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Half-way to Paradise? What exactly does it mean to be top of the league at the end of the year?

By Fishpie

So, 19 games gone.  The half-way mark has arrived.   And…we’re top of the league!! And what more can you ask for?

And you know what it means too, don’t you?

Well, it means we are now in the coveted position that eight of the last ten Premier League title-winning teams were in at this same point in the season before going on to lift the trophy; Chelsea (three times), United (four times) and City (once).

So hey, that’s an encouraging precedent.  But unfortunately you can’t rely on precedents in football can you?

Oh no, even at the most certain of times, you can’t ever bank on what’s gone before to continue to carry on unabated into the future.

This season especially, there has been some unexpected and weird shit going on. Quite a lot of what we were in the habit of seeing happen, didn’t happen. Everything seems to have shape shifted.

For instance, and most obviously, who would have predicted the imploding, total collapse of the devil’s machine that is Chelsea? And the departure of the devil’s angel himself?

Also, although some suggested the less fashionable teams, now endowed with significantly more TV money, might prove to be harder opposition than they had been previously, who would have predicted the rise and title-challenging form of the great Leicester City?

Furthermore, although some had speculated that Van Gall’s methodical style of football might not suit the expressive traditions of Man United, I’m not sure many of us had imagined we would witness the club going backwards quite to the degree it appears to have done under his tenure.

Certainly, Chelsea and Man United, being all out of sorts, have eliminated themselves completely from the title race and left the door wide open for others to take advantage.

So yes, this season so far, is proving to be an exception to the norms established during the previous ten.

This is reflected in some of the stats too.  Looking at the average of the last 10 seasons, the eventual champions, had, by the half-way stage, won 14 games, drawn 3 and lost 2, accumulating 45 points.

In contrast, this season sees Arsenal at the top with just 39 points, having won 12, drawn 3 and lost 4.

So, if Arsenal do go on to win the league, it will be from the lowest points tally achieved by a Champion team at the half-way stage of the season in the last 10 years.  Indeed, we would be the first team in the last 10 years to win the title having achieved less than 40 points by the half-way stage.

Eventual Premier League Champions: 1st half of the season performance.
05-06 Chelsea Top W17 D1 L1 52
06-07 United Top W15 D2 L2 47
07-08 United Top W14 D3 L2 45
08-09 United =2nd W12 D5 L2 41
09-10 Chelsea Top W13 D3 L3 42
10-11 United Top W11 D8 L0 41
11-12 City Top W14 D3 L2 45
12-13 United Top W15 D1 L3 46
13-14 City 2nd W13 D2 L4 41
14-15 Chelsea Top W14 D4 L1 46
15-16 Arsenal Top W12 D3 L4 39

 

So there’s a lot different in the way the season has panned out so far.   And Arsenal have worked hard to put themselves in a position to take advantage of that.

Yet some might argue, or worry, that we haven’t really been in championship form at all, not by the standards set by the previous 10 Champions at least.  To have been in true championship form, based on what’s gone before, we would have needed to have won 2 of the 4 games we’ve lost.

West Ham at home, or WBA or Southampton away were all entirely winnable on paper (even Chelsea, in retrospect, was too).

I acknowledge that West Ham, this season, have shown much greater form than recent Hammer’s teams, and we’ve had to deal with a depleted squad for the whole of the campaign so far but I feel, these defeats were largely of our own making with the traits of the Arsenal past resurfacing; switched off, ill disciplined and less than fully committed performances.

These kind of performances may have been be in the minority but, when you want to win the league, 4 of them, by the half-way stage, is normally not good.

Indeed, if you compare Arsenal’s 39 points tally by the half-way point this season with our average of the last 10 years (36 points) you might feel we have shown little progress this season at all.  In fact, in the last 10 years, there have been three occasions when we had obtained over 40 points by this stage and still failed to go on and win the league.

