By Brian Sears
20 March 2015
Liverpool are not just the form team in the Premier League since the start of the year but have a better league record in 2015 so far than any team among the 92 in the top four divisions. Brendan Rodgers’ side have won eight, drawn two and lost none of their 10 league games this year, amassing 26 points at an average of 2.6 per game. No other team in England can top that.
The context of this is that Liverpool meet Manchester United this weekend with a place in the top four at stake. The outcome of that match could be hugely significant to which of those side qualifies for the Champions League next season. A Liverpool win would send them above United in the table and make them statistically more likely than United to finish in the top four. A draw would leave United as favourites. A United win would make United stronger favourites. It’s a huge game, in so many ways.
The first graphic below ranks the 20 Premier League clubs in order of their form (points per game) in 2015 so far. Liverpool top this table ahead of Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea, all of whom have won two or more points per game this year. Note Manchester City down in 10th place. The bottom three form teams are QPR, Sunderland and Leicester.
The graphic also shows each team’s position in the table on the last day of 2014, the position now and the number of places they have moved up or down. Crystal Palace under Alan Pardew are in top-6 form in 2015, whereas West Ham’s form in 2015 is only 16th best out of 20.
What might this mean? Well, if the 20 clubs continued their form of 2015 so far for the rest of the season then Chelsea will win the title with Arsenal second, Liverpool third, United fourth and City missing out on the top four altogether. It’s a big ‘IF’, of course. At the other end, the relegated teams on current form would be QPR, Sunderland and Leicester.
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The next three graphs are the equivalent form guides for the 72 clubs in the Football League, by division.
Watford are the form team in the Championship, with Norwich, Middlesbrough and Leeds also doing well. Ipswich’s dip by contrast has come at the wrong time. Bristol City in League One are the form team and have kept their top slot because of that. Barnsley are the big climbers in that division while Notts County’s form has dropped off a cliff, causing their tumble. In League Two the notable upsurge in form of Northampton and Dagenham has helped those sides climb from relegation concerns and the form team in the division, Burton, have risen to top spot on the back of it.
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…. And another thing
In 2015, West Brom have so far gained one more point than Manchester City, who they visit on Saturday. City have had a chastening week, stung by Bs, losing 0-1 at Burnley and 0-1 in Barcelona.
City might take some comfort from recent history as they prepare for the Baggies. This is the fifth consecutive season of West Brom’s current stay in the Premier League and they have found City to be their toughest opponents in this time, as the table below show.
…. And finally
The statistics in these pages will often be in relation to the Premier League era when they deal with English football. We know the game is a bit older than that. We know Preston won as Invincibles in the league’s first season in 1888-89. But the Premier League is a distinct era if only because of the money that has transformed the picture. This is the ‘monied era’.
To get some idea of how the financial situations of these clubs have changed over time – and finance is a big influence in success in football – further reading and related articles spring from Sportingintelligence’s annual global sports salaries reports, are linked here: