Monthly Archives: August 2012

First Game Portents

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.

Predictably, in general the superior teams have the better starts. On average, the final champions pick up 2 points whilst those finishing 20th muster 0.78 with 12 defeats in the 20 encounters.

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

The correlation can be plotted for each of the 38 rounds of the season

From this analysis there is no indication that the top teams perform particularly better at any time of the season

Quick off the mark

An, all-too-familiar, blunder by Robert Green enabled Swansea’s new signing, Michu, to score the first goal of the new season

Here are the first goal scorers of the year in the previous twenty EPL seasons, along with the game result and final league position

A touch of short-term gain – with only two of the teams subsequently losing the game.
But long-term pain – none of the teams have won the league that season and three were relegated, never to return to the top flight