Data visualization predicts 2015 FA Cup Final

The 2015 FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Aston Villa will kick-off at Wembley Stadium, this Saturday 30 May, from 5:30pm. But, if you fancy a punt on the outcome this weekend, where should you put your hard earned? Let’s turn to Business Intelligence and data visualization to predict the outcome.

Most bookies have Aston Villa at long odds to emerge victorious. So, how does their record stack up against The Gunners?

Aston Villa vs Arsenal all-time head-to-head record (1904 – 2015)


  • In 111 (2015-1904) years, Aston Villa has faced-off against Arsenal a total of 190 times
  • Arsenal has the superior all-time head-to-head record of the two teams, defeating The Villa on 79 occasions, compared to The Lions’ 66 wins
  • The two sides have played out draws in 24% of their matches (45/190)

Why would you bet against the bookies?
As usual, it seems that the bookies have done their due diligence. Aston Villa have only won 35% of clashes against Arsenal, winning just 66 of 190 total encounters. Conversely, The Gunners have claimed 41% of the meetings between these two ever-popular clubs, with 79 victories from 190 attempts. With just 45 of the 190 matches ending in a draw, a full-time stalemate is the least likely option (24% of all games played).

But, context and occasion matter in football. So have The Villans faired any better in their FA match-ups against Arsenal?

Aston Villa vs Arsenal all-time head-to-head FA Cup record


  • Aston Villa has won three of 13 matches played against Arsenal in the FA Cup
    • That gives Aston Villa a win rate of just 23% against Arsenal in FA Cup matches
  • Arsenal has won seven of 13 matches played against Aston Villa in the FA Cup
    • That gives Arsenal a win rate of 54% against Aston Villa in FA Cup matches
  • Aston Villa and Arsenal have drawn three of their 13 FA Cup encounters, accounting for 23% of total matches

Will the bookies pay-out before kick-off?
Fans of The Villans may want look away now, as their head-to-head record against Arsenal only diminishes in FA Cup competition. Villa has only secured three wins in 13 outings against The Gunners, giving them a win rate of just 23% – that’s 12% lower than their overall winning percentage against Arsenal (35%).

On the other hand, Arsenal’s fortune’s only improve in the context of FA Cup meetings, winning 54% of matches against Aston Villa (seven of 13), which is significantly better than their overall win rate against The Villans (41%) – a positive differential of almost 13%. The likelihood of a draw remains fairly even, with 23% of FA Cup games featuring the two sides (3) ending in deadlock compared to 24% of their total match-ups (45/190).

Now, whilst the historical indicators point to a comforable victory for Arsenal FC, many would agrue that current trends are more important. Further, to win, you have to score. So what do the goals scored and conceeded by both clubs during the 2015 FA Cup suggest about their respective fortunes this Saturday?

Goals for and against at FA Cup 2015: Aston Villa vs Arsenal


  • With both teams entering in the third round, each club has played five games each
  • Goals for: Arsenal have scored 11 goals from five matches, giving them a scoring rate of 2.2 goals per game, compared to Aston Villa’s nine goals from its five games (1.8 goals per game)
  • Goals against: Though The Gunners have the better offensive record in terms of goals scored at FA Cup 2015, they have conceded four goals compared to Aston Villa’s three

The faintest ray of hope for Villa?
Ok. So, if you’re a fan of Aston Villa FC, don’t make alternate plans for your Saturday just yet. Here’s something to which you might be able to cling. Maybe. Whilst Arsenal have displayed surperior offensive prowess, netting 11 goals from their five matches compared to Villa’s nine from five, they have also conceeded more goals (four compared to three).

So perhaps Aston can at least hold The Gunners at bay in regular play (yep, that’s all we’ve got for you at this stage Villa fans – cue the champaign?). But hey, is this simply a case of ‘getting what you pay for’?

Arsenal weekly player earnings (2014 – 2015)


  • The average player in Arsenal’s 2015 squad earns £54,906 per week
  • There are 10 players who earn above this mean weekly salary
    • Arsenal’s three biggest earners all bring home a six figure weekly salary, including Theo Walcott (£193,846), Alexis Sánchez (£155,769) and Mesut Özil (£138,462)
    • The lowest earning player in Arsenal’s squad is Krystian Bielik, who receives a comparatively measly £3,462 a week (a mere 1.8% of Theo Walcott’s weekly wage)

Aston Villa weekly player earnings (2014 – 2015)


  • The average player in Aston Villa’s 2015 squad earns £22,607 per week
  • There are eight players who earn above this mean weekly salary
    • Ron Vlaar and Christian Benteke are the only Aston Villa players who earn more than the average Arsenal squad member (£54,906 per week), taking home £83,077 and £64,616 respectively per week
    • The lowest earning player in Aston Villa’s squad is Jack Grealish, with a weekly salary of £4,615 (or 5.5% of Ron Vlaar’s weekly wage)

Too good by (more than) half?
There’s a lot that could be said here. But this probably says it all: The average player in Arsental’s 2015 squad (£54,906 per week) earns more than twice that of the average player in Aston Villa’s 2015 squad (£22,607 per week). If maths ain’t your thing, then it’s also worth pointing out that that means Aston Villa’s average player salary is £32,299 less per week compared to Arsenal’s. Ouch.

If you think anything other than an Arsenal victory is likely this weekend, let us know why by tweeting @YellowfinBI