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Points Differential Tracker 2020-21

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A late start here but I wanted to slightly shake up how I did this compared to last season. It took me a little bit of time and some geeking out with my spreadsheet but here are the changes I've made.

  • The newly-promoted clubs will be included this season. Their results will be compared to the team who effectively finished in their default position last season. As winners of the Championship, Leeds will take the place of 18th-placed Bournemouth, and have their results compared to Bournemouth's from last season. The 17 teams who stayed in the Premier League from last season will have their results against Leeds this season compared to what they did against Bournemouth last season. West Brom are paired up with Watford while Fulham have their results compared to Norwich. 
  • Rather than ordering the teams by their points improvement or deficit, I will use the differential alongside last season's points totals to create a crude projected table for the end of this season. This will reflect, for example, how West Ham's league position would be impacted by the extra 7 points they've scored compared to their corresponding fixtures the season before.

Best to explain by simply getting on with it. I started out by creating a table of last season's results in faint colours. This saves me looking up last season's results each time I update it, and also demonstrates what teams are looking to improve upon in their remaining fixtures.

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After each set of fixtures, I'll fill in the table to show how teams have improved upon, retained or lost points compared to last season. Results which are repeats of last season will turn grey. Improved results will turn dark green and lost points will turn dark red. The total differential at the end of the table will update automatically to summarise how much teams have improved or gotten worse compared to last season, from the fixtures they have had so far.

This is currently up to date up to the last set of completed fixtures.

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It's a bit all over the place at the moment. Many teams have already had big gains and big losses elsewhere. Aston Villa are the biggest movers so far, with their 100% record up until the weekend seeing them gain 8 points, with West Ham also gaining 7 more points in their first five games than they did against the same opponents from last season. Sheffield United are having a shocker so far at the other end, scoring 10 points less than they did in the same five fixtures last season.

What I think is more exciting though (if you're a massive nerd like me) is the projected table: 

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This is a projected table that combines this season's results so far with a (clearly imperfect) assumption that the rest of the season will see repeats from last season's results. I think this should be a bit more informative than just having a differential table which shows how much teams have gained or lost, especially as last season's iteration didn't account for changing results against relegated vs. newly-promoted sides. 

Sheffield United are unsurprisingly the big losers so far. They have already failed to replicate 10 of the 54 points they scored last season and so are slipping quickly towards the danger zone, as are Newcastle who are currently "on track" to score 40 points. Leeds have already scored 6 points that their predecessors Bournemouth didn't manage last season, but it isn't yet enough to pull them out of the bottom three as their closest targets, Aston Villa and West Ham, have made significant improvements of their own.

Everton's strong start, coupled with early problems for Burnley, Sheffield United and Southampton who all finished above them last season, sees them move into the top half based on this projection. Small changes in the European spots show Chelsea edge ahead of Manchester United while Tottenham and Arsenal both bear down on Leicester.

Liverpool dropping points in two of their opening five games would seem to offer an opportunity for Man City. Guardiola's men went to Wolves in their first game and bagged a +3 to set out their stall but have since dropped points against Leicester and Leeds in games they won last season (against Leicester and Bournemouth) and now have to overturn a negative differential themselves.

 

Issues with the model:

Clearly, comparing Leeds, West From and Fulham's results to last season's relegated trio presents problems, but I thought it was better than just ignoring those six fixtures altogether. It becomes a real farce when you use Bournemouth v Watford as a benchmark for Leeds v West Brom but at least we can track roughly how these teams are getting on against those who were relegated last season.

The projected table is a blunt tool at this stage. Obviously nobody thinks the rest of this season's results will match last season's exactly, but the more data from this season I put in, the more accurate a reflection it will be of what we might expect to see at the end of the season. Last season's results offer a far from perfect but at least somewhat relevant projection of results that we might see over the course of the season at least. I'm interested to see how the table looks around Christmas time or after about 19 games, compared to the final table we end up getting in May.

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This week's results:

Aston Villa 0-3 Leeds ... No change here for either side as Leeds have inherited last season's Bournemouth results. Eddie Howe's men also won at Villa Park last season. Both teams retain their strong differential scores of +8 and +6 respectively.

West Ham 1-1 Man City ... West Ham avoid defeat at home to Man City for the first time since leaving Upton Park, and the 1 point improvement compared to last season sees them join Aston Villa at the top of the differential table on +8 after six games. Man City had the lowest differential score last season, but have so far suffered even worse results this campaign and sit on a score of -4.

Fulham 1-2 Crystal Palace ... This result is compared to Palace's draw at Norwich last season, meaning that this win gives them an extra 2 points, boosting them to a total of +4. Fulham have a -1 added to their score and, shockingly, are at this point on course to score 2 points less than even Norwich managed last season.

Man United 0-0 Chelsea ... No victory for Manchester United this season, meaning their differential score takes a 2 point hit, having won this fixture on the opening day of last season. This give Solskjaer's men an overall differential of -2 with Chelsea improving by a point to +2.

Liverpool 2-1 Sheffield Utd ... A repeated result from last season sees Liverpool stay on -3. Another loss for Sheffield United but at least their awful differential score of -10 doesn't take a further hit.

Southampton 2-0 Everton ... The first three point swing of the week came at St Mary's in a fixture which Marco Silva's Everton won last season. Southampton's victory this time around improves their differential score from -5 to -2, while Everton lose over half of their early-season profits, dropping from a differential of +5 to +2.

Wolves 1-1 Newcastle ... Murphy's late equaliser for the visitors sees Newcastle repeat a somewhat surprising draw away to Wolves for a second season in a row. Neither side has had a particularly jolly start to the season though with Wolves sitting on -3 and Newcastle on -4 for now.

Arsenal 0-1 Leicester ... Arsenal's differential takes a hit for the first time this season as they fail to replicate last season's draw in this fixture. Leicester pick up an extra 2 points with only one of their first six games seeing a repeat of last season (Burnley at home) in a fairly all over the place start to the new campaign. This result moves them up to +1 overall, two points behind their opponents.

Brighton 1-1 West Brom ... A point here for Brighton leaves them on a differential of +1 after drawing at home to Watford last season. West Brom's early results have them on track to outscore last season's Watford side by a single point, an improvement that won't be enough to keep them in the Premier League for another season.

Burnley 0-1 Tottenham ... A two point gain here for Spurs to cancel out last weekend's two point loss in their draw with West Ham. A differential score of +4 represents a promising start to the season for Mourinho's side. Burnley, on the other hand, drop to -7 and have failed to improve on any of their results early on this season compared to last.

Below is a summary of the 'profit and loss' made by each side in each fixture so far this season, followed by a full table sorted by the Total Differential score for each side. The third image shows the projected table updated for this week's fixtures. The only notable move is Southampton's improvement to 10th ahead of Burnley. It will take some time for most changes to take shape but most tellingly right now, West Ham are projected to finish level on points with Burnley, having been 15 points behind last season, while Newcastle are on course to finish on the edge of the relegation zone having been safe by 10 clear points last season.

