tournament. Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

The Chinese Super League has cropped up in football conversations for several years now, but until recently it was in the context of it being one of the sport’s so called ‘retirement homes’: lesser leagues, where prominent Europe-based players only go for a final bulging pay packet and a relatively easy ride. This winter, that all changed, as several genuine global stars — many still in their prime — arrived on big money deals from major European clubs Read more

The bookies say it will be the Carolina Panthers, and there’s one clear statistic to back that up: the Panthers won 15 out of the 16 games in the regular season, compared to the Denver Bronco’s 12.

That should make the Panthers favourites, but the best team in the regular season is not a shoo-in to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

The January transfer window is upon us, and with several major clubs across the continent enduring tumultuous seasons, there are likely to be some fairly high profile comings and goings.

Every season billions of pounds change hands in the two periods where deals can take place across the globe, but despite the amount of the sports media’s attention devoted to the transfer market, evidence suggests there remains a surprising amount of uncertainty over what the fees involved actually are. Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

The Red Devils have hardly undergone a Chelsea-esque implosion — they sit in 5th place at the time of writing — but the Old Trafford faithful have grown increasingly restless, an undercurrent of discontent growing into a crescendo of criticism as perceived lacklustre performances have been followed by the poor results many felt they deserved.

According to an FT analysis, those perceptions are backed up by the statistics. After seven years of near-unbroken dominance in terms of their results, Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure from the post of manager was followed by a dramatic decline.

By the end of David Moyes’ solitary term in charge, Man United’s results — after adjusting for opposition quality — didn’t even put them among the fourth strongest sides in the league. The arrival of Louis van Gaal brought about a recovery: by the end of his first campaign the club was — only just — back among the four strongest sides in the league in terms of results. Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

Last Thursday Chelsea’s owners made the decision many felt has been coming since August, and dismissed their talismanic manager José Mourinho.

Thus comes to an end his second spell at the reins of the club. The first ended in relative stagnation, but the second was truly a meteoric rise and fall.

With the aid of a statistical examination of the last 15 seasons, we can see the best and worst of Mourinho, and get a clue as to some of what went wrong this time around. Read more