Below is the final Pythagorean table for the 2011-12 French Ligue 1 season that concluded today (20 May). The standard Pythagorean exponent of 1.70 is used.
Lille played about as well this season as they did in the previous one (two more points won on the field in 2010-11, and an identical expected point total), but they were overwhelmed by Montpellier and PSG’s performances this season. Both sides overperformed significantly relative to their statistical expectations, but Montpellier remained deserved champions of France. Their Pythagorean residual of +7 is exceptionally high for a league champion.
No one else came close to the performance of Montpellier and PSG. Perhaps the closest was Lyon, who finished fourth with a Pythagorean residual of +4. But that figure represents outer range of the uncertainty of the Pythagorean expectation.
This season’s Ligue 1 table appears to be characterized by underperformances. Marseille, Nice, and Brest should have finished with more points than they did; it wouldn’t have made much of a difference for Marseille but Nice and Brest would have had fewer things to worry about at the end of the season. The saddest situation is that of Auxerre — in the Champions League as recently as a couple of seasons ago, they finished bottom of the standings, relegated, with a Pythagorean residual of -12. That residual is the lowest end-of-season number that I’ve seen for any team since I started compiling these tables. Auxerre had underachieved for much of the season but the bottom really fell out of the team in the final quarter. No wonder the fans were so frustrated, as demonstrated in the Montpellier game tonight.