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Differential Table -------- Projected League Table

965266147_ScreenShot2020-10-27at19_58_35.png.ae63ec5a9882691d36b1ce9858163b0b.png   671539672_ScreenShot2020-10-27at19_58_49.png.ea3f180ee15e505282634e6dbb83ac9a.png

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This week's Differential Table and Projected Table:

1113386421_ScreenShot2020-11-03at10_47_26.png.6a29569161fd808b0971c9d2b42b2e5b.png

There were actually no changes on Friday and Saturday with the first four fixtures of the weekend serving up repeats from last season. Wolves beat Palace again, Man City won at Sheffield United again, Chelsea won at Burnley again and Liverpool beat West Ham again. Sunday started to see some changes. Southampton's win at Aston Villa was a repeat result before Newcastle inflicted a three-point swing on Everton, moving both sides to a differential of -1. Arsenal's win at Old Trafford gained them an extra 2 points and sees them rise to 3rd in the Differential Table, while a lost point for Man Utd compared to last season's draw sees them drop to a score of -3. Tottenham's win over Brighton was a repeated result. Fulham gained a 3 point swing over West Brom. While it's a bit silly to compare them, this was compared to Norwich's home defeat to Watford last season. It's still three points that Norwich didn't get last season which Fulham have, and it puts them onto a positive score, while Albion go down to -2. Leicester's trip to Leeds was compared to their defeat at Bournemouth last season, resulting in a three point bonus for them, boosting them to +4, while Bielsa's men, compared to Bournemouth last season, are still up by 3 points.

Early days still for the projected table but Man Utd's suffering combined with Leicester's improvements see Rodgers and co on track to return to the top four. Arsenal's improvement allows them to edge closer to the conversation too while Everton slip back into the mid-table mire. Newcastle's result sees them move onto a safer projection of 43 points while Leeds drop to a projection of 37 for now. Fulham's improvement sees their points projection move back to the right side of 20 and sees them narrow the gap to 19th place from 16 points to 10. It's a pretty bad week all round for West Brom who were 5 projected points from safety last week, a margin that has now doubled in size.

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This weekend ought to be interesting. 

At the very top, Liverpool have the opportunity to deal more damage to Man City. A win at the Etihad would restore Liverpool to a neutral differential score and put them back on track to hit 99 points again. Man City are already on -4 and can't afford another three point hit after a mixed bag so far this season. This scenario would put Man City down to a projected points total of 74 and would have them looking over their shoulders.

Chelsea, currently projected to finish 3rd, only drew at home to Sheffield United last season, giving them the opportunity to probably improve their differential by 2 and move on to a projected points total of 70. Another point dropped for Sheffield United would put them on a differential of -11. Tottenham are currently projected 63 points and are in the same scenario as they look to improve last season's home draw with Watford to a victory over their replacements West Brom. Leicester, in the meantime, host Wolves, and are under pressure to repeat their victory from last season to retain their projected top four finish. Arsenal will be unable to improve their differential when they end the weekend hosting Aston Villa, a game they already won last season. Man Utd could gain 2 points or lose another 1 in their visit to Goodison Park, either way they are still currently on track to be in the mix for a top four finish but the pressure is still on Solskjaer regardless. 

At the other end of the table, Leeds are the main team to watch. Any result at Crystal Palace would improve on their predecessor Bournemouth's loss at Selhurst Park last season and boost their current points projection, which fell to 37 after the Leicester defeat on Monday.

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181779360_ScreenShot2020-11-08at21_31_38.png.2271193d32137738dfda2bcfc3ce5042.png

This weekend, we saw the following results:

Brighton 0-0 Burnley (no change)

Southampton 2-0 Newcastle (Southampton +3, Newcastle -3)

Everton 1-3 Man United (Everton -1, Man Utd +2)

Crystal Palace 4-1 Leeds (no change)

Chelsea 4-1 Sheffield Utd (Chelsea +2, Sheffield Utd -1)

West Ham 1-0 Fulham (no change)

West Brom 0-1 Tottenham (West Brom -1, Tottenham +2)

Leicester 1-0 Wolves (Leicester +2, Wolves -1)

Man City 1-1 Liverpool (Man City -2, Liverpool +1)

Arsenal 0-3 Aston Villa (Arsenal -3, Aston Villa +3)

 

In the differential table, Aston Villa take a clear lead with their third 3-point swing of the season. Spurs, Leicester and Chelsea all gain further ground while Arsenal's -3 on Sunday night sees them lose several positions. Elsewhere, Southampton move to a positive differential with Everton heading in the opposite direction, Liverpool make their first profit of the season with a draw at Man City while Sheffield United lose a further point at the bottom of the standings as they failed to repeat last season's draw at Stamford Bridge.

What this means for the projected final table: Liverpool extend their lead over Man City by three points as Chelsea edge closer to 2nd place. Leicester secure their 4th place for another week, matching the 2 point improvement of Man Utd and Tottenham while Arsenal fall away. From mid-table downwards, heavy losers on last season Burnley and Sheffield United collide with big gainers West Ham and Aston Villa to form a cluster of teams that will change significantly each week. At the bottom, none of the three newly-promoted sides have yet improved enough on their predecessors' results to trouble the top 17. Newcastle's -3 at Southampton means that they're now the closest target for 18th placed Leeds.

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900555990_ScreenShot2020-11-27at11_48_00.png.c39cfaf0897856fee10bcbb71249152c.png

An update following last weekend's games.

Chelsea started things off by bagging a +3 in their win at Newcastle and moving themselves up into third place with a differential of +7. After failing to repeat last season's win in this fixture, Newcastle mirror that by dropping to -7 after taking a 3 point hit. Brighton followed suit at Aston Villa with a win that gained them a 3 point boost and delivered a -3 to their opponents, knocking the previously most-improved team this season off the top of the differential table. Tottenham's win at home to Man City was a repeated result, and another missed opportunity for Guardiola's side to make up some of the 6 points they've already let slip this season compared to last. Man Utd's home win over West Brom matches their result against Watford last season so neither change for either of those sides.

Onto Sunday, Everton's narrow victory at Fulham matches up with their win at Norwich last season. Fulham have still only managed to pick up a single point that Norwich, who only got 21 points in total, didn't manage last season. West Ham's win at Sheffield United highlighted their position as the most-improved team this season in a fixture they lost last year, and throws another -3 onto the pile for their opponents who sit rock bottom with a shocking -14 differential. Arsenal's draw at Leeds matches up as a repeated result with their draw at Bournemouth last season, and Liverpool's home win against Leicester also goes down as a repeated result so no change there.

Burnley's home win over Crystal Palace saw them take a +3 and allows their differential to recover from -7 to -4. Palace fall to just +1 after failing to repeat last season's win at Turf Moor. Wolves and Southampton sit still on -4 and +1 respectively after repeating their draw at Molyneux.

The headlines in the projected table below are that Newcastle are now tied with Leeds on a projection of 37 points. Sheffield United are now projected to finish on a dangerous 40 points. Liverpool are still projected to win the league by a margin of 22 points while Chelsea are quietly sneaking up on Man City and could depose them for 2nd place in the near future. It remains very much nip and tuck between Leicester, Man Utd and Spurs for the final Champions League spot while another 3 point boost for West Ham this week moves them closer to the top half. There is, of course, plenty still to come.

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Thought I'd updated for last weekend's fixtures but I haven't...

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Newcastle's Friday night win at Crystal Palace, a game they lost last season, yielded a three point swing for them and moved them onto a slightly less negative differential, while Palace now find themselves on the wrong side of breaking even.

Liverpool made a net loss for the second time this season by drawing at Brighton. Potter's men improve to a solid +5 with the extra point from this result. Man City's win over Burnley was a repeat from last season, while Leeds are still struggling to make further improvements on their counterparts Bournemouth, their win at Everton a result matched by Eddie Howe's side last season meaning that they stay on +3. Sheffield United's woeful start continues, another -1 added to their score after their defeat at West Brom was compared to last season's draw at Watford.

