Liverpool still bottom, United improving, North London dominating

It’s the Premier League table that really counts – the one that compares this season’s results to last to give a reflection of where the division’s biggest improvers are and, more excitingly, see who’s making a right bollocks of it all.

We first did this after three games of the season because Liverpool were bottom and it is fun to have a Premier League table where Liverpool are bottom.

They’re still bottom so we’ve done it again after nine games or, in some cases, eight. Manchester United are less fun in this one than they were in the last one, and Arsenal are now top of this as well as the boring old real actual Premier League table, but you can’t have everything, can you?

Things look pretty rubbish for Villa, Wolves and Leicester, while West Ham can’t relax just yet either.


1. Arsenal +11
Crystal Palace (a): L3-0, W2-0
Leicester (h): W2-0, W4-2
Watford/Bournemouth (a): W3-2, W3-0
Burnley/Fulham (h): D0-0, W2-1
Aston Villa (h): W3-1, W2-1
Manchester United (a): L3-2, L3-1
Brentford (a): L2-0, W3-0
Tottenham (h): W3-1, W3-1
Liverpool (h): L2-0, W3-2

We speculated that it might take Arsenal a little while to hit top spot of this particular Premier League table because compared to others they had fewer points to ‘win’ and plenty to protect over the opening games. Turns out it didn’t take long at all. The cracking win over Liverpool was the third game Arsenal have won that they lost last season, and while the goalless draw at the Emirates against Burnley last season was no doubt very frustrating at the time, it did allow Arteta’s cheery band of inevitable runners-up to stick another two points on their total in this, the only Premier League table that really matters.


2. Tottenham +8
Southampton (h): L3-2, W4-1
Chelsea (a): L2-0, D2-2
Wolves (h): L2-0, W1-0
Norwich/Forest (a): W5-0, W2-0
West Ham (a): L1-0, D1-1
Burnley/Fulham (h): W1-0, W2-1
Leicester (h): W3-1, W6-2
Arsenal (a): L3-1, L3-1
Brighton (a): W2-0, W1-0

Turned zero points into seven from their first three games and have since then been mainly defending points successfully if not always entirely convincingly while snagging another point at the London Stadium. They now have the eight points they got off Manchester City and Liverpool last season covered off, which might well be handy, although their current policy of having Manchester City matches postponed has thus far paid off impressively. Certainly far better than their Arsenal-playing policy worked out anyway.


3. Manchester United +5
Brighton (h): W2-0, L2-1
Brentford (a) W3-1, L4-0
Liverpool (h) L5-0, W2-1
Southampton (a): D0-0, W1-0
Leicester (a): L4-2, W1-0
Arsenal (h): W3-2, W3-1
Manchester City (a): L4-1, L6-3
Everton (a): L1-0, W2-1

It’s a very decent recovery viewed through this prism, with the -6 from the first two games obliterated by a run of 15 points from six games that yielded just four last term. It’s a decent recovery through any prism, in fairness. Still, dragging themselves firmly into positive numbers after making literally the worst possible start is impressive, and successfully defending points against Arsenal already looks like a thing few teams will manage this season. Remember when United beating Liverpool felt like the most ludicrously absurd thing that could happen? Was only six weeks ago.


4. Newcastle +4 
Norwich/Forest (h): D1-1, W2-0
Brighton (a): D1-1, D0-0
Manchester City (h): L4-0, D3-3
Wolves (a): L2-1, D1-1
Liverpool (a): L3-1, L2-1
Crystal Palace (h): W1-0, D0-0
Watford/Bournemouth (h): D1-1, D1-1
Burnley/Fulham (a): W2-1, W4-1
Brentford (h): D3-3, W5-1

Logically Newcastle should end up real high in this Premier League table and it’s so far, so good. Failing to improve on a home draw with Watford thanks to a home draw with Bournemouth feels costly, though, as does dropping a couple of points – in real and comparative terms – against Palace. Very unlucky not to gain a point (again, real and comparative) at Liverpool. Sit above Brighton here on goal-difference swing: They’ve turned a -5 goal difference into +8, while the south-coast chancers have only managed to improve theirs by seven from -2 to +5, the idiots.


5. Brighton +4 
Man United (a): L2-0, W2-1
Newcastle (h): D1-1, D0-0
West Ham (a): D1-1, W2-0
Leeds (h): D0-0, W1-0
Burnley/Fulham (a): W2-1, L2-1
Leicester (h): W2-1, W5-2
Liverpool (a): D2-2, D3-3
Tottenham (h): L0-2, L0-1

Were actually seven points to the good after the first four games of the season, but defeat at Fulham wipes out three points taken at Burnley on the opening day of last season. Protected four points off Leicester and Liverpool in fine style but couldn’t improve on a home defeat to Tottenham, who are now responsible for Brighton’s last two defeats at the Amex.


