Note: To separate clubs that have improved the same amount, points taken is used.
Newcastle, Liverpool and Southampton were the most-improved sides in the Premier League in February, taking 3 more points from their 3 fixtures than they did last season. The Magpies turned a 3-0 defeat to Chelsea last season into a 3-2 win this time around, the Reds gained a point away at the Etihad and 2 more at home to Swansea, while the Saints recorded an impressive win against champions Manchester City.
8 teams took exactly the same number of points from their 3 fixtures last month as last season, with 5 clubs repeating the exact same results in each fixture. Arsenal and Tottenham took the maximum 9 points from their fixtures, dragging once-comfortable Chelsea – who took 3 points fewer than last season due to their defeat to Newcastle – into the battle for the Champions League places.
Everton’s hopes of a Champions League place dwindled further in February, with defeats at Old Trafford and Carrow Road seeing them take 2 points fewer from their fixtures than last season.
Of all the Premier League clubs, champions Manchester City deteriorated the most in February, taking 5 points fewer from their 3 fixtures than they did last season. With their inability to repeat wins at home to Liverpool and away at Southampton (they won 4-0 at Blackburn last season) coupled with Manchester United taking 2 more points than last season with their win against Everton, it could be argued that February was the month the title race died.
We can see how the results in February affect the overall improvement table below:
Swansea are the most-improved side in the Premier League, having taken 9 points more from their 27 fixtures so far than last season. This is all the more impressive when you consider that Michael Laudrup has achieved this with a net spend of -£10m (only Fulham have spent less this season).
Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool are the next most-improved sides, although considering they have been 3 of the biggest spenders in the Premier League this season, it can be argued that significant improvement was to be expected.
Arsenal and Newcastle remain at the bottom of the table, with significant improvement needed in the remaining few months if aims of Champions League and Europa League qualification are to be achieved.
As it stands
To show how clubs’ performances to date might impact on their final league position, if they were to repeat their results from last season in their remaining fixtures, the final Premier League table would look like this:
Note: To separate clubs on same amount of points, current league position is used.
Manchester United’s 2-point improvement in February means they are currently on course to regain the title with a Premier League record 96 points. Manchester City’s 5-point deterioration last month, meanwhile, means that they are on course to finish 13 points behind their arch-rivals, even if they repeat their win at Old Trafford in April.
Despite Chelsea taking 3 points fewer than last season from their 3 fixtures in February, both they and Tottenham are currently set to finish 13 points clear of any other challengers in the race for the Champions League places.
The fight to avoid the drop is currently set to go down to the wire, with only 2 points separating Wigan from 18th-placed Aston Villa. Despite their 3-point improvement in February, Southampton remain in the relegation zone, though this is based on Blackburn taking only 4 points from the Saint’s remaining 11 fixtures last season. Despite having only 17 points with 11 fixtures to go, QPR are still not completely out of the race, having taken 14 points from their remaining 11 fixtures last season.
To see how each club has performed over the course of the season so far, go to the ‘Season Comparison’ links at the top of the page and select a club from the drop-down menu.