We present the Pythagorean table for the 2011-12 Italian Serie A season, for matches played up to 25 March 2012. The standard league Pythagorean exponent of 1.70 is used. The Pythagorean table reflects points won on the field of play, so it does not account for the six-point penalty applied to Atalanta this season. The Pythagorean table can be characterized by the strange unbeaten record of Juventus, the decline of Inter, the overachievement of Chievo, and the impotence of Siena.
Juventus are unbeaten in the league and have the most consistently good defense in Serie A, yet lie second with a Pythagorean residual of -2. Juventus’ draws are keeping them from heading the table, yet a win at Milan’s expense would put them in the lead, so the competition is still open. Napoli have actually moved ahead of Inter since the last Pythagorean table, yet they too have suffered from an abundance of draws. Third place appears to be the limit of their capabilities. Inter’s Pythagorean residual means that their results have been in line with their statistical expectations, but their slide from 5th to 9th indicates some serious problem’s with the team’s performance. No wonder Claudio Ranieri was dismissed today.
In mid-table we find Chievo with a Pythagorean residual of +6, but that doesn’t mean that they are performing all that well. If anything, they should be in the relegation zone, yet they appear to have scraped enough points with a gritty defense (they average more tackles, interceptions, and fouls than any team in Serie A). Flying Donkeys indeed.
In the lower part of the table is Siena on 33 points and a Pythagorean residual of -9. Just on their defensive record — fifth best in Serie A — they should be in the top half of the table. But their goalscoring record and away form have placed them under severe risk. Finally take a look at Cesena at the bottom of the table. Their Pythagorean residual is -1, above that of Lecce (-4) and Novara (-2). But since the last Pythagorean table Cesena have gone P11 W0 D3 L8 while Lecce and Novara have won three matches each. So Cesena’s -1 is a picture of a team playing as poorly as you might expect based on their goal statistics.