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BT Sport uses A.I. to predict how the Champions League and Europa League will unfold

A report commissioned by BT Sport into the new football season has predicted Real Madrid will win a fourth Champions League in-a-row under Zinedine Zidane and Tottenham will defeat Manchester United in a colossal Europa League final.

Those are just two of the many findings of the report after BT Sport brought together some of football’s biggest data platforms in an attempt to predict the upcoming campaign using artificial intelligence and piles of statistics.

The broadcaster commissioned leading data scientists and real-time sports analysis experts Squawka to analyse vast amounts of football data from Opta and project how things will pan out. 

Real Madrid will return to the summit of European football, according to a report by BT Sport

HOW DOES IT WORK? 

BT commissioned some of the biggest brains in sports data, analytics and machine learning, to write the AI-driven script of the season before a single ball has been kicked.

Leading data scientists and real-time sports analysis experts Squawka have analysed huge amounts of world football data from Opta.

This was an unprecedented experiment with cutting-edge technology to predict the fortunes of the 20 Premier League clubs through their 38 league games and European campaigns.

What has been produced is a comprehensive ‘script’ and, if the predictions come true, then we are in for a thrilling ride in European competitions.

Perhaps the biggest shock though is the disappointing performances of English clubs in the Champions League.

After having both Liverpool and Tottenham in the final in Madrid last month there will be no Premier League representation from the quarter-finals onwards this season, it is predicted.

According to projections Jurgen Klopp’s reigning champions end the group stage with more points than any team in the competition.

Mohamed Salah will then inspire them to a comeback in the last-16 to see of Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg and set up a rematch of last season’s pulsating semi-final with Barcelona.

Lionel Messi and Co are set to get their revenge for the Anfield humiliation though and progress 2-0 on aggregate thanks to a goal in each leg by the Argentine genius.

Barcelona will get their revenge on Liverpool after last season's memorable semi-final victory

Barcelona will get their revenge on Liverpool after last season’s memorable semi-final victory

There will be further misery for Pep Guardiola's City in Europe with a last-16 exit this season

There will be further misery for Pep Guardiola’s City in Europe with a last-16 exit this season

Despite their domestic dominance Manchester City will once again fail to pull up any trees in Europe. Real Madrid, who wiped out Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich in his first season in Germany, will once again come back to haunt him.

The teams are set to play out a 3-3 thriller in the Bernabeu before the return leg in Manchester sees Real come out 4-2 winners and sees them through to the last-eight at City’s expense.

With no possibility of buying players and losing Eden Hazard to Real Madrid, it is hard to predict what would count as success for Frank Lampard in the Champions League in the upcoming campaign.

The Blues are predicted to lose to Inter Milan in the group stage when they are already confirmed as group winners and through to the knockout stages. Awaiting them is an impressive Borussia Dortmund side but a sensational performance sees them beat the Germans 2-1. Real Madrid prove to be a step too far though and the Blues depart the competition at the quarter-final stage.

There is to be no further Champions League joy for Spurs this season as they are dumped out at the group stage and dropped into the Europa League.

They find success in the secondary competition though and breeze past Belgian side Genk and Wolves before narrowly beating Italian giants Napoli in the semi-finals.

Awaiting them in Gdansk is a second all-English final for both Spurs and the Europa League in consecutive seasons but this will be a different story than Madrid.

In a nerve-wracking final, Spurs edge United 1-0 and finally deliver the silverware that fans have been craving.

Tottenham will finally end their trophy drought by winning this season's Europa League final

Tottenham will finally end their trophy drought by winning this season’s Europa League final

Spurs will beat Manchester United in Gdansk after they beat Arsenal in the knockout stages

Spurs will beat Manchester United in Gdansk after they beat Arsenal in the knockout stages

Defeat in Poland caps off a disappointing season for United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after they also expected to finish sixth in the Premier League.

Europe provides a reprieve from domestic woes though and they cruise past Feyenoord in the round of 32 before coming up against Arsenal in a huge last-16 tie.

Unai Emery, a Europa League specialist, is easily dealt with though and United edge the Gunners 3-2 on aggregate to set up quarter-final against Porto. They get revenge on the Portuguese side for that 2004 Champions League last-16 upset with a 5-3 victory before beating Sevilla to reach the final.

Tragedy then follows though as they are predicted to miss out on the title thanks to that heartbreaking defeat to Spurs in Poland. 

Rest of Europe

After two humiliating exits in the Champions League in the past two seasons, Barcelona are out to restore some pride. They suffer group stage defeats to both Lyon and Napoli but with Lionel Messi bang in form they reach the knockout stages.

They gain revenge over Inter Milan for knocking them out with Jose Mourinho in 2010, winning 3-1 at the San Siro to reach the quarter-finals. There is more payback to be had at Anfield after last season’s collapse and a more assured display, as well as a goal in either game from Messi, sees them safely through to the semi-finals.

A final four El Clasico awaits Barcelona. The first leg is a pulsating 2-2 draw before they collapse in the return leg and lose 3-0 on the night. The Catalan giants become the first team to lose 10 semi-final matches in the Champions League era. 

Bayern Munich were also underwhelming last season and have a point to prove that their ageing squad is not past their best. However, they win just one of four games before stepping up to the mark against Tottenham to win twice and progress.

Lionel Messi will inspire Barcelona through the group stage before they lose to Real Madrid

Lionel Messi will inspire Barcelona through the group stage before they lose to Real Madrid

In the last-16 they upset the odds by becoming the first team to beat Atletico Madrid away from home in the knockout stage of the Champions League since Diego Simeone took over. A goal from Robert Lewandowski in the second leg pushes them over the line and into the quarter-finals.

The Germans then brush aside Paris Saint-Germain, another major European failure for the French giants, and go on to face Juventus. They manage to win both legs against Cristiano Ronaldo and Co and progress to the final in Istanbul against Real Madrid.

Zidane’s first full season back in charge at the Bernabeu sees his side earn just two points from their first two games. They play Juve in the group stage and both of those games against a returning Ronaldo play out without Real getting a single victory but they manage to squeeze through to the knockout stages anyway.

Eden Hazard will win the Champions League in his first season in Spain, according to the script

Eden Hazard will win the Champions League in his first season in Spain, according to the script

From there Real come into their own and eliminate English pair Manchester City and Chelsea on their way to setting up a mouthwatering semi-final against Barcelona. 

After edging their way past their fiercest rivals after a stunning performance at the Nou Camp, they head to Turkey to play Bayern.

No two sides have met in the Champions League more than Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. The predicted final will be their 20th meeting in the competition and it is a classic. 

Los Blancos run out of 3-2 winners, claiming their 13th Champions League crown as Zidane becomes the most successful manager in European Cup history with his fourth win. 

Find out how the new season is due to unfold with BT’s full ‘script for the season’ available HERE.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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