Sunday saw Man Utd move into a positive differential with their comeback victory at Southampton, improving on last season's draw at St. Mary's. The loss of a point puts Saints as the only side breaking even overall so far this season. Chelsea and Tottenham's stalemate benefited the visitors, Mourinho's side moving up one point to +7 and overtaking Chelsea in the process, who drop from +7 to +5 having failed to repeat last season's win. Arsenal's home defeat to Wolves only deals them one point of damage in a game that ended in a draw last season. Arteta's men retain a narrowly positive differential while Wolves move from -4 to -2 with this win.

Leicester's damaging defeat to Fulham on Monday night only dealt them a one point hit by this metric, as they could only muster a draw at home to Norwich last season. Fulham gain 2 points and are slowly showing signs of improving on Norwich's dismal points tally last season. Finally, West Ham improved further their already commanding lead at the top of the table with a win over Aston Villa that marked a 2 point profit compared to last season. Despite taking another one point hit, Aston Villa remain joint 2nd with Spurs in the table.

Below is the updated projection for the final table:

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Liverpool's margin of victory is reduced slightly to 20 points, Tottenham have edged closer to the battle over 3rd and 4th places and Sheffield United have dropped below the 40 point mark.

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On 06/12/2020 at 23:39, 6666 said:

We're a point better off..? I'm just confused now.

Yep, Arsenal have gained 6 points by winning at Fulham (drew at Norwich last season), winning at Man Utd (drew last season) and beating Sheffield United at home (drew last season). And you've lost 5 points by losing to Aston Villa (won last season), Leicester (drew last season) and Wolves (drew last season). The rest of your results have been the same as last season so a net gain of one point.

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Update for this weekend's games:

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With Friday's game cancelled, the weekend's action started at Turf Moor, where Everton gained a point with a draw compared to last season's defeat. Burnley's loss of 2 points sees them drop to a differential of -6. Man City's win over Fulham matches their home win over Norwich last season in the first of many repeated results this weekend. Leaders West Ham took their first negative hit of the season though, with Manchester United's comeback win securing them a three point swing having lost at the London Stadium last season. Solskjaer's men move to a differential of +4. Chelsea also profited on Saturday. Having lost at home to Bournemouth last season, their victory over Leeds yielded a 3 point profit and moves them onto a differential of +8 and into second place. Leeds' differential is reset to 0, meaning they are now back on track to match Bournemouth's point tally of 34 from last season, based on their results so far.

Crystal Palace returned to a breakeven differential score with victory at West Brom on Sunday lunchtime, an improvement on their draw at Watford last season. A damaging defeat for the home side sees them slip to -2 and on track to finish the season with just 32 points. Leicester's late winner against Sheffield United allowed them to repeat their win from last season and prevented the current basement boys from scoring their first positive score of the season, while Tottenham and Liverpool's wins over Arsenal and Wolves respectively were also repeated results from last season, as was Southampton's victory at Brighton on Monday night.

An updated projection for the final table can be found below. Chelsea have edged closer to Man City again and Man Utd's +3 at West Ham moves them back above Leicester and into the top four. Burnley slip back below West Ham in mid-table while Leeds continue to suffer from their predecessor Bournemouth's erratic results last season, the loss at Chelsea hitting them with a -3 the week after victory at Goodison Park yielded them no profit at all.

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9 hours ago, RandoEFC said:

Yep, Arsenal have gained 6 points by winning at Fulham (drew at Norwich last season), winning at Man Utd (drew last season) and beating Sheffield United at home (drew last season). And you've lost 5 points by losing to Aston Villa (won last season), Leicester (drew last season) and Wolves (drew last season). The rest of your results have been the same as last season so a net gain of one point.

Well at least this helps put things into perspective from a results point of view. We were shit last season as well.

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Updates for this weekend's fixtures:

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Taking the games in chronological order as usual...

Friday night's game saw Leeds take a 1 point hit and move back into a negative differential as they failed to emulate Bournemouth's draw at home to West Ham last season. Moyes' men consolidate their position as the most improved side over the first quarter of the season, improving here by another 2 points to make up for last week's 3 point hit at home to Man Utd.

Aston Villa, also flying high in the differential league, secured a three point improvement compared to last season with victory at Molyneux. A damaging three point hit for Wolves sees them drop to a differential of -5. Newcastle made a 2 point profit with victory over West Brom, an improvement on their home draw with Watford last season. Bilic and co have so far scored 3 fewer points than Watford in the same fixtures so far this season. The Hornets finished 19th with 34 points last season, highlighting an urgent need for the Baggies to up their game. It was a profitable weekend for Manchester City, who improved by +1 with a draw at Old Trafford and overtake title rivals Liverpool in this table. The loss of two points for Man Utd halves their positive differential from +4 to +2. The final fixture on Saturday saw no change for Everton or Chelsea as the Toffees repeated their Goodison Park win from last season.

Sunday lunchtime saw Sheffield United fail to improve on their defeat at St Mary's last season. Wilder's side have yet to improve on a single one of their 12 results comparable to last season (unsurprising as they only have 1 point overall) and are the only team left with this monkey on their back. The Crystal Palace fightback at Selhurst Park saw them share the points with Spurs for a second season running. Liverpool were the first side to drop points on Sunday, their draw at Fulham a downgrade on their victory at Norwich last season sees them drop to a differential of -6. Meanwhile, Fulham improve to a differential of +4 compared to Norwich's haul in the same fixtures last season. They will need to sustain this improvement though whilst being compared to the Canaries' woeful 21 point campaign. Burnley's win at The Emirates halved their negative differential from -6 to -3. The three point hit for Arsenal surprisingly only moves them down to a differential of -2. The weekend's final fixture saw Leicester improve on another disappointing draw on home turf last season, this time against Brighton. The Foxes join Spurs on an impressive +7 at this early stage of the season while a 1 point hit for Brighton themselves still leaves them with an impressive score of +4.

Below is the projected table based on the changes to this season's results compared to the last:

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One third of the way through the season, we can start to see some patterns emerging. For the first time in a while, Man City have a better differential score than Liverpool, but are still only on course to reduce their gap to the defending champions from 18 points to 17. The race for 4th looks too close to call. Leicester's improvement this week sees them sneak back up to 4th following Man Utd's dropped points. The improved West Ham and Southampton are bearing down on the ailing Arsenal and Wolves in the upper mid-table battle, while Aston Villa are set to avoid last day relegation drama this season if they can continue their current form. None of the newly-promoted sides are improving significantly enough on the results of the teams they replaced in the top flight, but there are plenty of opportunities ahead and Sheffield United's tailspin offers them all the scent of blood in the water as they look to avoid the same fate as their predecessors.

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Midweek Update:

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On Tuesday, we had just the two fixtures. Wolves' victory over Chelsea secured them a full three point swing, dragging their differential back up closer to the breakeven point, while Chelsea's loss of 3 points sees them drop from +8 to +5. Man City, who had just moved ahead of title rivals Liverpool in the differential table, have lost out again during the week, their draw at home to West Brom marking a 2 point loss compared to their 8-0 win over Watford last season. The Baggies' improvement of 1 point still sees them lagging 2 behind relegated Watford's points tally from the same fixtures last season.

A busy Wednesday began with Arsenal and Southampton repeating their Emirates draw from last season, leaving their respective differentials unchanged. Leeds secured their second full three point improvement over counterparts Bournemouth compared to last season with a high-scoring home victory against Newcastle in a fixture, moving them back into a positive differential, while condemning Steve Bruce's side to drop to a score of -5. Everton matched Leeds' move from -1 to +2 with victory at Leicester, who slip away from the top of these standings following third three point hit of the season, all of which have come at the King Power Stadium. Later on, Fulham continued their steady improvement on Norwich's results from last season, their draw at home to Brighton marking an improvement of one point compared to their predecessors. Firmino's late winner saw Liverpool repeat their home win over Tottenham from last season, while West Ham's draw with Crystal Palace marks a further improvement to their table-topping differential score as Hodgson's men did the double over the Hammers last season.

