Good news for Man United – six of the last eight Christmas Premiership leaders won the title

So which Premiership manager has Santa for good news for this year?

It could have been so much better for Fergie. Well if United had sneaked a winner against Swansea and Mike Dean ruled out Gareth Barry’s last minute winner for City against QPR. But the United boss still finds his team four points clear of City at Christmas and five clear of Chelsea (and that’s assuming they win both of their games in hand).

United have been here many items before and if recent years are anything to go by, come May it will be the Red half of Manchester that will be celebrating. If you look at the statistics below six times out of the last eight seasons the club that is top at Christmas has gone on to win the Premiership.

The two exceptions are Liverpool who were overtaken by United in 2008-09 and 2007-08 where Arsenal threw away a winning position and ended up in third. That was famously the season in which Eduardo suffered his crippling injury in a game against Birmingham City in February, an incident that apparently shocked the team so much they never really recovered.

If you delve further back in the Premiership the number of Christmas leaders who went on to win the title declines a little – just seven times out of last twelve seasons.

So can we rule out Chelsea as title contenders then? Well if you look at the season 2008-09 United weren’t even in the top three at Christmas but went on to scoop the title that May. So in theory you can’t rule out any of the four teams currently on 30 points – but they would be a very long shot.

So what do you think will have the most impact on the title race in the coming weeks? I think how quickly Vidic settles again at United and how much he shores up what still looks like a porous defence. Keeping Van Persie injury free would help too and Rooney needs to re-capture some of his old form. I wonder too if the 8-0 thrashing of Villa might energise Chelsea to the point where their incredibly strong squad starts to deliver on their promise.

As for fourth place Arsenal would appear to be favourites. They have a few winnable games on the bounce, will strengthen in January and have been there many times before. If Spurs or Everton find some consistency they could run them close.

Here are the Christmas and final tables for the last ten years.

2002-03
1. Arsenal 39
2. Chelsea 37
3. Man Utd 35

1. Man Utd 83
2. Arsenal 78
3. Newcastle 69

2003-04
1. Man Utd 40
2. Arsenal 39
3. Chelsea 39

1. Arsenal 90
2. Chelsea 79
3. Man Utd 75

2004-05
1. Chelsea 43
2. Arsenal 38
3. Everton 37

1. Chelsea 95
2. Arsenal 83
3. Man Utd 77

2005-06
1. Chelsea 46
2. Man Utd 37
3. Liverpool 31

1. Chelsea 91
2. Man Utd 83
3. Liverpool 82

2006-07
1. Man Utd 47
2. Chelsea 45
3. Liverpool 34

1. Man Utd 89
2. Chelsea 83
3. Liverpool 68

2007-08
1. Arsenal 43
2. Man Utd 42
3. Chelsea 37

1. Man Utd 87
2. Chelsea 85
3. Arsenal 83

2008-09
1. Liverpool 39
2. Chelsea 38
3. Aston Villa 34

1. Man Utd 90
2. Liverpool 86
3. Chelsea 83

2009-10
1. Chelsea 41
2. Man Utd 37
3. Arsenal 35

1. Chelsea 86
2. Man Utd 85
3. Arsenal 75

2010-11

1. Man Utd 34
2. Arsenal 32
3. Man City 32

1. Man Utd 80
2. Chelsea 71
3. Man City 71

2011-12
1. Man City 44
2. Man Utd 42
3. Spurs 35

1. Man City 89
2. Man Utd 89
3. Arsenal 70

2012-13
1. Man Utd 43
2. Man City 39
3. Chelsea 32

Pic PA

People dressed as Father Christmas take part in the Great Edinburgh Santa Run, at West Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, in aid of the When You Wish Upon A Star charity.






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Ashley

AshleyGood news for Man United – six of the last eight Christmas Premiership leaders won the title