Chelsea and Manchester United

The biggest gains this month were by Manchester United and Chelsea who are now both on a par with 2006/7 with regards to relative fixtures. Manchester City stay top in relative terms, with Blackburn's strong form pushing them past Arsenal into second. The top six is completed with West Ham, Aston Villa and Newcastle. The bottom three of Reading, Bolton and Middlesbrough remained unchanged, and Birmingham are the only promoted side that is showing survival form.

Based on the improvement from last season, the projected champions remain Arsenal, although the gap over Manchester United is now down to 2 points, with Chelsea and Manchester City making up the top four; Blackburn and Liverpool make up the top six in the projected table.

The Relativity table is generated by comparing the results of games played this season with the equivalent fixtures from last season. The average of the relegated teams substitute for fixtures where there is no equivalent. This table should give a guide to those teams that are doing better than last year - but obviously teams that did very well in their fixtures last season will be handicapped. A level score is a team that is about on the same level as last season; a positive score shows the teams that have improved year-on-year and negatives for the teams who have declined. Promoted sides below half-way are heading for relegation.

Premier League Relativity Table: October 2007

1. (1) Manchester City: +10.3pts
City again progressed in October after two home wins, the first over Middlesbrough matches 2007/8; the second over Birmingham compared favourably with last season as City stumbled to three 0-0 home draws ...

2 (4=) Blackburn Rovers: +6.7pts;
Maximum points in October for Blackburn and oddly the equivalent fixtures last season all fell in the final month of the season. At that time Blackburn's long season caught up with them. Last season ...

3. (2) Arsenal: +6.0pts
Arsenal improved again in October and remained top of the table after expected home wins over Sunderland and Bolton - even if the Sunderland win was anything but straightforward. A Liverpool away trip to ...

4 (4=) West Ham United: +4.7pts;
West Ham stay fourth followed a mixed bag of results, a win, a draw and a defeat - which sounds very much like mid-table form. However last season these were fixtures that the Hammers struggled even more ...

5. (3) Aston Villa: +4.0pts
For the month with Halloween in it Villa were spookily like last season; the only exception was the 4-4 draw at Spurs which was better than last season's reverse. A narrow win over West Ham, a 3 goal defeat...

6 (6=) Newcastle United: +3.7pts
October may turn out to be a struggle but Newcastle did well in September, and as a result maintain their position as the sixth best team in relative terms. Anywhere over half-way is indicative of an ...

7. (8) Birmingham City*: +2.3pts
In relative terms Birmingham are doing better than either of the other two relegated teams and also much better than relegation rivals like Fulham, Middlesbrough and, err, Wigan. Birmingham gained slightly ...

8. (11) Portsmouth: +0.7pts
Portsmouth move into the top half of the relativity table after a month when it was difficult to gain points. Pompey picked up 7 from the three games, the same number as from the equivalent fixtures ...

9. (6=) Wigan Athletic: + 0.4pts
Chris Hutchings time at Wigan took a nosedive in October as the gains made in August and September were reversed. Wigan crashed to three straight defeats, the third was a hugely disappointing result at ...

10. (10) Liverpool: +0.1pts
Liverpool are maintaining last season's form whilst remarkably almost never matching last season's result. Only the Wigan game in September has seen Liverpool get the same number of points as in the ...

11= (17) Chelsea: Level
Chelsea move up six places on the back of three straight wins in October; with the 6-0 win over Manchester City a warning sign that Chelsea are about to start a title charge. The City game and the win at ...

11= (15) Manchester United: Level
United have finally achieved relative parity after joining Arsenal at the top of the pile they now have exactly the same points as from the same fixtures last season. Wigan and Villa were again blown away ...

13. (9) Sunderland*: -1.3pts
Sunderland slide 4 places to below half way and the warning signs of a relegation campaign are now strongly in evidence. A good September was replaced by a poor October where The Black Cats picked up ...

14. (12) Everton: -2.7pts
Everton slide two places largely on the back of a derby-day defeat to Liverpool; reversing last season's heavy win. The rights and wrongs of a variety of penalty decisions aside it remains a poor month...

15. (13) Fulham: -3.0pt
Fulham drift to fifteenth after indifferent results against two relegation rivals in Sunderland and Derby. A win in either game would have strengthened Fulham's survival bid especially given the relatively ...

16. (14) Tottenham Hotspur: -3.3pts
Martin Jol's reign ended on the 25th day of a packed October for Spurs; it opened with a 4-4 thriller with Villa and ended 7 games and fifteen goals conceded later with Juande Ramos in charge. Two points from ...

17. (16) Derby County*: -3.4pts
Derby slip a place and could well drift in a relative relegation zone as they get cut adrift in the real one. As this table compares Derby's results with the relegated teams of last season a low position ...

18. (18) Reading: -3.7pts
The bottom three are unchanged from September, and that is despite Reading winning two games to end October with six points from the three games; basically because the equivalent fixtures were no worse ...

19. (19) Middlesbrough: -8.0pts
Three straight and fairly comprehensive defeats for Boro in October don't help - but considering that they were playing three teams in good form and at the top of the table it is perhaps understandable. But ...

20. (20) Bolton Wanderers: -8.6pts
The vultures eventually ended Sammy Lee's dismal, short reign at The Reebok. And new Bolton manager, Gary Megson, has to pick up a team that is struggling to match any of the feats of last season. Only the ...

*Promoted teams records for last season are calculated to be the average of the relegated teams they replace.

Premier League Relativity Table August 2007
Premier League Relativity Table September 2007

Projected Table

By using the average points gained/lost per match compared to last season a table can be projected, but it seems to be skewed at the top and bottom. At the top three teams may get to 75 points but it is unlikely that five will. And at the bottom five teams won't finish with less than 30 points although it is likely that one or two will.

Projected Table
91 Arsenal
89 Manchester United
83 Chelsea
78 Manchester City
77 Blackburn Rovers
68 Liverpool
65 Aston Villa
59 West Ham United
57 Newcastle United
56 Portsmouth
49 Everton
49 Tottenham Hotspur
42 Reading
41 Birmingham City
39 Wigan Athletic
29 Fulham
29 Sunderland
26 Bolton Wanderers
21 Derby County
18 Middlesbrough

So perhaps a projection that only weights the gains and losses to date as 50% of the eventual change would be more accurate. And certainly the spread of finishing points seems more reasonable; although obviously it helps teams that did well last season.

Projected Table 50% Change Weighting
89 Manchester United
83 Chelsea
80 Arsenal
68 Liverpool
64 Blackburn Rovers
60 Manchester City
57 Aston Villa
55 Portsmouth
55 Tottenham Hotspur
54 Everton
50 West Ham United
50 Newcastle United
49 Reading
41 Bolton Wanderers
39 Wigan Athletic
37 Birmingham City
37 Middlesbrough
34 Fulham
31 Sunderland
27 Derby County

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