Updating a metric like the Seasonal Comparative Results metric SCoRe on a weekly basis provides all sorts of insights. I know for example that West Ham’s current improvement is almost entirely due to results away from home as they took 0 points last season from the away matches they have played to date which this season have produced 11 points. The Hammers’ total improvement is 14 compared to the equivalent fixtures in 2013/2014. Similarly Manchester United’s poorer performance this term is due to being worse away from home than David Moyes’ United were. However, the biggest thing to strike me on United is that if they had played their fixtures in the same order last season as they have this, they would have been top of last season’s Premier League after 15 matches.
Before I begin to explain further, I have to admit that there are a lot of assumptions here. Firstly, results under Ryan Giggs, like the visit to Southampton, have been included as the team was effectively assembled by Moyes and there is no reason to think that Giggs would have produced better results than his predecessor. Secondly, I am also assuming that the same results would have been achieved if the matches had been played consecutively rather than being dotted throughout the season.
So, if Moyes’ United had played last season’s fixtures in the order that Louis van Gaal’s United have this, they would have begun the season with six straight wins before one win in four from a series of tough matches followed by going five matches unbeaten. United gained 33 points from these 15 matches, five more than Van Gaal’s United have managed. How does this compare to the rest of the league if their first 15 matches had been against the same opponents as their first 15 this term?
Thirty three points would have been enough for David Moyes to claim the top spot at this stage of the season. That might have meant players buying into his project, the board freeing up investment for the transfer window, new players being more likely to sign for United during that window and therefore perhaps an improvement on the results which were actually achieved during the rest of the season?
Moyes famously complained about United’s tough schedule at the beginning of last season and looking at this, perhaps those fixtures and the computer that produced them cost the Scot his job.