I was driving to work the other morning listening to a podcast on the weekend's results, (which after 7 games played out of 38 have the two Manchester teams 5 points above the 3rd team in the league and a combined goal difference better than the rest of the league combined) when someone mentioned in passing that manchester united have yet to play a team in the top half of the league.

Now, the general feeling is that the 2017/18 premiership is between the two manchester teams, with Spurs and Chelsea playing for 3rd place and Arsenal and Liverpool hoping to squeeze into the top 4 and Champions League spots... the bookies odds are saying that, the table says as much, and most fans seem to be thinking that. So, is there any need to investigate this further?

Well, being of an analytical bent, with a soft spot for odds - I'm thinking we need a better way to view the table. If united have yet to play one top half team, then it's likely that their run so far is a lot less impressive than the current table would suggest. And maybe, just maybe it's possible Arsenal are doing just as well as them, when one looks deeper?? Stop talking nonsense I hear you say, you can only beat the teams you play in the order you have to play them... and with 19 points and goal difference of +19 compared to Arsenal with 13 and 3 respectively, then we're simply not at the races...

So, how could we come up with an odds adjusted table? Lets go back to the first Arsenal game of the season, that thrilling 4-3 win at home over Leicester. Now after much chewing of pencils and a little googling, with the help of oddsportal.com I've reached the conclusion that Arsenal had an expected points take of 2.22 from that game... Here's how I reached that: The Home win was 1.5, i.e. place £1 to win 50p, or if we divide 1 by the 1.5 we get a percentage of 66.7%, which in fairness sounds about right... we then multiply that win percentage by the 3 points a win is worth - giving us 2.0, and work out the odds for a draw (21.7% which gives expected points of 1 point for a draw * 22% = .22 points), add these two numbers together, 2.0 + .22 = 2.22 ---- so we had an odds adjusted first game expected points gain of 2.22, we ended with 3 points, so we beat the bookies by 0.78!

Now, you're probably feeling a little light headed, I know I am... tomorrow I intend to finish this calculation for Arsenal and United, and see how my new odds adjusted table looks... my strong feeling is the 'real' gap is not so different... given its the international break, which is tedious enough, hopefully the suspense won't kill you!!