This article was also published on 11Gunners.
Two weeks ago Arsenal were 11 points behind Chelsea, 6 behind United, and written off by many pundits and fans who had lost patience. In these two weeks the leaders have lost the moneybags derby and drawn at home to Everton. Villa have taken three points at Old Trafford. Suddenly, everyone who had written us off is scrambling to save face.
One important aspect that most people, especially pundits, tend to forget is the game in hand. I thought that given the tight nature of the league this year and our points disadvantage due to having played a game less, it would be interesting to look at the premier league table in a different light.
The following table focuses on the matches drawn, lost and points dropped. This gives a different perspective to the gap between the teams and shows how close the teams really are. I have taken only the top 7 teams as they cover a broad enough range and are generally believed to be competing for the top spots.
Legend: M – Matches; D – Draws; L – Losses; H – Home; A – Away; PD – Points Dropped; T – Total; GD – Goal Difference; %PD – PD as Percentage of Total Points Available; D+L/M – % Games Where Points Were Dropped; PT – Predicted Tally (Based on Same Form)
All columns are quite intuitive except perhaps %PD and D+L/M. %PD is the percentage of points a team has dropped. Arsenal have dropped 14 points out of a total of 45 (15*3), which is just over 30 per cent. The second last column (D+L/M) shows the percentage of games where a team drops points. Chelsea have 25 percent meaning they either draw or lose once every 4 games. Arsenal, on the other hand, fail to win once every 3 games.
Some people believe that Chelsea are clear leaders. Can any team that drops points every fourth game be invincible? However, we can see their dominance from the fact that if the Blues can maintain similar stats till the end of the season, and drop only 23 percent of total points available, they will reach close to 88 points, which would be an achievement and most likely win them the league.
In this regard Arsenal need to make an improvement as we would only reach 79 points based on our present record. United would be around the 81 point mark. Of course, these percentages can change drastically with a couple of losses or a run of wins.
It’s interesting to note that teams from fourth onwards have a D+L/M value of 50 percent or more. In other words, these teams fail to win one in two games or worse. Villa, who have defeated United and Chelsea, have only managed to win half their matches. Citeh, after spending hundreds of millions, are only winning 40 percent of their games. This is the best reflection of how tight the league is this year.
It’s not difficult to understand why Arsene believes that top teams will drop more points this year. Consider our league position with this perspective and there is enough reason to have faith in Wenger and his young squad. We just need a little more consistency.