It has been a turbulent first two months of the season for Manchester United and Arsenal. After all of one game, it was business as usual for the former (a 4-1 win away at the Liberty) and chaotic meltdown for the latter (a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Villa).
Five games later and the narrative has flip flopped. Arsenal lead the table and United are tied on points with Stoke. Three of United's games have been against possible title contenders, but Arsenal have faced just one in local rivals Spurs and strength of schedule issues are bound to be more keenly felt early in a campaign.
In this post I look at the impact of an unbalanced, short term fixture list as well as the impact of random variation over just six games and try to see how likely it is that United and Arsenal's core talent is little changed from the last campaign, despite the current 11 place gap between the sides.