We’re now 10 weeks into the Premier League season. Just over a quarter (100 out of 380) of the season’s matches have now been played. This is the point at which schedule-strength imbalance really starts to show. While most teams can expect to get back to approximate balance by the season’s halfway point around Christmas, right now some teams have played noticeably harder sets of fixtures than others.
The current alt-3 league table shows quite a few differences from the official table. Here I will highlight just two of those differences: one near the top of the table, the other nearer the bottom.
Leicester and Chelsea are both ahead of Man City right now
Both Leicester City and Chelsea have played fixture schedules that are slightly harder than average, across the first 10 matchdays. Meanwhile Manchester City have had a noticeably easier fixture list. In effect, Leicester currently have 2 games in hand over Man City, as calculated by the alt-3 method: the difference between Man City’s 11.4 effective matches played and Leicester’s 9.2 amounts to 2.2 ‘effective games in hand’. So Leicester (and Chelsea too) have actually done better than Man City so far this season.
To see how this happened, just look at the current schedule-strength graphs:
Leicester City schedule strength graph — In their first 10 matches, Leicester have already played Chelsea and Liverpool (both away)
Manchester City schedule strength graph — Man City have yet to play any of the other clubs in the current top 4.
Southampton not doing quite as badly as it looks
After the Saints’ horror show on Friday at home to Leicester, they languish in 18th place in the official league table. But their alt-3 ‘effective matches played’ works out at only 7.6, which means they effectively have 2.4 games in hand relative to a team that has faced an average fixture list. In the alt-3 table, then Southampton are currently placed 14th, not 18th.
- Southampton schedule strength graph — Southampton have already played Liverpool, Chelsea and Leicester in their first 10 games. (And next week they’ll play Man City!)
That represents an uncommonly tough schedule to start the season, for the Saints. It should be no surprise that they have not yet amassed many points.
Based only on their results to date, there is no reason for Southampton to panic!
What about other Premier League clubs?
To see any Premier League team’s schedule-strength graph, just click on the team name in the current alt-3 league table.