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How Accurate Is The Simulation Engine?

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The office that i work in runs an internal football pools competition, It’s pretty big money, £5 a week x the 25 odd people that play. Six games are picked and the money keeps going up week by week until somone predicts all six results exactly right. I’m currently not doing very well. No matter how much effort i put in to my predictions, i get stitched up by the odd “freak” result, i guess that’s the beauty of football.

So i decided to see if Fifa11 could help in any way. First, i simmed all the games from yesterday to see how the scores compared. I set the games up with the actual starting lineups used, started the game, then moved both controllers to the middle on the select sides screen to let the match play itself out. I used 4 minute halves on world class difficulty. Comparison of results below:

Saturdays Games

Real Result                                     Fifa11 Result
Birmingham 2 – 0 Blackpool                  Birmingham 0 – 0 Blackpool
Chelsea 2 – 0 Wolves                          Chelsea 2 – 0 Wolves
Sunderland 1 – 0 Aston Villa              Sunderland 0 – 0 Aston Villa
Tottenham 1 – 1 Everton                     Tottenham 0 – 0 Everton
West Brom 2 – 1 Fulham                     West Brom 0 – 0 Fulham
West Ham 1 – 2 Newcastle                 West Ham 0 – 2 Newcastle
Wigan 1 – 1 Bolton                             Wigan 0 – 1 Bolton

Now even though there is a large chunk of 0 – 0 draws in there, the games were still pretty action packed. Plenty of decent saves, bookings, missed chances even a saved penalty and when West Brom got a corner in the 88th minute with the scoreline even, up came Carson to see if he could do any damage. Thats the thing that was odd about this exercise,  the games weren’t tedious to watch. We discussed the AI and it’s flaws on the most recent podcast so i was expecting AI vs AI to be a mash of players dribbling into one another and never shooting, but it was actually a lot more interesting than the scorelines suggest.

I also let todays games play out.

Sunday Predictions

Stoke 1 – 0 Man Utd

Liverpool 0 – 0 Blackburn

Man City 1 – 1 Arsenal

It wasn’t good news for Man Utd fans, although judging by the results above, it doesn’t look like Fifa11 can be used as a tool to create accurate match predictions. To be fair, i’d probably take a draw at city. I think it’s safe to say i won’t be using Fifa11 to help me with the pools next week.

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