The First 4 Premier League Games: Analysis of results for last 4 Years

The First 4 Premier League Games: Analysis of results for last 4 Years

It’s getting closer! The new Premier League season is only 4 weeks away and the excitement is building.  Transfers are being made, kits are being released and season passes are being sent out. Squads are all back to undertake their pre-season training.  Some are going on (quite frankly, crazy) pre season tours to the Far East, Australia and America, others taking it a little easier with jaunts around Europe.  All aiming to get themselves in perfect shape, both physically and mentally, for the long season ahead. I wanted to have a look at which teams, historically, start the season well and which teams take longer to get out of the blocks.  I therefore compiled the following information for the first 4 games, over the past 4 years of the teams that will be competing in the Premier League this season:

  • Won
  • Drawn
  • Lost
  • Goals for
  • Goals against
  • Goal difference
  • Points
  • Percentage of overall points at end of season

There weren’t a huge amount of massive shocks, but there are a number of little surprises. This post doesn’t take into account the difficulty of opening fixtures or the league that the teams were in over the past 4 years, purely the figures as stated above. So firstly, here’s a dataviz showing who has gained the most points from the first 4 games over the last 4 years and the total number of goals scored:

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Chelsea are slightly ahead of Man Utd in the points stakes (44 v 38), however, Man Utd lead the way with 47 goals.  The lowest points scorers are Norwich with 16, with Hull City and Norwich slightly ahead with 18 apiece.  Unsurprisingly (as a Hull City fan), they are the team that have scored the least amount of goals, with only 13 in 16 games.  Interestingly, the bottom half of the points gained list are only seperated by 6 points, whilst there is a 20 point gap between West Brom in 8th (24 points) and Chelsea. The biggest surprises in this list are Cardiff, who are 3rd best points scorers, gaining an impressive 34 points in their first 4 games over the 4 seasons and Liverpool and Everton who are 13th and 15th respectively, suggesting that they do start seasons slowly.  Cardiff will no doubt be hoping for a similarly strong start to next season. Next, a quick look at games lost and goals conceded:

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As expected, Chelsea fare well in this list too (as it is almost a reverse of the last), having never lost in their first 4 games of the last 4 years.  They have also conceded the least with only 8 goals, 5 less than Man City their closest rival.  Crystal Palace hold up the bottom, having lost 9 of their 16 games, with Hull City and Southampton not far behind on 8. Always looking for a way to bring Hull City to the fore, here’s a chart they lead in:

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  Sadly, it’s not a great one to be showing….. Now that the Totals have been viewed, its worth having a quick look at what percentage of clubs end of season points have been picked up during the first 4 games:

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  The chart shows that Man City are way ahead in respect of percentage of points gained in the first 4 weeks.  A consistent team across the seasons would show an average of 9.5%, therefore the further away that teams get from this, either positively or negatively, the less consistent they are. Finally I have looked at the averages over the past 4 seasons in order to try and predict who will start next season strongly:

7a7

So based on the average over the last 4 seasons, Chelsea will end the first 4 games at the top of the league with 11 points (yes, i’m aware they can’t get 11 points in 4 games but thats averages for you) whilst Man Utd will lead the goalscoring charts with 11.75 goals.  Cardiff will be top 3 and Everton and Liverpool will be playing catch-up to Stoke. The league table, after 4 weeks and based on the averages, will look like this:

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Of course, the above table won’t happen.  That’s the beauty of football, it is unpredictable and it is that unpredictability that we love. Although, Chelsea being at the top of the EPL after 4 games has to be worth a punt, doesn’t it?