United now firmly in second place — and red stripes tangle in mid table

Manchester United’s win at Arsenal, following hot on the heels of their equally impressive win at Watford, establishes United firmly in second place, now clearly above Chelsea in the alt-3 league table. Prior to this week, United’s relatively easy fixture list had enabled Chelsea to claim the 2nd spot, in our league table that coherently accounts for the strength of opposition that clubs have faced so far. But those two away wins for Man Utd in the last few days, both against highly placed opponents, have firmly re-established United’s credentials now as the main challengers to Manchester City.

Saints and Potters

The other main story in this week’s alt-3 table is about Southampton and Stoke City. Southampton have had the easiest fixture list of any Premier League club so far this season, and for that reason their current points total gives a false impression of the Saints’ league standing. The alt-3 table has Southampton down in 15th place at present — whereas in the standard table based on ‘points in the bag’ they appear in 11th place, narrowly ahead of Brighton on goal difference.

That 11th spot, in the alt-3 table, is now occupied instead by Stoke City who, despite having bagged one point less than Southampton and Brighton, have had a less easy ride in the fixtures faced so far this season.

So Stoke are not doing too badly, all things considered.

Southampton have a pretty hard run of fixtures to come, though, up to the end of 2017 — including a home game with Arsenal, and matches away at Chelsea, Tottenham and Man Utd.

Current alt-3 schedule-strength charts: