Arsenal’s Theo Walcott believes that they “can compete for anything this season”. I read this yesterday on ESPN but it’s not the first time in the last few weeks that one of the Gunners claim that they can win any title. Just after defeating Manchester City 10 days ago, Aaron Ramsay said that they still can win the Premier League.
It’s good to see such optimism, but the truth is that they are 5th and they are 15 points away from Chelsea. I had a look to the Premier League historical data to find out if any team in the last few years won the competition having such a big gap at this point of the season. The answer is no…but some got pretty damn close.
In the season 1997-1998, after 22 games played, Manchester United was leading and Arsenal was 11 point away from the top. At the end of the season, Gunners won the League.
Two years earlier, in 1995-1996, a similar situation happened involving Manchester United and Newcastle, but this time the results was favourable for the Red Devils.
If you want to take a look to the data, I’ve put together a Tableau visualisation. I got the data from SoccerStats.com but I had some problems to order it. As not all the teams play at the same time, you will notice that the “matchday” table may have some variations in the number of matches. This happens because it only shows when the local team reaches the number of games played that you selected.