Trend shows Pellegrini's men hold all the aces
So who is best placed to win this season's English Premier League?
At the half-way point (19 games), a gap has developed between the top eight and the rest, so it's interesting to note how the table would look based exclusively on the results of games played between those eight (excluding last Wednesday's fixtures).
Manchester City under Manuel Pellegrini (above) would be runaway leaders with 18 points, followed by Everton (12), Arsenal (11), Newcastle (10), Chelsea (9), Liverpool (8), Manchester United (5) and Tottenham (4).
That table, however, doesn't exactly tell the whole story. Six of the seven games played by City against fellow top-eight sides have been played at home (they lost their single away trip to Chelsea) compared to Liverpool who have -- so far -- played just one of their seven at Anfield (defeating Manchester United).
More pertinent perhaps to look at the respective points hauls in those games played compared to results during the 2012/13 season.
Here the statistics show City with a dramatic nine-point improvement 18 (9), followed by Newcastle 10 (4), Everton 12 (7), Arsenal 11 (9) and Liverpool 8 (7). Most dramatic regression is United's harrowing 11-point fall 5 (16) followed, surprisingly, by Chelsea 9 (14) and Tottenham Hotspur 3 (7).
As for respective hauls likely to come from remaining top-eight fixtures, the 12/13 results would suggest -- City 13 points, Everton 12, Chelsea and Spurs 11 each, United 10, Arsenal 8, Liverpool 7 and Newcastle 4. Looks like City's title to lose, doesn't it?