Parallel Premier League

Last updated : 14 November 2007 By Jim Bonner
We're now thirteen games into the Premier League season and so from next game onwards it'll be more accurate to say that we're "having a good season" rather than "made a good start". So, how does this season's start compare to last season and are we really a better team this campaign?

2007/2008 Season

Played: 13
Won: 6 (2 Home, 4 Away)
Drawn: 5 (4 Home, 1 Away)
Lost: 2 (2 Away)
Goals For: 23
Goals Against: 13
Position: 6th
Points: 23

2006/2007 Season

Played: 13
Won: 7 (5 Home, 2 Away)
Drawn: 2 (1 Home, 1 Away)
Lost: 4 (1 Home, 3 Away)
Goals For: 19
Goals Against: 11
Position: 3rd
Points: 23

The stats don't show much difference there, with the same points total and similar goal differences. We were in a Champions League place at this time last season, but if you look at the quality of opposition played last season as opposed to this one, it might explain why.

2007/2008 Results

Derby (A) (D 2-2)
Manchester United (H) (D 1-1)
Bolton (H) (W 3-1)
Chelsea (A) (L 1-0)
Arsenal (A) (L 3-1)
Liverpool (H) (D 0-0)
Blackburn (A) (W 0-1)
Reading (H) (W 7-4)
Fulham (A) (W 0-2)
Wigan (A) (W 0-2)
West Ham (H) (D 0-0)
Newcastle (A) (W 1-4)
Manchester City (H) (D 0-0)

2006/2007 Results

Blackburn (H) (W 3-0)
Manchester City (A) (D 0-0)
Middlesbrough (A) (W 0-4)
Wigan (H) (W 1-0)
Charlton (A) (W 0-1)
Bolton (H) (L 0-1)
Tottenham (A) (L 2-1)
West Ham (H) (W 2-0)
Chelsea (A) (L 2-1)
Reading (H) (W 3-1)
Manchester United (A) (L 3-0)
Fulham (H) (D 1-1)
Watford (H) (W 2-1)

I like to divide the league into three sectors. Level One clubs are made up of the "Big Four", Level Two clubs are those challenging for Europe and the top-half whilst Level Three clubs are battling relegation or looking over their shoulders.

So far this season we have played all four clubs from Level One, four clubs from Level Two and five clubs from Level Three, and we've beaten them all bar Derby on the opening day.

By this stage last season we had played two of the "Big Four", four clubs from Level Two and seven clubs from Level Three. Not only that but we had played seven games at home at this stage last season where we have only played six this campaign.

The reason why we are in a lower position this season despite the same number of points is simple: the league has got a lot stronger. Although three of the clubs that finished above us have got weaker (Tottenham, Bolton and Reading), many that finished below us have strengthened and that has made the league a lot tighter.

So to answer my original question - yes I do believe that we are a better team this campaign and we have made a better start. The question is whether we can maintain this sort of form throughout the rest of the season as January and February were killer months for us in 2007.

If we slump into that sort of form this time then we will start slipping rapidly down the table because of how tight the league is this year. With the African Nations threatening a repeat of last year, we have to hope that Harry has something up his sleeve.