Chelsea's dominance, England's defeat in Northern Ireland, Wayne Rooney's red mist - all topics that have attracted plenty of column inches in the early weeks of the new football season. But one issue has come to dominate above all others - is the English Premiership, usually considered the most exciting, entertaining league in Europe, now the most boring? The case for the prosecution is pretty strong. This has been the lowest-scoring start to a season in Premiership history, with just 112 goals from 56 matches, at an average of exactly two goals per game. Over the previous five seasons, the goal average over the first 56 games was 2.63, 2.89, 2.57, 2.52 and 2.89, which equates to another 30-50 goals scored compared to this season. To put those figures into further perspective, the average over an entire Premiership season is usually around 2.6 goals per game - as it is in Europe's other major leagues, Italy and Spain, while Germany often nudges an average of three goals per game. To reach that level this season, the Premiership average would have to rise dramatically, to 2.7 goals per game, from now on. The bad news doesn't stop there. Twelve Premiership games have been settled 1-0 so far and there have been eight goal-less draws - if those results are mirrored across the entire season, there would be 81 1-0s and 54 0-0s, up from 65 and 30 respectively last season. Another measure of the boredom factor is whether a match produces under or over 2.5 goals - the yardstick used in betting circles, with punters offered the choice of wagering on a high-scoring or low-scoring match. Of the 56 Premiership games so far, 37 have had under 2.5 goals and 19 have been over. That's a 66:34 percentage split towards low-scoring games, whereas the overall split last season was 55:45. Punters who spotted the trend early and bet across the board on low-scoring matches in the Premiership would have made a handsome 15 per cent profit by now. The Hong Kong Jockey Club's odds compilers have certainly reacted to the spate of low-scoring games in the Premiership. On the opening day of the season, the average odds on fewer than 2.5 goals was 1.77; last weekend, the average odds had contracted to 1.69. Even at those odds, there was still a 35 per cent profit to be made as eight of the 10 Premiership matches had fewer than 2.5 goals. Betting on a match to be low-scoring goes against the grain for most punters, however. Being an optimistic breed, they are inclined to bet on exciting, positive results. That is why the draw is such an unpopular bet, especially in this part of the world, and why the Asian handicap came into being to negate the effect of the draw on football wagers. The more optimistic punters may come into their own in the coming weeks, however, because long-term analysis of goal scoring trends shows that they are cyclical. A run of low-scoring games is rarely an indication that the trend will continue - as recently as December 2004, there was a similar run of 35 games with under 2.5 goals, from a total of 56 matches, but the next 56 games produced a more typical 50:50 split of high-scoring and low-scoring results. That shows how a sample of 56 games is too small to draw any hasty conclusions. Chances are that there will be a more even distribution of high-scoring and low-scoring matches by the end of this season, and it would be a surprise if the average goals per game was much below 2.5. As so often with betting, the wise policy for punters could be to bet against the current fashion, and not to get too carried away by recent headlines suggesting that the Premiership's character has changed for good. The odds on fewer than 2.5 goals in Premiership matches are almost certainly too short now, and it would be no surprise if gains couldn't be made in the next couple of months by betting over 2.5 goals. As for the 'most boring league in Europe' tag, that has to be reserved for France's Ligue 1. The first 79 games of this season produced just 155 goals, at an average of 1.96 per game.