The general consensus is that the title this season will once again find its way to Manchester. City, albeit with a few nerves, came off best in the first round. In the twenty previous seasons of the EPL, only two eventual champions have survived a first game defeat
Looking on the bright side for their fans, United were those two eventual champions – way back in the first four years of the Championship. Also, an away fixture at Everton is a lot trickier than most title-winners have faced in Game 1. Indeed, in the past dozen years the only fixture that figured two top sides was the 2004/5 encounter between Chelsea and United in which Drogba contributed an assist in his first game for the club. Looking at the lineup, United were at a low ebb with players of the calibre of Djemba-Djemba, Fortune and Miller starting.
The downward trend is evident with a correlation of 0.7 between position and average points. Teams like QPR, Swansea and Fulham will take comfort in their wins at the weekend as teams that get relegated have won Game 1 less than 20% of the time
From this analysis there is no indication that the top teams perform particularly better at any time of the season