Thursday's first game saw Aston Villa and Burnley repeat their Villa Park draw from last season, allowing Grealish and co to keep the top of the leaderboard in sight. Manchester United's latest comeback win on the road saw them gain 2 points compared to last season's draw at Brammall Lane while basement boys Sheffield United tot up another point in the wrong column and have now scored 1 point from the first 12 games, where they scored 17 points in the same fixture's last season. Man Utd have now racked up a positive differential of 4 points so far this season. Remarkably, all of their gains have come on the road, where their wins at Everton, Newcastle, Sheffield United, Southampton and West Ham have seen them improve by 12 points compared to last season, while they have been scuppered by picking up 8 fewer points in their home games against Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Tottenham than they did last season.

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The updated projection for the season-ending table sees Liverpool extend their winning margin by another 2 points following Man City's draw with West Brom. Chelsea would have drawn level on points with Man City if they had repeated their win at Wolves from last season but instead are looking over their shoulders at Man Utd, who return to the top 4 with a buffer of four points due to their profit and Leicester's simultaneous loss. The three point swing in Wolves' favour sees them move three points clear of Arsenal and into 7th, with Southampton, West Ham, Burnley and Everton all in close attention. A gap has emerged between the top 12 and the bottom 8, with five teams currently projected to fall short of the 40 points mark. All three of the newly-promoted sides made gains during the midweek fixtures while Newcastle and Sheffield United did the opposite. Fulham in particular still need to improve on a lot more of Norwich's results from last season in order to get into the mix for the top 17. It remains somewhat surprising that Leeds have only made a net improvement of 2 points on relegated Bournemouth's corresponding results from last season.

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Update for the weekend just passed:

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The weekend began with Liverpool repeating last weekend's victory at Crystal Palace in emphatic fashion, meaning no change in differential for either side. Manchester City made their second 3 point profit of the season with victory at Southampton, moving Hassenhuttl's side into a negative differential. Everton's victory over Arsenal saw them improve by two points compared to last season to a score of +4 while Arsenal slide to -3. Newcastle's draw with Fulham marks a loss of 2 points compared to their home win over Norwich last season and sees them slip to a differential of -5. While Newcastle are 5 points down on last season, Fulham continue to improve on Norwich's drastic return last season, their latest 1 point gain taking them to a differential of +5.

Sunday started with more doom and gloom for Sheffield United. Having won at Brighton last season, even holding on for a spirited draw with ten men saw them drop two further points compared to the last campaign. Brighton would be disappointed to draw at home to ten men, but still improve their differential to +3. Leicester bagged a three point swing in their favour with victory at Tottenham, meaning that the two sides swap their differential scores of +4 and +7 respectively. Man Utd's home win over Leeds matches the same result against predecessors Bournemouth last season, meaning no change in score for either side this week. Aston Villa rounded off Sunday's action by taking what was at the time a joint lead in the standings, with victory at West Brom marking a three point gain compared to their loss at Watford last season. The Baggies have a lot of work to do from here, their latest defeat putting them 5 points down on relegated Watford's points tally from the same fixtures last season.

Monday saw Burnley kick off the action with a two point profit in their victory over Wolves, moving them closer to the breakeven point after a poor start to the season. Wolves swap scores with their opponents and slip down to -3. Chelsea's 3-0 win over West Ham yielded a three point profit for them and moves them back up to a strong differential of +8. The three point hit for West Ham sees Aston Villa now stand alone at the top of the standings with a score of +13.

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A few changes to the projected table see Man City close the gap to Liverpool down to 16 points. Leicester's victory over Tottenham creates a 6 point gap for them between 5th and 6th. Burnley and Everton are now tied in 8th with Arsenal on 53 points, with Wolves in 7th place just three points ahead of them. Southampton and West Ham slip back into the bottom half, Newcastle and Sheffield United are slipping tantalisingly close to the clutches of Leeds, while West Brom are now more at risk of slipping below Fulham to rock bottom than they are hopeful of moving closer to safety.

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Not picking holes, but without checking I'm 99.9% sure we didn't beat Norwich at home last season.

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1 minute ago, N U F C said:

Not picking holes, but without checking I'm 99.9% sure we didn't beat Norwich at home last season.

You're right. It is indeed a repeated result from last season. The numbers are right (both teams on the same differential as they were after the last set of fixtures) but my description was incorrect. Thanks for pointing out.

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Talk about thick and fast...

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Boxing Day began with a draw between Leicester and Man Utd, a 1 point profit for the hosts and a 2 point loss for the visitors who were unable to repeat their win from the last day of last season. Next up, Aston Villa had to repeat last season's home success over Crystal Palace to maintain their table-topping differential of +13 and did so despite being a man down. Fulham's draw with Southampton is a 1 point improvement on their predecessors Norwich in the same fixture last season and increase their season's total profit to 6 points. Southampton slip to a surprisingly low differential score of -5 having dropped another couple of points here. Arsenal's home win over Chelsea marks the only 3 point swing of the day and sees them return their differential score to a flat zero, while Lampard's side still have a very respectable score of +5 despite the loss of three points here and a lot of recent criticism. The evening games saw Man City and Everton repeat last season's wins over Newcastle and Sheffield United respectively, meaning that although the Blades remain winless, their differential doesn't take any further damage this time around. 

Yesterday's fixtures saw Leeds secure the second three point swing of the "Boxing Day" fixtures with a win over Burnley, who took all three points away to Bournemouth last season. Bielsa's men move to a differential of +5 compared to the side that finished 18th last season while the Clarets are knocked back onto -4 having come so close to making back their early season losses. West Ham missed the chance to close in on Aston Villa, their draw with Brighton a repeated result from last season. West Brom's late equaliser at Anfield saw them pick up a point that predecessors Watford were unable to get their hands on last season, while the 2 point hit for Liverpool means they're 8 points short of their tally from the same fixtures last season. Liverpool's maximum differential for the whole season is now only +2, unsurprising when you look at their points tally last season, but in order to achieve this positive differential they would now have to repeat all of their wins from last season as well as wins at Arsenal, Man Utd and West Brom (Watford) and at home to Burnley, the only four remaining fixtures they didn't win last season. Spurs also suffered a blow from a late corner. Saiss' equaliser denied Tottenham a repeat victory at Molyneux, and the two points dropped mean that Mourinho's side have almost lost all of the profits they built up over the first part of the season. Wolves improve their differential by a point to -2.

What does it mean for the projected table?

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With points gained at Southampton a few days ago and the leaders slipping up against West Brom, it's a profitable pair of games for Man City who narrow the gap to Liverpool to 14 points. Chelsea's 3 point hit at Arsenal also gives Guardiola's side breathing space below them. Leicester's improved result against Man Utd sees them move back above their opponents into the coveted 4th spot while Spurs are cut adrift for the time being. A 1 point profit for Wolves last night keeps their noses ahead of Arsenal in 7th. Back to back hits for Southampton sees them slide into the bottom half. Crystal Palace and Newcastle need to mobilise themselves as Leeds become the first newly-promoted side to make up enough points to climb out of the bottom three. Sheffield United are, inevitably, the victims after their terrible run while profits this time out for West Brom and Fulham will allow both sides to believe that the chase is on for them as well.

