UEFA Europa League 2022/23: Ranking clubs and groups with the Elo system – data analysis
The 2022/23 UEFA Europa League is set to be the 52nd edition of the second most important competition for European football clubs, known as the UEFA Cup until the 2008/09 season. The final will be played at the Puskás Aréna in Budapest, Hungary. Budapest was originally set to host the 2021/22 UEFA Europa League final.
The winner of the Europa League gets a place in the next UEFA Champions League and takes part in the UEFA Super Cup. Participants from Russia are excluded for the 2022/23 campaign. Spanish side Sevilla record winner of the competition. Last season, Eintracht Frankfurt won the cup.
How does it work?
Elo estimates the strength of a club based on the results against opponents and their strength. The Elo system works with only a single number, the Elo value. The difference in Elo points between two teams directly translates to a likelihood of winning against that team.
The expected number of Elo points gained from the next match is always zero. That means that over and underperforming over one or more games can be recognised by the number of Elo points won or lost in these games. That makes it very easy to actually judge how good a result or set of results has/have been.
Every game’s influence decreases when new games are played. In this way, a club’s Elo rating is a combination of all its previous results with games from the distant past having only a microscopic influence and the newest games influencing the rating the most.
To conclude, Elo ratings put a club’s results into perspective. Leagues vary greatly in quality and a metric that takes opposition strength into account is indispensable to compare clubs across leagues.
The Elo rating of all UEFA Champions League Competitors is within the range of 1,300 and 1,900. The average value of all attendees is 1,620. This is approximately the quality of clubs like Belgrad (1,636), Nantes (1,629) and Fenerbahce (1,597). The five weakest clubs are HJK Helsinki (1,318), Larnaca (1,459), Omonia Nikosia (1,471), Malmö (1,471) and Sheriff (1,479). The five best clubs are PSV Eindhoven (1,761), Union Berlin (1,761), Real Betis (1,793), Manchester United (1,822) and Arsenal (1,869).
Therefore, the likeliness to win the trophy for Arsenal is the highest, according to the Elo rating. However, the course of the knockout phase with possible opponents is not taken into account.
In Group A, the attendees are Arsenal (England), PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands), Bodo/Glimt (Norway) and Zürich (Switzerland). According to the Elo ratings, Arsenal (1,896) is the biggest favourite in Group A. They are followed by PSV Eindhoven (1,761). Therefore, two out of the best five competitors in this year’s campaign will face each other in the group stage already.
Bodo/Glimt (1,586) is likely to end the group stage in third place. Zürich (1,493) are the biggest outsiders in this group.
In Group B, the attendees are Dynamo Kiew (Ukraine), Stade Rennes (France), Fenerbahce (Turkey) and AEK Larnaca (Cyprus). According to the Elo ratings, Stade Rennes (1,705) is the biggest favourite in Group B. They are followed by Fenerbahce (1,597).
Dynamo Kiev (1,588) is likely to end the group stage in third place. Larnaca (1,459) are the biggest outsiders in this group.
In Group C, the attendees are AS Roma (Italy), Ludogorets (Bulgaria), Real Betis (Spain) and HJK Helsinki (Finland). According to the Elo ratings, Real Betis (1,793) are the biggest favourite in Group C. They are followed by AS Roma (1,748). Ludogorets (1,526) are likely to end the group stage in third place. HJK Helsinki (1,471) are the biggest outsiders in this group.
In Group D, the attendees are SC Braga (Portugal), Malmö (Sweden), Union Berlin (Germany) and Union St. Gilles (Belgium). According to the Elo ratings, Union Berlin (1,761) are the biggest favourite in Group D. They are followed by SC Braga (1,679). St. Gilloise (1,519) are likely to end the group stage in third place. Malmö (1,471) are the underdogs in this group.
In Group E, the attendees are Manchester United (England), Real Sociedad (Spain), Sheriff (Ukraine) and Omonia Nikosia (Cyprus). According to the Elo ratings, Manchester United (1,822) are the biggest favourite in Group E. They are followed by Real Sociedad (1,760). Sheriff (1,471) and Nikosia (1,471) will fight to get third place.
In Group F, the attendees are Lazio (Italy), Feyenoord (Netherlands), Midtjylland (Denmark) and Sturm Graz (Austria). According to the Elo ratings, Feyenoord (1,739) are the biggest favourite in Group F. They are followed by Lazio (1,731). Midtjylland (1,648) and Sturm Graz (1,648) will fight for third place.
In Group G, the attendees are Olympiacos (Greece), Qarabag (Azerbaijan), SC Freiburg (Germany) and Nantes (France). According to the Elo ratings, SC Freiburg (1,743) are the biggest favourite in Group G. They are followed by Nantes (1,629). Olympiacos (1,584) are likely to end the group stage in third place. Qarabag (1,532) are the biggest outsiders in this group.
In Group H, the attendees are Belgrad (Serbia), AS Monaco (France), Ferencváros (Hungary) and Trabzonspor (Turkey). According to the Elo ratings, AS Monaco (1,719) are the biggest favourite in Group H. They are followed by Belgrad (1,636). Trabzonspor (1,550) are likely to end the group stage in third place. Ferencváros (1,521) are the biggest outsiders in this group.
The Premier League clubs Arsenal and Manchester United are the biggest favourites to win the trophy this season, while HJK Helsinki are the biggest outsiders. The best group is probably Group A with the likes of Arsenal and PSV Eindhoven. The second best group might be Group E with Manchester United and Real Sociedad. The weakest groups are arguably Group B and H, but, overall, the competition is filled with star-studded quality, more so than ever before.