6. Manchester City +3
West Ham (a): D2-2, W2-0
Watford/Bournemouth (h): W5-1, W4-0
Newcastle (a): W4-0, D3-3
Crystal Palace (h): L2-0, W4-2
Norwich/Forest (h): W5-0, W6-0
Aston Villa (a): W2-1, D1-1
Wolves (a): W5-1, W3-0
Manchester United (h): W4-1, W6-3
Southampton (h): D0-0, W4-0

Yeah, that’s a worry for Arsenal and everyone else. City have already overturned one of their three defeats from last season, and given that their best possible final score on this table before the season began was +21, any kind of positive number is going to spell trouble for anyone trying to overturn the chunky gaps from last season. Arsenal’s ‘perfect’ score, for instance, would have been +45. Put another way, if Arsenal are to DO A LEICESTER, they need to be at least 24 points ahead of City on this Premier League table when this accursed season finally finishes. Which we suppose technically they’re actually well on course to do having taken out a third of that total in around a quarter of the season. Forget everything we just said about two sentences ago – Arsenal are winning the league!


7. Leeds +2
Wolves (h): D1-1, W2-1
Southampton (a): L1-0, D2-2
Chelsea (h): L3-0, W3-0
Brighton (a): D0-0, L1-0
Everton (h): D2-2, D1-1
Brentford (a): W2-1, L5-2
Aston Villa (h): L3-0, D0-0
Crystal Palace (a): D0-0, L2-1

Leeds were second when we first did this after taking seven points from three games that yielded only one point last season. They’ve managed only two actual points since then, which is bad, and that’s in games that Leeds got six points in last season. So, they’re still just about in credit but the American Revolution isn’t looking quite as peachy as it did back in those daft far-off days of August.


8. Crystal Palace +1
Arsenal (h): W3-0, L2-0
Liverpool (a): L3-0, D1-1
Aston Villa (h): L2-1, W3-1
Manchester City (a): W2-0, L4-2
Brentford (h): D0-0, D1-1
Newcastle (a): L1-0, D0-0
Chelsea (h): L1-0, L2-1
Leeds (h): D0-0, W2-1

One of the teams for whom this Premier League table feels most relevant after a brutal run of fixtures – they had four of last season’s top five plus Newcastle in their first seven games – left a very good and fun Palace side in some strife in the real Premier League league table that, for all its cliched reputation for honesty, is very capable of spending the early weeks of the season chatting as much absolute shit as a government minister (little bit of politics). Not our Premier League table, though, where Palace are correctly considered to be doing absolutely fine. Which they are and will be.


9. Everton =
Chelsea (h): W1-0, L1-0
Aston Villa (a): L3-0, L2-1
Norwich/Forest (h) W2-0, D1-1
Brentford (a): L1-0, D1-1
Leeds (a): D2-2, D1-1
Liverpool (h): L4-1, D0-0
West Ham (h): L1-0, W1-0
Southampton (a): L2-0, W2-1
Manchester United (h): W1-0, L2-1

It’s topsy-turvy land for Frank Lampard’s Everton who have this season won none of the three games they did last season, but have won two of the five they lost. Throw in a bunch of draws that are for the most part improvements and FLE end up wiping their feet with 10 points. Given Everton ended up with just 39 points last season it’s reasonable to assume they would like and need to end the campaign doing a bit better than matching their 2021/22 totals, but they are at least back on course after going -5 through the first three games of the season.


10. Brentford -1
Leicester (a): L2-1, D2-2
Man United (h): L3-1, W4-0
Burnley/Fulham (a): L3-1, L3-2
Everton (h): W1-0, D1-1
Crystal Palace (a): D0-0, D1-1
Leeds (h): L2-1, W5-2
Arsenal (h): W2-0, L3-0
Watford/Bournemouth (a): W2-1, D0-0
Newcastle (a): D3-3, L5-1

It started so well. Two defeats turned into four points to start the season and a 1-0 win over Everton turning into a 1-1 draw is no great drama – especially when last year’s season-closing 2-1 home defeat to Leeds was being emphatically reversed by Ivan Toney and co. But their last three games, fixtures which brought seven points last season, have brought just one this time around. And a couple of fearful spanglings off Arsenal and Newcastle. It still all amounts to a net gain of one in the goal-difference-swing (GDS) calculations, which is comfortably enough to keep them above Chelsea, who are nine worse off in GDS than last season, thanks chiefly to turning a 6-0 win at Southampton into a 2-1 defeat. Careless of them.


11. Chelsea -1
Everton (a): L1-0, W1-0
Tottenham (h): W2-0, D2-2
Leeds (a) W3-0, L3-0
Leicester (h): D1-1, W2-1
Southampton (a): W6-0, L2-1
West Ham (h): W1-0, W2-1
Crystal Palace (a): W1-0, W2-1
Wolves (h): D2-2, W3-0

Nudging back towards parity since deciding pointy touchline whirligig Thomas Tuchel had gone just a touch too mad. It was harsh as hell, but there’s also no denying they look a better and less frazzled side since Graham Potter rocked up.