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Last update of 2020:

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A reduced set of fixtures due to The Rona still sees some interesting changes. Leicester were unable to reenact last season's victory at Selhurst Park, the draw with Crystal Palace seeing them drop to a differential of +6 while Hogdson's side halve their negative score to -1. Monday's only other fixture saw Chelsea take another two point hit as they were unable to beat Aston Villa to match their result from last season. A further point gained for Dean Smith's side sees them go into 2021 with a runaway lead in these standings, gaining 14 more points than they did last season in the same 14 fixtures.

Onto Tuesday, Arsenal secured back to back wins with success at Brighton and move into a positive differential following a second consecutive 3 point swing in their favour. Brighton are now unable to repeat the double they did over Arsenal last season, the 3 point hit here sees them knocked down to a neutral score. Burnley's home win over Sheffield United marks a two point improvement on their draw last season. More misery for the Blades sees them drop another point to a dismal differential of -19. Southampton lost at home to West Ham last season, meaning that this season's draw sees them profit by 1 point and West Ham slip a further couple of points back from leaders Aston Villa. West Brom vs Leeds is compared to Watford vs Bournemouth last season. The Hornets came out on top last season meaning that this result rewards leads with a 3 point profit that sees them rocket to 3rd in the differential table. Finally, Rashford's last gasp winning goal for Man Utd against Wolves sees the home side improve on last season's draw and gain 2 points. Wolves remain on a negative score, dropping to -3.

Wednesday's only game saw Liverpool fail to repeat last season's win at Newcastle. The 2 point hit makes Klopp's side the second to hit a negative differential in double figures, and means that even if they win every remaining league fixture this season, they can only achieve a maximum differential score of 0. Newcastle improve by a point but still sit on a differential of -4.

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Man City are the big winners again this midweek, as they avoided the hurdle of repeating last season's win at Everton. Their projected gap to Liverpool is down to 12 points having been as wide as 20 points earlier this month. Meanwhile, Chelsea's poor form has seen them slip away from what was a battle for 2nd place, and fall below in-form Man Utd into 4th. Leicester are still on the coat tails of the top 4 after their 2 point hit on Monday. Arsenal's last two results and a loss of form for Tottenham sees the North London rivals just 2 points apart now in the battle for 6th. West Ham's dropped points in recent games sees them slip below Aston Villa and Southampton. Leeds have created a six-point gap between themselves and the drop zone while Newcastle have scraped their way back to the 40 point mark. Sheffield United's points from last season continue to slip through their fingers while West Brom slide dangerously close to rock bottom.

 

As the end of the calendar year marks something of a milestone, below is a full breakdown of the fixtures that have been carried out and where each team has won and lost points compared to last season. Unplayed fixtures are currently filled in with a lighter shade of each colour representing the result from last season so that you can see where your team needs to "defend" results from last season and where they can make gains. You will probably have to click to enlarge.

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It's getting tasty...

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There were some significant changes this weekend, starting at Goodison Park where West Ham's 1-0 win reversed last season's defeat to Everton and restored the Hammers' positive differential to double figures. Everton's differential is chopped from +4 to +1. Man Utd also made gains on Friday night, their victory over Aston Villa at Old Trafford an improvement on last season's draw which sees them improve their score to +6. Villa remain on top of the differential table despite the loss of a point they scored last season on the road.

A goal-heavy Saturday started with Spurs' victory over Leeds, matching their home win over Bournemouth from last season, meaning that neither side sees a change to their differential scores this weekend. Crystal Palace moved back above the breakeven point with victory over Sheffield United, a game they lost at Selhurst Park last season. Another three-point hit for Sheffield United adds to the sorry state of their differential score. Brighton and Wolves exchanged six goals all in the name of repeating their draw on the South Coast from last season, so no changes for them. Finally, Arsenal's win at West Brom marks an improvement on their draw at Watford last season and improves their differential to an impressive +5. West Brom can't make any inroads yet as they bid to improve on Watford's points total en route to relegation last season, unlike their fellow newbies Leeds and Fulham.

With Fulham's trip to Burnley postponed on Sunday lunchtime, Leicester kicked off the afternoon's action with victory at St. James' Park yet again, meaning no change for any of these three sides or defeated Newcastle. Sunday's other game saw Man City secure their third 3-point gain on the road, this time at Stamford Bridge. Guardiola's men have now almost undone all of the damage done by their dropped points earlier in the season, while previous high-fliers Chelsea have now fallen to a neutral differential score following a poor run of results.

Monday's only game saw yet another three-point swing as Southampton defeated Liverpool 1-0. Liverpool's differential score falls to -13 and they have now officially dropped more points than they did in the whole of last season. Southampton's three point improvement sees them match Man City's rise from -4 to -1.

Here's what it means for the projected table:

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Just over two weeks ago, Liverpool were projected to win the title by 19 points if the remainder of this season's results matched those of last season. However, that lead has been cut to just 6 points after this perfect week for Manchester City where they gained 3 points and last season's champions dropped 3, highlighting that the title race really is back on. Man Utd will have to continue improving on last season's results to detach themselves from Leicester and Chelsea and get into the mix at the very top. Arsenal, surprisingly, are now on track to match the points tally of rivals Tottenham while the mid-table pack tightens up from Burnley down to Aston Villa. Brighton, Leeds and Newcastle saw their projected points tallies remain unchanged this week but another 3 point hit for Sheffield United and a lack of improvement from West Brom and Fulham means that a chasm is emerging between the bottom three and the rest of the league.

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Just the six games this midweek but we're back from the brief FA Cup break:

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The midweek action started with Sheffield United FINALLY making some profit, and a three point swing no less, victory over Newcastle marking a three point improvement on last season's defeat. Newcastle drop into the bottom three of the differential standings on a season-long low of -7. Every team in the league has now made both at least one gain and at least one loss of points following this result. Everton also secured a three-point swing of their own with victory at Molyneux while defeat for Wolves sees them slip into what is becoming a detached bottom five. Tuesday's other fixture saw Man Utd repeat last season's win at Turf Moor meaning no change for either them or Burnley.

Man City began Wednesday's action with a repeat result from last season, victory over Brighton keeping them within sight of a positive differential. Brighton are joined on a neutral differential score by Tottenham, whose home draw with Fulham marks a loss of two points compared to their victory over Norwich last season. Another point gained for Scott Parker's side sees them move up to joint 3rd on +7.

Thursday's only game saw no change for Arsenal or Crystal Palace as they played out another draw at the Emirates, matching their 2-2 stalemate from the end of last season.

As for the projected table:

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No change at the very top, but dropped points for Tottenham sees them drop below local rivals Arsenal for the first time this season. Everton move up to joint 7th, having inflicted three points of damage on their new neighbours Wolves at the same time as improving their own tally by the same amount. Differential leaders Aston Villa and West Ham are still set to finish four positions higher than last season without any fixture midweek. Sheffield United's three point improvement offers a glimmer of hope if they can begin to emulate last season's form, while their victims Newcastle slip below the 40-point mark for the first time and hover on the precipice of the bottom three. Fulham's latest one-point improvement on Norwich's efforts from last season finally sees them clear a small hurdle in the projected table as they draw level on points with West Brom.

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Another update...

