Premier League after 12: Bournemouth and Chelsea have had it easy so far; West Ham and Wolves much less so.
The current alt-3 table shows the “real” Premier League standings after making proper adjustment for schedule strength (the mathematically coherent measure of relative difficulty for each team’s match-fixtures to date).
Some of the stories from the current table:
Tottenham Hotspur have actually done a bit better than Chelsea so far, once Chelsea’s markedly easier fixture list to date is taken into account. That puts Spurs in 3rd place right now, above Chelsea in 4th.
Wolverhampton Wanderers, having faced a relatively tough set of fixtures that leaves them (in effect) now with a bit more than a whole game in hand, have a slightly better record so far than all three of Watford, AFC Bournemouth and Leicester City — teams that are are placed higher in the official league table. That puts Wolves up at 8th in the alt-3 table, at this point (vs 11th in the official table that does not take schedule strength into account).
Bournemouth have had — by some distance — the easiest fixtures so far of any Premier League club. Their schedule-strength rating is −2.4, implying the opposite of “games in hand”: the Cherries are 2.4 matches “in debt”, at this point. That sees Bournemouth now placed 10th in the alt-3 table (as opposed to 6th in the official Premier League table, which makes no adjustment for for the relatively easy match-fixtures to date.)
A look at Bournemouth’s schedule-strength chart reveals that the Cherries face a formidably tough set of fixtures in their next 17 matches! By the time they have played Manchester City at home, 10 games into the second half of the season, Bournemouth’s schedule-strength rating is set to be as high as plus 2.5. In effect, then, those next 17 matches will provide Bournemouth with only the equivalent of around 12 “average” opportunities, in terms of what league points they can reasonably expect to accumulate through those matches.
Bournemouth’s fixtures this season not only saw them face the easiest first-quarter schedule of any club; they will also have the easiest last-quarter schedule, as things stand. The downside is that in that middle part of the season — between now and matchweek 29 — the Cherries face a very tough time indeed.
West Ham continue to hold the prize for the toughest match-fixtures so far. The Hammers’ schedule-strength rating is now +2.2, meaning that they have in effect a little over 2 games in hand. Unfortunately their nearest rivals, Brighton, also effectively have a game in hand, and so West Ham remain in 13th place even after adjusting for their tough fixtures to date.
To see any club’s schedule-strength chart, just click on the club name in the alt-3 league table.