Point spread GIFs: Premier League, 5 Feb 2017
It feels like a good time to dust off the animated GIFs I use to track how clubs are faring in the promotion, play-off and relegation battles.
These are explained in full here but put simply they show how each club’s points tally is changing relative to teams in previous seasons. There are three graphics – one for each race – which cycle through all the clubs involved in the order of their current league position.
Chelsea unsurprisingly look pretty comfortable. The only Premier League teams to have more points at this stage of a season were their 2004/05 and 2005/06 selves (61 and 63 respectively) – the first two campaigns of the Jose Mourinho era.
Everyone else down to Mourinho’s current employers Man Utd have a points tally better than at least one previous title winner (Arsenal’s 44 in 1997/98), which highlights how close the top four battle will surely be.
Only three of the five teams falling in behind Chelsea can qualify for the Champions League, but all of them have a points tally better than the average fourth-placed finisher tends to have at this stage, so two teams look set to be feeling hard done by in May.
Even West Brom claiming a top four spot wouldn’t be without precedent as things stand: Leeds had 35 points at this stage in 2000/01 but ended up in fourth place.
For what it’s worth I’m not trying to insult any clubs by including them here – I just wanted to put every team in at least one of the three graphics this time, as in future I’ll start to weed out those who aren’t likely participants in any of the races.
Nobody is in a hopeless position here – even bottom club Sunderland have more points than some teams who’ve escaped relegation have had at this stage of the season.
Leicester‘s poor run of form has seen their points tally go from above average to below average for a survivor in recent weeks, which is all the more concerning in light of Swansea and others picking up points.