English Premier League tables can be misleading in that they are a function of the fixture list. At this point in time it doesn’t matter so much since we’re only 2 games into the second half of the season but in the middle of the half of the season it is important.
From this perspective, it is important to compare this season’s results against comparable fixtures of last season to know where teams are. Last season I had a calculator that would run every week. This year, thanks to Liverpool’s indifference performance (as you can see in the first chart), I’ve been late on this.
The list of Premier League teams changes every year, though, thanks to relegation and promotion. For this purpose, we replace teams placed 18,19,20 last year respectively with the Championship winner, runner-up and winner of playoff. So we substitute Leicester, Burnley and QPR respectively for Norwich, Fulham and Cardiff from last year’s table.
So the first graph shows the difference between a team’s points tally this year and the team’s points tally from the corresponding fixture of last year. This illustrates why as a Liverpool fan I’ve put so much NED – they’re the second worst team this year compared to last year, after city rivals Everton.
The most improved team is, of course, West Ham United. Also having improved significantly are Swansea and Chelsea. At the other end, after last year’s high-flying Liverpool and Everton, we have relegation-threatened Crystal Palace and West Brom, along with Arsenal. And QPR is worse off compared to Cardiff last year!
Next, if we assume that the rest of the season goes identically to last year’s corresponding fixtures, what will the final table look like? It will look like this:
According to this, Palace should hang on, but West Brom and Hull will go down, as will QPR. Surprisingly, this says that Arsenal and Spurs will get the last two Champions League places (notice the gap between 2 and 3 here).