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Saturday began with some much-needed profit for West Brom, their victory at Molyneux marking a full three-point improvement compared to their counterparts Watford last season, halving their negative differential to -3. A second consecutive 3-point hit for Wolves sees them slip closer to a double figure negative differential overall. Leeds fared less favourably in comparison to their corresponding relegation victims from last season. Defeat at home to Brighton the third time Leeds have lost a fixture won by Bournemouth last season, depleting their differential to +4 while Brighton move from a neutral score to +3 with this improved result on the road. West Ham's home victory over Burnley marks another 3-point swing in their favour, and sees them move back to the top of the differential scoreboard with Aston Villa not in action this week. Burnley's three point hit sees them slip back to -5 after getting close to the breakeven point over recent weeks. Chelsea's win at Craven Cottage matches their victory away to Norwich last season meaning no change for either them or Fulham, while Leicester's first home win over Southampton in several seasons was the last of four three-point profits made by teams during Saturday's fixtures, improving their differential to +9 while Southampton slip to -4.

Sunday's fixtures saw further changes, starting with Tottenham, who made their first profit in a few weeks by winning at Sheffield United, moving them from a neutral differential to +3. The hosts see their midweek profit against Newcastle cancelled out immediately here with their fifth three point loss of the season. Liverpool also dropped another 2 points as they were unable to match last season's victory over Manchester United at Anfield. Solskjaer's men move up to joint 4th with a differential of +7 after their latest 1 point gain. Man City finally managed to overcome their Palace-Etihad hoodoo, gaining 2 points with a comfortable victory that moves them into a positive differential for the first time since the opening weeks of the season, level with opponents Crystal Palace who see their positive differential halved after failing to repeat last season's point in Manchester.

Monday's only game saw Arsenal repeat last season's home win over Newcastle meaning that neither side's differential changes this week.

As for the projected table:

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Man City have been bearing down on Liverpool for weeks, and are now projected to finish just 2 points behind after making more gains this weekend. Manchester United still need to improve on a lot of last season's results if they want to seriously get into the title race conversation, but they do consolidate their top 4 credentials along with Leicester here. Tottenham's profitable win on Sunday sees them move back ahead of Arsenal. A damaging weekend for Wolves sees them drop into the bottom half below Everton and West Ham, the latter now projected to finish 7 places higher than they did last season. Burnley and Southampton also take some damage this week while Brighton's profit sees them pull further above the 40-point mark and level with rivals Crystal Palace. Leeds slip back below 40 points, but another poor week for Sheffield United keeps them 6 points clear of the drop zone. Fulham are cut adrift as dead last again following West Brom's successful weekend while Sheffield United are just 4 points from the bottom of the pile now having finished in the top half last season.

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Update for midweek games and Saturday's solo fixture...

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Tuesday saw differential leaders West Ham maintain top spot with a home victory over West Brom, matching the corresponding fixture against Watford last season. An away win here would have seen the Baggies go neutral but they stay on -3 for the time being. Tuesday's other home win saw Leicester make a 2 point improvement on their draw with Chelsea last season, moving into a double-figured positive differential. Despite the heat on Lampard, this result only sees Chelsea slip 1 point below a neutral differential score.

Man City kicked off Wednesday's action with a home win against Aston Villa, matching last season's result and resulting in no change for either side. Man Utd also maintain their status quo of +7 with victory at Fulham matching their result away to Norwich last season.

Thursday's only game saw Liverpool miss out on an opportunity to heal some of the damage done to their differential so far this season, having drawn with Burnley at Anfield last season. Instead, Dyche's men went one better and helped themselves to a 2 point profit with a 1-0 win. The Clarets still have work to do to make up their negative differential score while Liverpool's poor form marks a sharp contrast to the heights of last season, and at the halfway point of the season, they now find themselves 16 points short of their points tally from the same fixtures as last season.

The weekend's only fixture saw Aston Villa dispatch Newcastle at Villa Park, another repeat result from last season that keeps them just one point behind West Ham at the top of the standings.

Not too many changes to the projected table as most teams have now played half of their fixtures:

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Another -1 for Liverpool while Man City protect their 3 points against Aston Villa from last season sees the gap at the top reduced to a single point. More profit for Leicester sees them draw level on points with Manchester United, while the damage done to Chelsea suddenly opens up an 8 point gap between the top four and the rest of the league. Not much change in the rest of the top half, but Burnley sneak up into 10th place after victory over Liverpool. With only the Leicester-Chelsea and Liverpool-Burnley fixtures providing any impact on differential scores this week, the bottom half remains unchanged beyond Burnley's swap with Wolves.

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Another midweek update:

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Tuesday began with yet more profit for West Ham as they secured victory at Selhurst Park in a game they lost last season, moving them to an impressive score of +17 with half of the season still to come. This marks six games this season where West Ham have improved from a defeat last campaign to victory this time. The three point hit for Crystal Palace knocks them into the negatives. Leeds secured their 4th three point swing of the season compared to Bournemouth's 2019-20 campaign in the other early kick off, and their second against Newcastle, restoring their previous best differential of +7 while Newcastle's negative score moves into double figures. In the later kick-offs, Arsenal repeated last season's win at Southampton and Man City's victory at West Brom matches their result away to Watford last season, so these four sides see their scores remain unchanged this time out.

Aston Villa, long-time challengers for the leadership of the differential table this season, were dealt a blow at Turf Moor, taking 3 points of damage after losing in a fixture they won last season. Victory for the Clarets sees them conclude a lengthy journey back to a neutral differential score after a poor start to the season left them close to the bottom of the table. A new manager but more differential damage for Chelsea as they could only draw at home to Wolves, bagging 2 points less than they did last season. A point on the road that Santo's men didn't secure last season repairs a small part of the damage done to their score to date. The Brighton-Fulham game that nobody noticed was on this week saw Fulham continue their tradition of picking up draws where their predecessors Norwich lost last season. This is the 6th such 1-point profit for them but it all adds up and they improve to an overall differential score of +8 while Brighton slip from +3 to +1 after failing to secure a repeat victory. Leicester picked up a point at Goodison Park that they didn't achieve last season, moving their differential to a whopping +12 that sees them overtake Aston Villa in the standings to go 2nd. The loss of 2 points for Everton chops their positive differential score in half. Sheffield United's shock victory at Old Trafford sees them bag their second 3-point profit in three games and they now have Liverpool in their sights in their attempts to get off the bottom of the table. Man Utd still remain comfortably positive on +4 despite taking maximum damage this week.

Thursday's only fixture saw Liverpool complete the league double over Tottenham, but even results like this don't yield them a profit due to the imperious standards set last season. Spurs stay on +3 while Liverpool at least keep Sheffield United at bay by maintaining their current score.

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This week's results have seen quite a lot of change in the projected table. The top two remain separated by a point but Man Utd's loss and Leicester's gain sees the Foxes in a comfortable 3rd place now, and with an 11 point cushion to the teams outside the top four. Chelsea's total slips by a further couple of points and sees them slip into the clutches of Tottenham and Arsenal. West Ham are now projected to finish 8 places higher than last season and are now within sight of the lower reaches of the European spots. Everton slip back after dropping two points to Leicester while West Ham, Burnley and Wolves all improve around them. Southampton and Aston Villa currently hover in mid-table obscurity, a position that Brighton and Crystal Palace would love to be in as both slip to the brink of the 40-point mark. Leeds restore their previous highest projected total of 41 and are now 7 points clear of the drop zone where they started the season by default. Sheffield United have finally managed to arrest their tailspin towards what seemed like an inevitable 20th place finish, but victory over Man Utd and a simultaneous three point hit for Newcastle sees Wilder's side climb back out of the relegation zone. Speaking of the Magpies, they slip into the relegation zone for the first time this season after yet another defeat. West Brom are still waiting to see significant benefits from their managerial change and Fulham need to pick up the pace as well, their steady improvement over Norwich's dreadful performances last season still not enough to drag them off the bottom of the table.

