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By Tony Attwood
International breaks are frustrating – at least in my house, given that the focus here is on league and cup football, and not international games. But at least the break does give us a chance to have a look at issues that otherwise we might not find time for.
And one such is to consider which clubs really are on the up, and which are slipping away. A particularly interesting concept given that the media are awash with tales of Chelsea’s re-birth.
So to try and look at reality rather than media hype we created a little league table in which the clubs are placed according to how much better their position is in the league in the last six games, compared with their actual position in the league across the whole 12 matches of the season. Thus in effect, the first half of this campaign against the second half. (League tables come from 11v11).
Of course we don’t know if the last six games are indeed representative of what will happen next, but the second half of the season so far table, is just about the best indicator we have of whether a club is continuing to jog along as the league table for the whole season suggests, or whether it is really on an upturn or downturn.
So what we did was take the league position in terms of the last six games and then looked to see if that was better than the season as a whole so far (in which case there was a plus score) or whether the last six matches showed a downturn, (in which case there would be a minus score).
Manchester City for example are top of the league as you may have noticed, but in terms of the last six games they are ninth, having won three, drawn one and lost two. So a real downturn for them. But have there been others – and who has come up to balance this out (as balance it must).
So here is a table based on the difference between the results in the last six games and all 12 games. First off, the top half of the table according to the last six games. In the final two columns, we can see the current league position for the whole season thus far, and then at the end, the difference between those numbers. (That’s just for ease of use; I am not suggesting you can’t take away one number from another. After all you are probably not a journalist).
A plus sign in the final column means things of late have been improving, and a minus sign obviously that things are falling apart.
The clubs with the biggest advancement in the second half of the season so far are Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers, each being four places better off in the “last six” table than in the league table for all 12 games of this season. Only two clubs have been doing worse in this second part of the season so far than in the season as a whole, and they are Manchester City and Liverpool – which is interesting since the general feeling about Liverpool in the media is that they are currently surging up the table.
So what about the bottom half of the last six games table…. Now with their being one big change in the top half of the table (Manchester City being eight places below their whole season position when it comes to the last six games) we might expect something similar in the bottom half. And we can see it: Brighton and Hove being nine places below their actual league position, when we just look at the second half of the season so far.
Interestingly there is massive talk in some of the media about Everton surging up the table but in fact they are only three places above their league position, when we look at the last six games.
|12||West Ham U||6||2||1||3||10||12||-2||7||9||-3|
|17||Brighton & H||6||0||4||2||7||13||-6||4||8||-9|
So to summarise: the big winners are Chelsea and Wolverhampton, both up four places on where they were six games ago, and the big losers are Brighton and Hove (down nine) and Manchester City (down eight).
Somehow I find that last notion rather encouraging.
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