Feature

How often do the Matchweek 8 leaders go on to win the title?

10 Oct 2023
Spurs

We look at how the table at this stage of the season usually compares with the final standings

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While these are still early days in the season, history suggests it is not too early for Tottenham Hotspur supporters to dare to dream.

Under Ange Postecoglou, Spurs have made their best ever start in the competition after eight matches, and they sit top of the table.

Enticingly for the north Londoners, of the 31 teams who have led the way at this stage of the campaign, 12 have gone on to lift the Premier League Trophy, a success rate of 39 per cent.

The title race

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
1 Man City MCI 38 +62 91
2 Arsenal ARS 38 +62 89
3 Liverpool LIV 38 +45 82
4 Aston Villa AVL 38 +15 68
5 Spurs TOT 38 +13 66
6 Chelsea CHE 38 +14 63
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The 2-2 draw against Arsenal and 2-1 win over Liverpool have shown Spurs' credentials, and Postecoglou is happy for the fans to imagine that their team could be the lucky 13th to stay the course over the remaining 30 Matchweeks.

Asked last month whether he should seek to manage supporters' expectations, he said: "No, no, no, let them go, let them enjoy it. I've said this before, my role is not to burst peoples' bubbles. Let them get excited and ahead of themselves, that's the beauty of being a supporter.

"They go through enough pain, let them enjoy and if they think we're going to be world-beaters, great, it's then up to us to match those expectations."

Hope for the chasing pack

Spurs' closest pursuers Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool will nonetheless feel confident that they can lift the trophy instead next May.

After all, more often than not, the team sitting top after eight Matchweeks have not ended up as the title-winners.

And the chasing pack all have more experience of being in this lofty position and challenging for the title than Spurs.

The Gunners battled with City for the trophy in 2022/23, while Liverpool were champions in 2019/20 and were last involved in a title race in 2021/22. Pep Guardiola's side have been crowned champions in each of the last three seasons.

What about the top four?

Even if neither Spurs nor Liverpool win the title, history shows they have a very good chance of securing the consolation prize of a top-four finish and a return to the UEFA Champions League, having failed to qualify last season.

Of the 124 teams who have been in the top four at this stage of the campaign, 83 have gone on to finish in one of those spots, or 67 per cent.

But the clubs sitting just outside those positions also have reason to remain optimistic.

Not since 2013/14 have ALL of the top four teams after Matchweek 8 also finished in those positions. History suggests that at least one of them will drop out, and allow a member of the chasing pack to force their way in.

Everything to play for in relegation battle

It has been a tough start for Burnley, AFC Bournemouth and Sheffield United as they sit in the relegation zone.

The Blades and the Cherries are yet to secure a win, while Burnley have only claimed one victory so far. 

The bottom six

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
15 Everton EVE 38 -11 40
16 Brentford BRE 38 -9 39
17 Nott'm Forest NFO 38 -18 32
18 Luton LUT 38 -33 26
19 Burnley BUR 38 -37 24
20 Sheffield Utd SHU 38 -69 16
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However, the trio should still feel positive about avoiding the drop.

Of the 94 teams to be in the bottom three at this stage of the season, only 46 have gone on to be relegated, or 49 per cent.

And only in 2004/05 have the bottom three clubs after Matchweek 8 all finished in those positions. This means that at least one of Vincent Kompany, Andoni Iraola or Paul Heckingbottom is likely to guide their team to safety.

While those sides that have started the season well have every reason to feel optimistic, with less than a quarter of the campaign completed there is also plenty of time for teams who have got off to a slow start to shape their own destiny.

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