I was hoping to see if recent history has any trends that would give me confidence that we can pull of a winning sequence and secure the title this year. The following table shows the points position at the end of February for the last five completed seasons.
GP: Games Played; Pts: Points (End of Feb); FT: Final Tally
As we can see, Chelsea with 61 points from 28 games this year is the lowest tally for a team leading the league at this time of the year when compared to the last five seasons.
In 04-05 and 05-06, the Blues were running away with the title by the end of Feb. In 06-07 United were well on their way to the crown. A couple of seasons ago we were in the driver’s seat, but the Birmingham game changed it all. Last season United were on 62 points but they had played two games less than Chelsea have done this year.
Clearly, this is the tightest title race in years. The closest comparison would be from 07-08 when United had 61 points from 27 games and went on to win the league with 87 points. Given that Chelsea have a game less, 84 points might be a good target for the winning total.
Arsenal have 58 points from 28 games, which is exactly the same as the 04-05 season. That year we went on to reach 83 points. A repeat could put us really close to the title. We have 30 points available from 10 games, so to reach 83 we could afford a draw and a loss. Anything better than that will significantly improve our chances of winning the title.
I also looked at the points-per-game these teams has scored in the run-in during the last five seasons. The following table gives us the details,
As the average shows, Chelsea do much better in the run-in than United or Arsenal. I have to say I’m a little surprised by this as I expected United to be clear leaders in this. It’s just a mental image that they do better in the run-in. The average is probably a bit skewed by 04-05, which was a bad season for United. In the last four years they would be on par with Chelsea.
Our best year was five years ago when we managed 25 points out of the last 30. We will have to repeat the same or better it if we want to have a realistic chance of winning the title.
Since this season has been hard fought and the fact that both our competitors have a slightly tougher run-in, it would be reasonable to think they might have a below average season end. If either of them manages more than 22-23 points from these last few games then they would surely deserve the title.
Interestingly, the team with the best run-in has not won the title in the last five years! This could be explained by the fact that the season end showdown has never been this close. Arsenal will have to break this trend in order to win the title.
As things stand, we are in for the best showdown in years and with Arsenal having a realistic shot at the title, this could be a year True Gooners will never forget.