Thursday, January 1, 2015

The top top top top team

So, that happened. As Kirsten Schlewitz puts it, "So, uh..."...

Chelsea are top. On alphabetical order. 

Now, OK, I accept that something adminny has to kick in here when the points, GD, goals scored, conceded, etc etc are all equal, and as the ever-reasonable Simon Gleave points out, "I think you're looking at the wrong sport if you want creativity in this area."

But that doesn't mean we can't try. How to differentiate Chelsea and Manchester City in a way that reflects something they've actually done, rather than an accident of orthography? If this was happening in cyrillic, M beats Ч, after all.

There were some suggestions - for Schlewitz, it was goal sexinessBen Stanley suggested 'irritatingness' (I suspect he has no dog in this particular race) and Kevin Williams went with 'fragile Argentines'. All good suggestions, but the first two are a bit subjective - we all know that stats are the thing, so if we're not giving Opta this one to sort out based on pass completion rates and possession, it should still be something that can be measured. Number of Belgians? Variety of pies available? Paying non-playing staff the living wage? Number of wheelchair spaces? Homegrown players in starting XI? 

The obvious one - which French TV seemed to think was the actual reason, possibly because they were reading the LFP rules - was fair play rankings. It's a route into the Europa League, after all! And who doesn't want a route into the Europa League. Anyway. There is a table for that - although helpfully for the Premiership, this was last updated after 13 games, on 9 December. It also looks rather more complicated than the French version - I tried reading the explanation of the calculations but I'm ill and it makes the FIFA ranking calculations seem straightforward. 

So, as if to load on the excitement to a day that saw 33 goals scored across 10 games (actually nine - Aston Villa and Crystal Palace, take a long hard look at yourselves)...nobody is top. Both are top. It's a kind of Schrodinger's Cat situation in the Premiership table right now. And if there's a time and a place for metaphysical argument, it's clearly the day when most of football Twitter is getting over a massive hangover.

Well done everybody.