Thursday, March 19, 2009

The draw is near.

We're mere hours away from the Champions League draw, and with four Premier League clubs remaining, the stage is set for some thrilling encounters to be selected.

It doesn't take a statistician to see that the draw is once again Premier League-dominated - but a closer look at the numbers suggests that there is a good chance of it producing some interesting ties.

All things being equal, and assuming a random draw, there is a a mere eight in 35 chance - or 22% - that no English team will meet another in the Champions League quarter-final draw on Friday lunchtime (LIVE on, where i gleaned this piece from.) Needless to say, that gives a 78% probability that a Premier League side will meet any other Premier League side.

In other words, just like last year - when Arsenal met Liverpool - we face the prospect of an all-Premier League tie when the matches are drawn in Nyon at 12:00 CET on March 19th.

But for Arsenal or Liverpool individually - and we can take this for the other English sides, too - to meet another Premier League outfit is 43% likely at the start of the draw. As for the prospect of a foreign team coming up against any given Premier League outfit, well, that's 4/7, or 57%.

As for Arsenal coming up against Liverpool themselves, well, that's easy - it's a one in seven chance that any given team will meet any other, so it's 14.3% before the draw begins. So, when you see that first team come out of the hat, take your guess for the second one and you have that much chance of being right.

But what if you sit down before the draw, write down the four combinations of teams in all four matches, and then see that they're all correct? You've just managed a one-in-105 shot, or a 0.95% chance of success come true - and that's before we take home and away advantage into account.

Feeling lucky? Why not leave your prediction below, or just discuss what matches you'd like to see, in my comments feature?