There was an error in the second graphic in the original post. This has now been corrected and the post updated. It leads to a slightly different conclusion. I have also added the lines for the rest of the season.
Earlier this year, Constantinos Chappas, an analytical football blogger based in Cyprus tweeted a chart showing that Manchester United this season were following the same trajectory of results as Everton last year. Cue plenty of retweeting and much hilarity at David Moyes turning Manchester United into Everton. However, like many things looking at football matches in chronological order, could it be misleading?
In order to investigate the Manchester United 2013/2014 against Everton 2012/2013 phenomenon further, I have employed my trusty ISG coefficient which compares results in matches played with those achieved in exactly the same fixtures a year earlier. There is, of course, one problem – what should the fixture earlier this season between Manchester United and Everton be compared to? Given the hypothesis that Manchester United this term are equal to Everton last, it only seems appropriate to use David Moyes as the factor so Manchester United at home to Everton in 2013/2014 is Everton at home to Manchester United last term. Any disagreements with this are welcome in the comments or by tweeting me at my usual address. The two graphics – one comparing the 30 matches to date chronologically and the second comparing direct fixtures are below:
So, although both graphs have shown a similar pattern for much of the season, Moyes’ United have recently overtaken Moyes’ Everton when considering the exact same matches from one season to the next . Everton’s final total last season was 63 points so Manchester United need at least another 13 from their final eight fixtures this term to improve on this points total.
Finally, congratulations to the member of Sky Sports staff who finally got this little nugget of information on television this week as you can see above. Personally I prefer the graphics as they show the full season rather than a single moment in time though so I have the Excel sheets if you need them next time.