Manchester United’s performances in the last few seasons have a common trait – they have notoriously slow starts (by the standards of a club that has won 5 league titles in the last 10 seasons). Fans know it and dread it, but it seems that there’s statistical backing to the notion that teams playing Manchester United at the start of the season have a better chance of success than elsewhere during the season.
To quote Jonathon Wilson:
From the first six games [of the season], if points were distributed evenly, you’d expect teams to pick up 6/38 = 15.89% of the points they go on to win over the course of the season.
Manchester United’s performances in the opening half-dozen games of the season are weaker than might be expected. They may have collected 15 points from their first six games last year, but that is their best haul in the past decade, and in 2002-03 they collected only seven. Over the last 10 seasons, United have gathered only 13.8% of their total points in the first six games.
To be fair it’s not much (just a 2% difference), but it’s at least slightly easier than playing them at any other time during the season (except right after a Champions League away game maybe).
Read the full article: Does it matter whom you play first?