Often Partisan

Trap Door

How many points will guarantee Premiership safety this year? According to most pundits, 41, 42 or maybe 43 points will see Premiership clubs stay above the relegation trap door – higher than the oft-vaunted 40 points total most teams look at the start of the season. However, I believe this is wrong – I’ve said in the past 36 points would do it, and I’m still confident no more than 38 will be needed.

Looking at the table now, with the majority of clubs having played thirty two games, 18th spot is filled by West Ham with 32 points, and 19th placed Wolves also have 32 points. For safety to be as high as 42 points, this means that one of West Ham or Wolves must obtain ten points in the next six games – something that I think is probably beyond them. For instance, it could be said that if they were capable of obtaining so many points in such a short amount of time, they wouldn’t be in that position in the first place. I think a point per game here on in is about what you can expect a bottom three team to get without some extraordinary performances – which would take them to 38.

Just to try out my theory, I tried out extrapolating the current table by adding the points gained in the last six games to the totals now to obtain a final points total for each team. It’s nothing more than a bit of statistics, but that left 18th place as Sunderland – with 39 points. (19th would be Blackpool with 37, 20th Wigan with 36). Of course, this doesn’t take into account things like player form, teams playing against each other and a myriad of other variables – but what it does show is that with so many teams in the mixer scrapping for points, someone has got to fail and that will drop the points total down.

Every time I’ve used the excellent BBC predictor, I’ve ended up with the bottom three on no more than 35 points – but of course that takes into account my bias against certain teams; not to mention the fact that if I could accurately predict that many football games I’d be a billionaire having taken the bookies for a merry ride. That being said, I cannot see that many teams getting enough points to push the lowest points total too high – teams will take points off each other, and not everyone in the bottom seven or eight can pick up more than a point a game – it’s just not possible.

I think most people have missed a mathematical certainty. If a game ends with a winning score to one team, then that match yields three points to the victors. If a game ends as a draw, it yields a point to both teams – ie two points in all. Therefore a league full of games that finish as win/loss results will have a higher points per game yield than one that finishes with more draws. Whilst more draws means there is more chances of teams finish level on points, it follows that it must also mean that the average points score in the division will be lower as there will have been fewer total points scored. This season has seen a large amount of draws – larger than normal it seems – and whilst it’s meant that there is a massive scrap to avoid relegation, I cannot see that it will mean that every team above 17th will finish with above 42 points.

What does this mean for Blues? Well, it means people shouldn’t worry as much as they are. I sincerely believe a win against Wolves (which of course denies them points) and maybe a draw against Sunderland will see us remain in the top flight for another year. I hope come May 22nd I’m right.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials

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