What is the Catalyst PowerTable?

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It may sound like one of those Black & Decker DIY gizmos your dad used to get at Christmas, but the PowerTable is the result of extensive number crunching by Catalyst (a Hertfordshire management consultancy), an index of stats from every English league game since 2000.

Presenting breakdowns of competitive analysis, the PowerTable throws up various hypotheses and trends; when a team’s most dangerous during a game, when they’re most vulnerable, whether a side is too reliant on one specific player when it comes to getting goals, etc.

The table is split into four colour-coded tiers, based on the number of points won this century, management quality, squad strength, financial turnover and the club’s ‘potential’.

The PowerTable in all its glory

The first tier is home to the richest and most powerful clubs in the Premier League; the second the wannabes, those with a decent cash flow and plenty of ambition; the third a mixture of the newly-promoted and the stuck-in-their-ways mediocre; the final fourth tier housing the struggling relegation fodder.

Interestingly, and a little depressingly, it seems the biggest gap lies between those top two tiers. Breaking into the top four takes a huge leap in both performance and, crucially, finances.

Manchester City fans be warned: according to Catalyst’s Mark Reynolds, they need to add £100 million to their turnover, sell about 70,000 new shirts, increase their wage bill by about £80 million, buy back the stadium from the council and “find players who want to live in Manchester” to edge their way into that top-four promised land.

It’s highly unlikely they’ll be able to do all that in the tight squeeze of a January transfer window, but where they’ll sit in the PowerTable at the beginning of next season should be interesting.

Catalyst declare an 89 percent success rate when it comes to predicting which one of these four tiers the various clubs will end up in come the end of the season. Ultimately, the PowerTable’s USP is it’s ability to accurately show whether a team in the Premier League are playing above, below or in line with their true capability.

Within the PowerTable itself, an effectiveness table picks out the points achieved against clubs in each tier. It’s really the key to everything, an ever-evolving statistical snapshot providing an effectiveness percentage figure and summarising a club’s success rate.

So, to choose a team at random, Tottenham, in Tier Two, are playing Tier One’s Aston Villa. Spurs have a 17 percent success rate against teams in the highest band, while Villa have a 42 percent rate when playing second tier sides.

“This is objective data,” says Reynolds. “The man in the pub may disagree, but that’s all part of the debate. None of these are predictions, we’re not saying they’re going to win, while this lot are going to lose; we’re saying, these guys have a propensity to get it right, and these to get it wrong.”

Chelsea's effectiveness table for last season

For the in-depth subscribers edition of the PowerTable, go to