Who will be top of the league at the end of August?
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It’s a lot harder to predict who will be top after a month that it is to predict who will be celebrating come May. After all, last season Manchetsre Utd took just two points from their first three games but still claimed the title when all was said and done. So, the devilishly handsome folks at chickendinner have looked at all 20 teams, and by process of elimination determined who will end the month on top…
*Man United and Fulham are only playing twice in August, which means they’d be relying on everyone else losing one of their opening three to finish the month on top. We can write them off.
*Only one newly promoted team – Bolton in 2001-02 – have led the Premier League table at the end of August. Thank you for your interest West Brom, Stoke and Hull.
*Excluding Liverpool’s controversial Evans/Houllier partnership in 1998-99, the only newly appointed managers to take their team to top on August 31 were Mike Walker (Norwich, 1992-93) and Roy Hodgson (Blackburn 1997-98). It hasn’t happened since, which is ominous for Blackburn, Chelsea and Man City.
*For the last 11 seasons, the team that have topped the table at the end of August have come from either London or the North West, which is unlucky for Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Portsmouth and Sunderland.
*And Wigan can forget it. No team that has faced West Ham on the opening day of the Premier League has ended August on top. The bad news for West Ham is that they have only once topped the Premier League in 13 seasons and that was for a single day (22nd August 2006) when a kind fixture list allowed them to play their second game (v Watford) ahead of everyone else.
*Bye bye, Liverpool. No team that finished in fourth place the prior season before has ever ended August on top.
*And stop smirking, Everton. They are the only team from the top five never to have been top at the end of August.
*Those who have spotted Bolton still hanging around can breathe a sigh of relief. It has been six years since an English manager has ended the first month on top (Glenn Hoddle’s Tottenham).
*Which leaves us with North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham. In each of the last three seasons, the team topping the table at the end of August were the League Cup winners.
*So back Tottenham at 18.0 to end a first month comprising of away trips to Middlesborough and Chelsea (that record has to go sometime) and a home tie with Sunderland in pole position.
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