12. Southampton -4
Tottenham (a): W3-2, L4-1
Leeds (h): W1-0, D2-2
Leicester (a): L4-1, W2-1
Manchester United (h): D1-1, L1-0
Chelsea (h): L6-0, W2-1
Wolves (a): L3-1, L1-0
Aston Villa (a): L4-0, L1-0
Everton (h): W2-0, L2-1
Manchester City (a): D0-0, L4-0

The current four-match losing run has only cost them four points – and one of those was a draw at City that they can’t really have expected to defend after losing to drudgery-based trio Wolves, Villa and Everton – but it has entirely wiped out (and more) the most extreme of all this season’s current swings: turning a 6-0 defeat to Chelsea last season into a 2-1 victory this season. Of course, beating a team like Chelsea and then going on a four-match losing run is very on brand for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s low-key daft Southampton, and we kind of love them for it.


13. Aston Villa -6
Watford/Bournemouth (a): L3-2, L2-0
Everton (h): W3-0, W2-1
Crystal Palace (a): W2-1, L3-1
West Ham (h): L4-1, L1-0
Arsenal (a): L3-1, L2-1
Manchester City (h): L2-1, D1-1
Southampton (h): W4-0, W1-0
Leeds (a): W3-0, D0-0
Norwich/Forest (a): W2-0, D1-1

Villa won 13 games last season. Five of those fixtures have already come round again in the first nine games of this season, and this time Villa have won only two of them. Drawing at Forest looks particularly unacceptable given Villa have Chelsea, Newcastle and Man United coming up before the World Cup break and then Liverpool and Spurs immediately after it. When you only got 45 points last season, you don’t really want to be seeing a chunky negative number on this table. Steven Gerrard is in trouble.


14. West Ham -8
Manchester City (h): D2-2, L2-0
Norwich/Forest (a): W4-0, L1-0
Brighton (h): D1-1, L2-0
Aston Villa (a): W4-1, W1-0
Tottenham (h): W1-0, D1-1
Chelsea (a): L1-0, L2-1
Everton (a): W1-0, L1-0
Wolves (h): W1-0, W2-0
Burnley/Fulham (h): D1-1, W3-1

Back-to-back wins over Wolves and Fulham have earned West Ham six points and lifted them clear of trouble in the meaningless actual Premier League table but only bring two points to their score here and do little to stem the bleeding for the side with the heaviest workload of all this season thanks to all that Europa Conference malarkey.


15. Wolves -9
Leeds (a): D1-1, L2-1
Burnley/Fulham (h): D0-0, D0-0
Tottenham (a): W2-0, L1-0
Newcastle (h): W2-1, D1-1
Watford/Bournemouth (a): W2-0, D0-0
Southampton (h): W3-1, W1-0
Manchester City (h): L5-1, L3-0
West Ham (a): L1-0, L2-0
Chelsea (a): D2-2, L3-0

The numbers that did for Bruno Lage. Games that brought Wolves a very healthy 15 points and just two defeats last season have this season been a shitshow. Just one win, six points and really most alarmingly just three goals left Wolves deciding something must be done. Saturday’s home game with Forest is already looking very must-winnish, for both the real Premier League table and far more importantly this one. Victory would be worth two precious points with us after a 1-1 home draw against Norwich during that long petering-out stage Wolves had at the back end of last season that increasingly looks less like petering out and more like being revealed to be crud.


16. Leicester -11
Brentford (h): W2-1, D2-2
Arsenal (a): L2-0, L4-2
Southampton (h): W4-1, L2-1
Chelsea (a): D1-1, L2-1
Manchester United (h): W4-2, L1-0
Brighton (a): L2-1, L5-2
Tottenham (a): L3-1, L6-2
Norwich/Forest (h): W3-0, W4-0
Watford/Bournemouth (a): W5-1, L2-1

It is frankly remarkable that The Brendan remains in position after this disastrous start to the season, but we’re glad he is if only so we could hear him assert very Brendanly this week that he “doesn’t set targets” a mere month after declaring that Leicester’s target this season was 40 points. The good news there for beleaguered Leicester fans is that 40 points would equate to -12 on our Premier League table so you’re almost there. You just need to, you know, defend all the remaining points like you haven’t been thus far. Also on the plus side, at least the back-to-back thrashings at Brighton and Spurs damaged only goal difference. There you go, Foxes. You’re feeling better already, aren’t you


17. Liverpool -12
Burnley/Fulham (a): W1-0, D2-2
Crystal Palace (h): W3-0, D1-1
Manchester United (a): W5-0, L2-1
Watford/Bournemouth (h): W2-0, W9-0
Newcastle (h): W3-1, W2-1
Everton (a): W4-1, D0-0
Brighton (h): D2-2, D3-3
Arsenal (a): W2-0, L3-2

Missed a glorious chance to claw a couple of points back against Brighton and, with the full three points to defend in all their other games there was no margin for error for a team that has gone rubbish. Nice goal-difference boost from Bournemouth replacing Watford, but that’s not going to bring much cheer to a side that has now scored 56.25 per cent of its total goals for the season against either Bournemouth or Rangers (although this does drop to a mere 51.4 if you’re one of those absurd deviants who likes to include Community Shields on lists of major honours).

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