I disagree with the idea that “we haven’t played the big teams yet and that means our position is false”. I admit, If you look at our results against the teams above us and contrast it with the results against the teams below us there’s a huge difference in points accumulated.
But this is flawed. There are teams far above us and teams far below us. Then there is a pack – who have thus far been differentiated by their head to head games.
There is nothing to suggest that we can’t get points from the teams far above us. And we have done alright against the teams far below us. Our worst results have come from the six pointers, who are currently (just) a few points ahead.
But we would be above any one of Blackburn, Villa, Portsmouth, or Livepool had we beaten them in our head to head game take 3 points off them before putting them on us…..or 1 point off in the case of Villa. Playing these teams again is an opportunity to progress – not something that we’ll be fearing of.
You can’t count any of those four teams as being above us and take it into account when considering our results against the “top teams.” This would be circular since they are only above us becasue of our individual result against them! It’s comparing results with league position -when those individual results dictated their and our respective league positions in the first place!
The only teams which are above us, which would still be above us despite a reversal of our head to head results are Everton, Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal.
Granted, we haven’t played two out of those five, but our results against those that we have played? Everton (W), Manchester City (L), Arsenal(D). Hardly terrible is it?
So we need to win the six-pointers in the second-half of the season to do really well. There’s nothing to suggest we aren’t good against the “top sides.”
The best team we’ve played is Arsenal and we drew. The worst is Derby and we lost. Therefore, given everything mentioned above, I don’t think we can just generalise and say we’re poor against the top sides and therefore will suffer in the second-half of the season.
Footnote – We will playing Derby again on Sunday and this one should be a game to win, or the rock-bottom team of the English Premier League will have the double against us, would not be a good record I think.