Imagine a world where West Ham joined Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United in the Premier League’s top four, Liverpool and Everton were lounging in the bottom half and Tottenham were mired in the relegation zone.
Confused? Let me explain.
These were the somewhat unexpected results when we decided to mark the imminent announcement of the 2013/14 fixtures by creating a table detailing the last ten opening fixtures played by each of this term’s 20 top-flight clubs.
Of course, no-one will be surprised to hear that Chelsea sit top of the pile with an impressive record of nine wins and one draw, or that Arsenal and Man Utd are nestled in behind them in second and third places respectively.
However, there were certainly some eyebrows raised at bwinbetting HQ when we realised that the Hammers could lay claim to fourth place, or that Liverpool are stuck down in 13th place having scored just nine opening-day goals since 2003.
And what can we say about Tottenham?
They may well consider themselves perennial Champions League contenders after four straight top-four finishes, but they are seemingly clueless when it comes to figuring out how to start the new season with a bang.
Spurs reside in 18th place in our table with just eight points accrued from their ten games and a paltry seven goals – indeed, no other 2013/14 Premier League team has been more toothless on opening weekends in the past decade.
It should be noted that the results have been taken from whichever division a team were competing in during a particular season, so the table is perhaps slightly skewed in favour of smaller clubs, especially those who have spent the least time in the top flight over the reporting period.
For instance, would Cardiff be in fifth place if they had managed to gain promotion ten years earlier and grimly hung on to their top-flight status ever since, in the style (for the most part) of someone like Fulham? Probably not.
But regardless of that small disclaimer, seeing Spurs in the bottom three, Everton hovering perilously above them and Liverpool hardly faring much better is not what you would expect from three of the league’s biggest and most established clubs.
And what’s more, the trends we have exposed here could shortly throw up some interesting betting angles when the fixture computer spits out its much-anticipated line-up for the first weekend of the new season.
Where did your team finish in the opening-day table of the decade? Find out below!
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