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Got some catching up to do here, starting with the results from last weekend:

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Quite a few changes this time, with many of them mirroring results from earlier in the season. Saturday started with Newcastle taking three points from Goodison Park, two more than they managed last season. Everton take a 1 point hit here having drawn this fixture last season and now hover just above the breakeven point. Crystal Palace followed Newcastle in improving their draw from last season to a win at home to Wolves, returning to a neutral differential score while Santo's men slip into the bottom three on -9. Man City repeated their win over Sheffield United at the Etihad from last season to leave both sides where they started the weekend. The West Brom vs Fulham fixture was compared to last season's Watford-Norwich clash which ended in a home win. A draw this time therefore sees West Brom take a two point hit while Scott Parker's side pick up their 9th profitable result of the season compared to Norwich's relegation campaign. The only problem for them is that seven of these boosts have only been by a single point. Nonetheless, they remain competitive in the increasingly separate top five of the differential standings. The blockbuster tie between Arsenal and Man Utd on Saturday evening ended in a goalless draw, meaning that Arsenal lose 2 points and Man Utd gain 1 compared to last season's home win, cancelling out the profits and losses made in the reverse fixture earlier this season. Saturday concluded with Aston Villa taking their sixth 3-point swing of the season, victory at Southampton allowing them to boost their differential score to +13 and close in on West Ham in the process. The three point hit for Hassenhuttl's side sees them slip to a differential of -7.

Sunday kicked off with Chelsea repeating last season's win over Burnley in only the second fixture so far this weekend to repeat last season's outcome. Victory for Leeds at Leicester marks a three-point improvement over Bournemouth's defeat at the King Power last season and inflicts 3 points of damage on The Foxes, in complete symmetry to the reverse fixture at Elland Road earlier this season. Notably, this result sees Leeds move into positive double figures and overtake their opponents in the process. The gameweek ended without further fireworks as Liverpool's victory at West Ham and Brighton's conquest of Tottenham on home turf mark repeat results from 2019-20 and leave all four sides' differential scores unchanged.

Here's what it means for the projected table:

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Liverpool and Man City retain their status quo with Klopp's men still forecast to hang onto the title for now. Leicester and Man Utd are now tied in a league of their own in 3rd place, 11 points behind those above them and 8 points clear of the Europa League places. The race for the minor European places sees very little action this week with mid-table seeing a few fairly insignificant swaps, notably Aston Villa taking a position from Southampton after the two went head to head this weekend, and Leeds now projected to finish nearly 10 points clear of the drop zone. Newcastle's profit this week sees Sheffield United slip back into the bottom three, while Fulham have now managed to climb to the 30-point mark for the first time and off the bottom spot they inherited from Norwich.

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On to last week's midweek fixtures and some pretty massive results for both tables:

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Tuesday began with Sheffield United defeating West Brom at home in a vital relegation clash, the improvement on last season's draw with Watford marking a third significant profit for the Blades in fairly quick succession and puts them on their best differential score since before Christmas. They also move off the bottom for the first time since early in the season due partially to results elsewhere. Another one-point hit for West Brom increases the urgency with which the appointment of Allardyce needs to be felt sooner rather than later. Wolves secured a much-needed three point profit with victory over nine man Arsenal, the damage inflicted on the Gunners here seeing them chopped back down to a neutral differential. Man Utd bagged a two-point profit in emphatic fashion, putting nine goals past Southampton in a fixture they only drew at Old Trafford last season. Saints drop to a differential score of -8 now with some of their early season heroics becoming a distant memory. Victory for Crystal Palace at Newcastle sees them take a three-point profit as well on Tuesday night, reversing the damage done to them by Steve Bruce's side at Selhurst Park earlier in the campaign. Palace move into the green once again while Newcastle's net damages for the season move into double figures.

Wednesday began with Man City's victory at Turf Moor, matching last season's result. Guardiola's side are seeing very little profit despite their good form but only need to keep breaking even while their main rivals falter. The other early kick off saw Leicester win at Craven Cottage, improving by 3 points their result at Norwich last season. The Foxes return to the double figure club while Fulham are hit with a pretty devastating three point loss considering they've only won two league games all season. This is another fixture where away wins in both rounds have seen the two sides cancel out each other's 3 point profit/loss from earlier in the season. Everton's victory at Elland Road marks a three-point profit for them, having lost at Bournemouth last season, with opponents Leeds seeing their spell in the double figure profit club curtailed early. In the late kickoffs, West Ham laid down an emphatic marker at the top of the differential standings with victory at closest rivals Aston Villa. In what was always going to be a telling fixture with points up for grabs following their draw last season, it was West Ham who seized victory and improved their differential score to a scarcely believable +19 in January, whilst also inflicting a point of damage to their nearest rivals and opening up a 7-point lead. Finally, Liverpool's defeat at home to Brighton saw significant action at the other end of the differential table, a 3rd three-point hit to the defending champions seeing them drop to last place on a differential score of -19. The Seagulls enjoy a boost in the opposite direction and now sit on a score of +4.

Thursday's only fixture saw Tuchel face the unenviable task of having to repeat Chelsea's victory at Tottenham from last season, but a single first half goal was enough to see off Jose Mourinho's side and prevent further damage to Chelsea's differential score of -3.

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There is one very clear headline this week, and that is that for the first time, Liverpool are no longer projected to retain their title, even if they return to form enough to repeat all of the results they secured last season in the games that are left. Leicester move a point clear of Manchester United while West Ham overtake Arsenal to hit a new season-high projection of 7th place, highlighting their genuine opportunity to qualify for Europe next season. There isn't much going on in the middle either this week, although it is worth highlighting that Southampton have slipped to a pretty precarious 15th place in these projections, they still remain 11 points clear of the drop-zone. Sheffield United's return to form still has them on track to finish 17th despite falling short of 40 points. Fulham's setback this week sees their foray into 19th place last just a few days and it now looks like a major uphill struggle again for them to improve upon enough of Norwich's disastrous results last season to give themselves a fighting chance of survival.

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Finally bringing us back up to date:

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This weekend's games began with Aston Villa hosting Arsenal. The pressure was on the home side to repeat last season's victory and maintain their double figure score and they duly delivered. Arsenal remain on a neutral score as a result. Burnley and Brighton were next up, a fixture that resulted in an away win last season. This weekend's 1-1 draw sees Burnley move into a positive differential while Brighton's previous score of +4 is chopped in half. Newcastle took a vital win at home to Southampton, another repeat of last season's corresponding fixture meaning that they don't slip any further below -11, while Saints miss an opportunity to improve on their -8. West Ham dropped points for just the 4th time all season in their goalless draw at Craven Cottage, yielding them 2 points less than they took away from Norwich last season. Yet again, Fulham pick up a point where Norwich didn't last season and their differential score of +7 looks solid on face value, but it isn't enough when you take into account the Norwich campaign that you're comparing it to. Everton's late equaliser in the evening kick off at Old Trafford allowed them to repeat last season's draw and cost Man Utd the opportunity to improve to a differential of +9. 

