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Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Arsenal can win the title - but it would require a low-pointer that also brings Villa into play

Rio Ferdinand has ruled out an Arsenal title bid whereas Patrick Vieira is not quite so sure. Falling back on statistics suggests that although Arsenal is not yet out of contention, if this is a usual season then Arsenal has probably given itself too much to do in the second half of the season. But there are reasons to believe that this could be a season when a lower than usual number of wins and points is decisive.

Statistically speaking Arsenal are already almost out of contention; in the majority of recent seasons (see below) the title winners have picked up 26 wins from 38 games. To match this, Arsenal, which has won 9 of 17 games, would need to win 17 of the remaining 21 games; possible but unlikely. But intriguingly none of the top five teams are winning enough games to match a 26-win schedule.

After 17 games only Liverpool and Chelsea are even close to a 26-win season - both having won 11 games compared to 9 for Man United, Arsenal and Aston Villa.

Wins after 17 games - 2008/9: Liverpool 11, Chelsea 11, Man United 9*, Aston Villa 9, Arsenal 9

* 16 games

All of which suggests that this season could be a throwback to the more competitive 1990s, when teams regularly won titles after six defeats with barely 20 wins. It is 10 seasons since the champions got fewer than 24 wins but that is the kind of target that is looking more and more likely given the fallibility of the top teams.

With the top five all having picked up 30-38 points approaching half-way the likelihood of a blanket finish is growing; and the result of such competition could well be that the champion team is the one that gets to 80 points (as opposed to 85-90). If the bar is lowered to, say, 78 points, then Arsenal can win the title.

78 points would also bring Aston Villa into the equation, and a title for the west Midland team although a laughable prospect for too many arrogant, one-eyed 'big four' fans is not out of the question and would be a win for football.

Number of Wins for the top three - last 10 seasons

2007/8: Man United 27 wins; Chelsea 25 wins; Arsenal 24 wins

2006/7: Man United 28; Chelsea 24; Liverpool 20

2005/6: Chelsea 29; Man United 25; Liverpool 25

2004/5: Chelsea 29; Arsenal 25; Man United 22

2003/4: Arsenal 26; Chelsea 24; Man United 23

2002/3: Man United 25; Arsenal 23; Newcastle 21

2001/2: Arsenal 26; Liverpool 24; Man United 24

2000/1: Man United 24; Arsenal 20; Liverpool 20

1999/2000: Man United 28; Arsenal 22; Leeds 21

1998/99: Man United 22; Arsenal 22; Chelsea 20

COMMENTS

Ross

You obviously don't have a clue. Aston Villa will definitely not win the title and that is a fact. It is also a statement which has nothing to do with being arrogant or one-eyed. In fact your statement smacks of somebody trying to show they know a lot about football but in fact know nothing. Great insightful prediction there...ha!! Also it's Arsenal have probably given themselves... not Arsenal has probably given itself

Luke M

Fair play, if Arsenal and United are in it then so are Villa.

Until the points difference is huge (which it isn't at present) then Arsenal, Villa and United can still win the title.

If you look at Villa's fixtures they seem like they have a good chance at the moment, although things can change.

Like the other teams in the top 5 they are also prone to losing to poor opposition.

wb

History of Premier League and the stats for the winner of each season.

Played Won Drawn Lost Goals scored Goals against Points
42 24 12 6 67 31 84
42 27 11 4 80 38 92
42 27 8 7 80 39 89
38 25 7 6 73 35 82
38 21 12 5 76 44 75
38 23 9 6 68 33 78
38 22 13 3 80 37 79
38 28 7 3 97 45 91
38 24 8 6 79 31 80
38 26 9 3 79 36 87
38 25 8 5 74 34 83
38 26 12 0 73 26 90
38 29 8 1 72 15 95
38 29 4 5 72 22 91
38 28 5 5 83 27 89
38 27 6 5 80 22 87

Total 620 411 139 70 1233 515 1372
Average 38.75 25.69 8.69 4.37 77.06 32.19 85.75

Sorry its not justified i cant be bothered to edit it into the browser format.

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