Diarmuid is a final year undergraduate student at University College Cork and is currently registered in EC3219 - The Economics of Sport. @Diarmuid_mufc.
It is often said the first ten games of the Premier League season are a great indicator on how the league will finish the following May. So, with Game Week 11 having come to an end and the November international break upon us, I decided to have an in-depth look at the Premier League table and in particular the top 6 as it stands, and see what it tells us. The table below sheds light on the performance of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham.
It goes without saying that Manchester City have started this season as by far the most reliable team. A perfect record except for a 1-1 draw at home to struggling Everton. At 31 points, the blue side of Manchester have gained an extra 7 points compared to last season and jumped two places. Over on the red side of Manchester, United have also seen progress. Despite poor results recently the Red Devils have risen four places due to obtaining an extra 5 points than at the same stage last season. Tottenham have climbed two spots to third, achieving two extra points despite poor early season form at Wembley. Champions Chelsea have three fewer points and therefore have dropped two places. Liverpool have seen the most significant fall from grace. They found themselves currently on 19 points, 7 points, and four spots worse off than the same stage last season. Finally, Arsenal dropped to 6th this season compared to 4th at the same stage the previous year. They have five fewer points less this time around.
Average Position of Teams Faced
There is very little difference between the top 6 regarding the standard of teams they have faced. The mean position of teams faced by all the top 6 is between 9th and 12th. Saying that, claims that Manchester United have had an easier start to the season than their fellow top 6 clubs are backed up, as they have faced the lowest level of competition so far, based on league position. On the other hand, both Chelsea and Liverpool fans can look forward to a slightly easier run towards the halfway mark than the other top 6 clubs.
Games Played against the Top 6
Based on the results in the table (average position of teams faced) it should come to no surprise that both Chelsea and Liverpool are the only members of the top six to have played four other members. While both Manchester clubs, Tottenham and Arsenal have only played three. Despite this, Arsenal can easily claim to have had the hardest start with all 3 of their games against fellow top six opponents, (Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea) coming away from home. With a return of only one point, coming at Stanford Bridge. While Chelsea have played four games against the top six, three have come at home. Most recently against Manchester United. United themselves have only had one game at home. A 1-0 win against a Tottenham side minus top goal scorer Harry Kane. Both Tottenham and Manchester City have played 66% of their top 6 games at home. Manchester City have taken full advantage of this beating Arsenal 3-1 in match week 11 and beating a sorry Liverpool, 5-0. Liverpool are the only side with a perfect 50-50 ratio but have struggled against big teams compared to last season.
If Manchester City continues at their current rate, they will win 107 points by the end of the season. 12 points more than the record 95 achieved by Jose Mourinho at Chelsea. It would also mean a non-existent title race. With Manchester United and Tottenham finishing on 79 points. An 18-point gap, meaning City would win the league with at least five if not six games to spare. There would also not be much of a race for the top four as Liverpool in 5th would finish 10 points behind 4th place, Chelsea. Many see the Premier League as the most exciting football league in the world. But right now, that is just not the case. At current rates the league risks having only a relegation battle to talk about as the league season reaches its final few hurdles. This claim is further back up by the fact that on current form joint second place Manchester United and Tottenham would have finished 3rd last season, while 5th place and top four chasing Liverpool would have finished 7th.