Time to revisit the excellent BBC chart from last year. Here’s how things stand in the premier league after 21 matches:
Observations (relative to last year):
- There’s no runaway winner at the top,
- The middle is again crowded (8 teams within 9 points) but not as much as last year (13 teams in 11 points),
- The bottom 6 are scattered as well, with Huddersfield struggling the most (more on them below).
The Top 3
Liverpool had 9 wins in a row. Tottenham haven’t drawn a single match this season. Manchester City had a 7 match win streak, just two draws, and no losses in their first 15 matches.
The top three have had a solid first half of the season. Manchester City and Liverpool have shared the lead all season. Tottenham haven’t had the defensive solidity of Liverpool, or the scoring flair of City, but have manage to keep in touch by steadily earning wins while the others floundered.
The Bottom – Huddersfield and Newcastle
As Liverpool supporters brag about their streak of 9 wins in a row, Huddersfield’s will want their own streak to disappear – 8 losses in a row (13-18 in the chart)! These losses are worse because they’ve lost to all their fellow relegation battlers – Fulham, Southampton, Burnley and Newcastle.
Newcastle, by comparison, will be happy about their recovery (10-13 in the chart) after a dismal start. They’ve gone from battling Huddersfield for rock bottom to being 8 points ahead. They are still just 2 points off the last relegation spot though.
Manchester United – Mourinho & Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Manchester United, my club, were clearly in trouble by mid-December – they had drawn 3 and lost 2 of their previous 6 games (11-17 in the chart). Mourinho was frustrated with the players, and the players had had enough of him.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got to take over with 4 easy matches. Yet, United had been struggling all season to deliver in even these kind of easy matches. 4 wins from 4 (17-21 in the chart), and an aggregate scoreline of 14-3 has done a lot in lifting the club’s spirits and the goal difference.
Interestingly, United are still in the same sixth position in the table as when JM left (17 in the chart). But now they are closer to a Champions League slot (6 points away now, 11 points earlier) than to the seventh ranked team (7 points now, just 1 point earlier).
Arsenal’s three phases
Arsenal had a tough start to the season – facing Man City and Chelsea in their first two matches. They lost them both. But then they built a streak of 7 straight wins. They went from 4th from bottom (joint last on points) to 4th from top.
Next came a middling period of 7 games – 3 wins and 4 draws. They increased their unbeaten streak, but dropped a place and increased the gap to the leaders from 4 points to 8.
The festive season saw a further drop. They lost their streak to a surprise defeat at Southampton, got thrashed by Liverpool (5-1), and had a tame draw at Brighton. 2 wins, 2 losses, and 1 draw meant they are now 13 points behind the leaders, Liverpool.
1. The football data source that I used last year doesn’t provide historical tables anymore. This year’s charts were made using data from Football-Data.co.uk.
2. All chart images link to an interactive version of the same chart.