Happy New Year
The half-way stage of any season is a good time to take stock of the league table and evaluate how teams have been performing and which teams are going to fight it out for the title. The league table below shows that the predicted top six teams have risen to the summit, with the two Manchester teams level on points at the top.
The Alternative Premier League Table has some similarities, but also some differences.
Man City are still top, but have a two point advantage over Man Utd, as Man City’s loss at Sunderland was only one point behind par, whereas Man Utd’s loss at home to Blackburn was three points less than par.
The biggest difference though is for Liverpool, who are nine points behind Man City in the APLT, rather than 15 points behind in the official table. This is due to the high number of ‘less-winnable’ away matches they have had to play so far this season, meaning their par-points tally is significantly lower than the other teams’.
Interestingly though, it is Liverpool’s performances in their par-1 matches that has seen them stay so high in the APLT.
The table below shows that they have won 5 of their 8 par-1s, but only four of their eleven par-3s. With only four more par 1s remaining (including Man City in their next match and a visit to Old Trafford still to come), they will need to find a way to win the most-winnable matches, or they will start to slide down the APLT as well as the official league table.
Arsenal have been able to recover from their poor start to put themselves in the fight for a top four finish, but Chelsea will have to make up some significant points in their seven remaining par-1s if they can’t win their most winnable matches.
The following graph illustrates how consistent (or not) each of the teams is at matching par results. It is not a surprise that the most consistent is Man City, with Liverpool the most inconsistent. Perhaps this can at least in part be attributed to the high turn-over of players in the last year, but it can also be due to the fact they have had more chances to gain points to par than the other teams. They have dropped the same number of points as Chelsea, which when you consider they are the two teams in the biggest transition, with new players and managers, is probably what we would expect.
Just for fun, we can use the APLT to make some predictions of the final points totals for the remainder of the season. Either we need to assume that a team will maintain 90 point form for the remainder of the season, or we can assume they will drop (or in Man city’s case, gain) the same number of points to par for the remaining games.
Man City will finish between 90 and 94 points
Man Utd will finish on 90 points
Spurs (assuming their 19th match will be a par) will finish between 80 and 85 points
Liverpool will finish between 76 and 83 points
Arsenal will finish between 72 and 81 points
Chelsea will finish between 64 and 77 points
Obviously, don’t read too much into these predictions as there are lot of ifs and maybes, but I thought it might be interesting to look at as the season progresses.