Tottenham began Sunday's action by completing the league double over West Brom. As this is an improvement on their draw at home to Watford last season, Mourinho's side rise to a perhaps surprisingly high differential score of +5 while the Baggies sink to a worrying differential of -7, especially concerning when you remember that this compares to Watford's relegation season in 2019-20. The repeat of last season's goalless draw between Wolves and Leicester at Molyneux sees both sides breakeven this week. Next up was Man City's visit to Anfield, and an emphatic reversal of last season's defeat sees Man City lay down another marker in their pursuit of the title. Their differential improves to a season-high of +4 while Liverpool have now scored 22 points fewer than they achieved in the same fixtures last season. Finally, Chelsea's victory at Bramall Lane also marks a 3-point improvement for them, moving them back up to a neutral differential score for the first time under Tuchel, while Sheffield United remain hot on Liverpool's heels for the wooden spoon.

Monday's only game saw Leeds pick up their sixth three-point profit of the season with a home win over Crystal Palace. Hodgson's side return to a neutral differential score having failed to emulate last season's win at Bournemouth, while Bamford and co. move back into double figures at the sharp end of the table.

Here's what the projected table looks like now:

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Just one fixture after taking the lead in the projected table, the magnitude of Man City's win at Anfield is highlighted in their projected eight-point winning margin at the top of the table, with Liverpool now looking over their shoulders at Leicester and Manchester United. Chelsea are chipping away at the gap to the top four under new management, while West Ham's draw this time out means that positions 7 to 11 are covered by just 3 points in the battle for what's likely to be the final European qualification spot. Villa, Southampton, Leeds Palace and Brighton currently form a cluster of warm, safe mid-table obscurity, while further damage for Sheffield United makes it look increasingly like three from four in the battle for survival. Contrasting fortunes for Fulham and West Brom this weekend see them swap over at the bottom for the third week in a row but both sides are a long way from safety.

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An update for last weekend's games and the midweek fixtures that followed:

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The first game of the weekend saw Liverpool take yet more damage as their lead at Leicester was overturned. A fifth 3-point hit of the season sees them stay bottom with a score of -25 while Leicester improve to +15 and continue to sneak up on West Ham, particularly impressive to see Leicester mixing it at the top of these standings considering their points tally was already good enough last season to qualify for Europe compared to the other teams with positive double figures. Crystal Palace and Burnley were next up with an away win repeating last season's result and leaving both teams on or near neutral territory. Man City's comfortable win over Spurs marked an improvement on last season's draw at the Emirates and sees them overtake their opponents in the differential table with a new score of +6, while Spurs take a point of damage. Finally, Brighton and Aston Villa's 0-0 draw is a repeat of last season's stalemate on the South Coast meaning neither sees a change to their differential score and Aston Villa lose 2nd place to Leicester.

Sunday saw a couple of perhaps surprising repeat results, with Wolves' victory at Southampton among them in a game between two of the six sides with a significantly negative score. West Brom's creditable draw with Man Utd and the Hawthorns actually sees them lose ground as it is compared with Watford's win over Solskjaer's side last season. An extra point for Man Utd sees them improve to +8. Arsenal's home success over Leeds matches up with their victory against Bournemouth last season, while Fulham will be cursing Norwich's conquest of Goodison Park last season which means that despite a third win of the season coming over Everton, Scott Parker's men don't improve their differential score at all.

West Ham went into their Monday night fixture against Sheffield United already on top of the table, and made yet more headway as they improved on last season's draw with Chris Wilder's side with an emphatic 3-0 win. Another point of damage for the Blades keeps them in the hunt for the wooden spoon. Monday's other game saw Chelsea despatch Newcastle in a repeat result from last season, meaning no change to either side's differential score.

Midweek saw Burnley draw with Fulham, another single point improvement for Scott Parker's side over Norwich, who were beaten at Turf Moor last season. The loss of 2 points here saw Burnley's differential slip back below zero. Finally, Man City's win at Everton matches the corresponding fixture from last season, meaning that Ancelotti's men get away without damage to their differential score despite suffering two home defeats in a matter of days.

Here's what it means for the projected table:

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Man City continue to close in on the title, although they do still need to go to Leicester and repeat last season's success. A win for the Foxes in this game, who are now projected to finish 2nd, would see them close the gap in the projected table to just 4 points, all else being equal. Liverpool and Man Utd are now tied for 3rd place with a healthy cushion to keep them in the top four, although this is dependent on Liverpool repeating last season's heroics in enough of their remaining fixtures to get in the ball park of their projected total of 74 points. West Ham are just about holding the chasing pack at bay in their push for the final European spot. A natural gap still exists between Wolves in 11th and Aston Villa in 12th, while the gap between Brighton in 16th and the bottom four is an absolute chasm. Some dismal points tallies are projected for Sheffield United, Newcastle, Fulham and West Brom and it will take some serious improvement from more than one of those sides to trouble the likes of Brighton and Crystal Palace.

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Back up to date:

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Another Friday evening start for the Premier League came at Molyneux, where Wolves managed to edge out Leeds in a repeat of their victory over Bournemouth last season, leaving both sides' differential scores unchanged.

Saturday saw some more action from the off, as Chelsea's failure to repeat last season's victory at St. Mary's saw them take their first damage since Frank Lampard was sacked, slipping back into a negative score. The draw for Southampton improves their score from -8 to -7. West Brom's draw at Burnley marks the 7th occasion this season were they have improved on a result achieved by predecessors Watford last season. Unfortunately for them, 5 of these 7 have been single point profits, improving defeats to draws, and remain heavily outweighed by the 12 occasions that they have achieved worse results than the Hornets. The failure to repeat last season's home win sees Burnley slip by another 2 points onto a score of -3. Everton's long-awaited Anfield victory marked their 5th three-point profit of the season, all of these coming in away games. Ancelotti's side improve to a season-high score of +7 while Liverpool's downward spiral continues, Saturday marking the 11th occasion this season where they have taken either 2 or 3 points of damage by failing to win a fixture they won last season. Fulham's win at home to Sheffield United marks a significant result at the bottom of the table. A three-point improvement on Norwich's home defeat last year takes Fulham to a total profit of 11 points, while Sheffield United are hot on Liverpool's tail at the other end of the standings.

Sunday began with West Ham's win over Spurs. With Mourinho's side winning at the London Stadium last season, the three-point swing here sees West Ham break the 20 point mark at the top of the standings while Spurs have lost almost all of their early season profits and sit on a differential of +1. Leicester's win at Aston Villa marked the first of a series of repeated results on Sunday afternoon and sees both high-fliers' scores remain unchanged. The same can be said of Manchester City's latest success against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium and Man Utd's home win over Newcastle.

Monday's only game saw Crystal Palace retain their neutral differential score, Benteke's last minute goal allowing them to repeat last season's victory at Brighton, who miss the chance to improve their score of +2.

Leeds rounded off the latest set of fixtures with their 7th three-point profit of the season compared to Bournemouth's results last season, a record matched only by West Ham. Southampton's defeat at Elland Road sees them fail to repeat last season's win on the South Coast and become the fourth team to drop to a negative differential in double figures. Here's the projected table:

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As the weeks go by, this should get closer and closer to the actual final standings, and the weeks are running out for anyone to take the fight to Manchester City. Further damage for Liverpool sees them slip to 4th where they were previously level on points with Manchester United. West Ham's win over Tottenham sees the two sides swap positions and now has the Hammers finishing a whopping 10 places higher than last season's 16th place. Everton's good week sees them move level with Arsenal as the sides closest to breaking into the Europa League positions. Aston Villa and Leeds now sit 4 points ahead of the bottom seven and have their sights set on breaking the top half. Profit for Fulham at the expense of Sheffield United now has them just one point from escaping the bottom three, having been dead last a matter of weeks ago. Newcastle are in serious danger still, and West Brom need to do more than continue to chip away at Watford's poorer results from last season to give themselves a fighting chance.

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