Matches against the Superior 7 this season do not produce the same neat clusters as were presented in the previous post on matches against the Threatened 13. Obviously this is partially due to less matches being played and it remains to be seen how much of an overlap will remain once the season has been completed. Manchester City are the kings of these big matches this term with 15 points out of a possible 18 but they need to continue to produce these sorts of results to make up for their deficit in comparison to Arsenal in fixtures against the Threatened 13.
City’s big matches to get tougher
With 42 matches between the Superior 7 clubs over the season, it is a rare round of matches which doesn’t contain at least one. On Premier League matchday 23 for example, Tottenham Hotspur will host Manchester City whilst Liverpool and Everton meet in the 222nd Merseyside derby. Five days after visiting White Hart Lane, Manchester City will complete their home fixtures against the Superior 7 by playing Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium. Therefore City’s title credentials will be tested in their next two matches, particularly as they have dropped points against the Threatened 13 in comparison to their title rivals. The main reason that City top the table of results against the Superior 7 is due to having won all five at home. Their sole away fixture to date against one of these teams ended in a 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge.
Premier League table of results against Superior 7 clubs
Superior 7 clubs shown in green, Threatened 13 clubs shown in red
United’s poor big match results
Manchester City’s rivals Manchester United have taken just five points from matches against fellow Superior 7 opponents despite playing eight of these fixtures so far. Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa and Sunderland have all taken more points from the top-7. United are also no more successful in these matches than Southampton, Stoke City and Cardiff City. However, it is not unusual for teams to perform like this and yet still finish in the Champions League places; Arsenal managed to take just 10 points from the Superior 7 last season and Tottenham Hotspur totalled just 12 points a season earlier.
Moyes in big matches
Staying with Manchester United, their manager David Moyes appears to have a reputation for not being successful in these bigger fixtures of the season but Everton were joint second best of all clubs in matches against the Superior 7 in 2010/2011 and joint fourth best last term. In 2011/2012, 11 clubs were better than Everton although Champions League winners that season Chelsea were not amongst them.
Man City record
The highest number of points achieved against the Superior 7 since this echelon came into existence in the 2010/2011 season is 25 by Manchester City in their title winning year. City will probably need to repeat this performance to add a second Premier League trophy to the one they won two years ago.