After seven matches in the Premier League for most clubs, it is Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion who stand out in terms of their results in comparison to last season. Both are also performing way beyond what was expected of them by the bookmakers.
Chelsea have taken a massive eight points more than in the same seven fixtures last season turning defeat against Newcastle and draws at Wigan and Arsenal into victories. Their only dropped points to date were in a draw at QPR but even that was an improvement on the 2011/2012 defeat at Loftus Road.
Five of West Brom’s matches to date have had a different result to last season with three – against Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton – providing the Baggies with more points than in 2011/2012. However, last season’s win at Aston Villa and draw at Fulham were both defeats this term. West Brom are therefore four points better off from these seven matches than they were in 2011/2012.
At the other end of the scale, Newcastle United are seven points worse off than they were from the same fixtures last season. Newcastle’s supporters will argue that they can’t be expected to win at Chelsea and at home to Manchester United all the time which is undoubtedly true. However, the concern for Newcastle should be that they will need to replace the six lost points against those two in other fixtures in order to again qualify for European football. Six of Newcastle’s seven matches to date have had different results to last season with only home victory against Norwich City being achieved in both seasons.*
Looking at the expected points model, Newcastle United are performing pretty much as the bookmakers have predicted which would suggest that the odds makers also regard last season as an anomaly for a club more likely to be found in mid-table.
Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion’s impressive starts are also confirmed by the expected points model which has them 4.84 and 5.03 points ahead of what was expected at this stage of the season. It is clear from both of the models that Queens Park Rangers and Norwich City are already in serious trouble. QPR’s problems are somewhat more serious as taking exactly the same number of points as last season from their remaining matches will give them just 33 points.
However it is Liverpool who are performing the most below par according to the expected points model having gained nearly six points fewer than the bookmakers’ odds would have expected at this stage. They are only three points down in comparison to last season’s seven matches against the same teams though with this difference being pretty much down to the defeat at West Bromwich Albion after victory at the Hawthorns last season. Their draw at Sunderland was an improvement on last term’s defeat but the home defeat by Manchester United cancelled that out after last term’s Anfield draw.
* Reading are here compared to Bolton Wanderers as best promoted and best relegated clubs respectively.