The Importance of a Fast Start Despite Challenging Start

Over the years, the Premier League champions average league position has gone to 2 from 2.45 after the opening 10 matches, while standard points tallied in the phase has grown from 20.8 to reach 24. In the current day, Leicester City of 2015/2016 and Manchester City of 2013/2014 have recorded the worst starts among the eventual champions, each garnering only 19 points in their first 10 matches. In comparison, Liverpool and Manchester City have stepped up remarkably in the past two seasons.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool took 28 points in the first 10 games of the 2019/20 campaign, while City acquired 26 and 28 points in their opening 10 matches of 2018/19 and 2017/18, respectively. The Champions League race follows a similar pattern, although their effects become much apparent later on in the campaign. During the 2001/02 season, the Premier League’s top four have qualified for the Champions League.

In 2009/10, Portsmouth, Aston Villa, Bolton Wanderers and Birmingham City all came out fourth in the Premier League season after 10 matches. The sides finished sixth place or even lower while records show Birmingham dropped down to 10th position in the 2003/04 campaign. The Big Six list of Premier League is made up solely of elite football teams: Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur. The number depicts how hard it is currently to secure the top four positions after the strategic first ten-match point race, not to mention the reduced guarantee of finishing the season in the top four.

Although a few shocking results have been witnessed in this opening period, like the West Ham United in 2015/16, Southampton 2013/14, and Newcastle 2011/12, a fast start has proven to ensure a club’s top-four position in the end. During the campaigns from 2001 to 2010, clubs that finished fourth place had an average 18.1 points tally within the first 10 matches, and it has risen to 19.1 tally points during the 2010 to 2020 period. The fourth-placed team between 2001-2010 acquired at least 20 points only once, while it occurred four times from 2010 through 2020.

This means Mikel Arteta has a lot of work to do with a very difficult opening fixture list. We face Liverpool in our third game of the new season, followed by Sheffield United, Manchester City, Leicester City and then Manchester United on 31 October. This run of games may have a huge outcome to where we will finish overall.

There have been a few anomalies like when Manchester United finished third with just 13 points in the first ten games of the 2019/20 campaign, but irregularities tend to happen from time to time. After the Premier League changed into a division of 20 teams in 1995, out of the three teams with three points after their first 10 matches, two have been allowed to continue, and this was Newcastle 2018/19 and Crystal Palace 2013/14. The standard finishing rank of the 20th ranked team after the ten matches is position 17, and 11 out of the total 25 teams avoid being relegated.    

 16 of the 25 teams to have finished in 18th since the 1995/96 season were outside the relegation zone at the 10-match mark, while Charlton Athletic (1998/99) and Bournemouth (2019/20) were in the top half and still went on to be relegated. The tipping point between possible and likely safety is six points. Teams with between three and five points after 10 matches have stayed up 42.3 percent of the time, while sides with six to eight points have secured safety on 55.7 percent of occasions.

According to research, there is a sixty percent possibility of the team in the 18th position, which is the final relegation position. From 1995 to date, out of the 25 teams in the post, 15 have made it with five changing the heading manager halfway into the season. Teams that do not manage to make the relegation zone and finish at 18th and below acquire after the ten matches an average place of 15.64 before then dropping further down on the list. 16 of 25 teams in history to have completed the season in 18th from the season of 1995/96

Although relegation battles usually seem unpredictable, a team can secure themselves by applying the fast start method in the first ten season games. In the history of Premier League, teams scoring more than 15 points in their first ten matches do not risk going down, and the clubs with points ranging from 12 to 14 have a 90 percent possibility of survival. While there has been a remarkable reduction of error margins that have been witnessed within the top positioned clubs, unpredictability is still strongly evident down the list.