Arsenal at the half-way stage.
05-06 Sixth W10 D3 L6 33
06-07 Third W9 D6 L4 33
07-08 Second W13 D5 L1 44
08-09 Fifth W9 D5 L5 32
09-10 Third W13 D2 L4 41
10-11 Third W11 D3 L5 36
11-12 Fourth W11 D3 L5 36
12-13 Fifth W9 D6 L4 33
13-14 Top W13 D3 L3 42
14-15 Fifth W9 D6 L4 33
15-16 Top W12 D3 L4 39

But whatever reservations some of us may feel about the club’s injury record, or the team’s facility for losing to beatable teams or for not really yet showing the swagger or ruthlessness of true Champion contenders, the fact remains that we are top of the League, albeit on goal difference.

And that’s because, despite our squad injuries, we have actually done better than anyone else and we are, therefore, in a strong position to go on and fight for the title.

All things considered however, it is very unlikely at this point, that we will now be able to achieve the points tally the previous champions of the last 10 years had achieved on average, by the end of the season; 87 points. To do so means we would have to attain 48 points out of a possible 57 in the second half of the season to add to our current crop of 39.  And for the second half of the season, 48 points is actually quite a lot to get.

From the table below in fact, you can see that only one of the Champion teams of the last 10 years has attained more than 45 points in the second half of the season; Man United in 08/09, with 49.

Eventual Premier League Champions: 2nd half of the season performance
05-06 Chelsea Top W12 D3 L4 39
06-07 United Top W13 D3 L3 42
07-08 United Top W13 D3 L3 42
08-09 United Top W16 D1 L2 49
09-10 Chelsea Top W14 D2 L3 44
10-11 United Top W12 D3 L4 39
11-12 City Top W14 D2 L3 44
12-13 United Top W13 D4 L2 43
13-14 City Top W14 D3 L2 45
14-15 Chelsea Top W12 D5 L2 41

So looking at the very best we might realistically hope for, I could envisage us collecting another 43 points or so.

At home, I think it’s an achievable target to avoid defeat and win most of our remaining games; we have Leicester and Chelsea to visit us but all the other title contenders or big name clubs have already been to the Emirates.  So assuming 8 wins and 2 draws, that would give us a bedrock of 26 home points.

Our 9 game away schedule looks more daunting however, including visits to United, City, Spurs, Liverpool, West Ham and Stoke City.  We will do well to win 2, draw 2 and lose just 2 of those.  And if we also win our other 3 away games at Everton, Bournemouth and Sunderland, we will have collected 17 away points, totalling 43 points for the second half of the season.

And thus we would end the season with a haul of 82 points, providing, and its a big “providing”, we avoid another slip up in the Southampton and WBA mould.

A total of 82 points would have won the league just once in the past 10 years (in season 10/11 when United won it with 80 points) but this season, it might just be enough.  If most of the last 10 year precedents have less to offer us for this season, maybe, at least , that one does.

Leicester will have to match us to stay with us and Man City and Spurs will have to do even better than obtaining 43 points in the second half of the season to overtake us. Although they are all fine teams, I‘m not sure they can do that, anymore than we can.

So let the faith be with us.

And Arsene, maybe a couple of January signings will help too.

More from the anniversary files

  • 30 December 1995: Arsenal 1 Wimbledon 3.  One of the low points of the Rioch year, coming during a spell of one win in eight games.  Ian Wright scored in front of 37,640.
  • 30 December 2006.  Sheffield Utd 1 Arsenal 0.  Arsenal 7th league game of the month, and their only defeat.  The result left Arsenal in 5th place, 17 points behind the leaders.

From the History Society…    The 13th instalment of Arsenal in the 70s is now published…  July to Dec74. Flirting with relegation

25 comments to Half-way to Paradise? What exactly does it mean to be top of the league at the end of the year?

  • Kentetsu

    Interesting analyses.

    While 39 points in the first half of the season is historically low, there are two teams in the past ten years who gained 39 points in the second half and were still crowned champions – Chelsea in 05-06, and United in 10-11. Chelsea after an extraordinary first half season, but United after a fairly unimpressive first half. If we manage a good run in the second half, I’m sure we can come out on top.

    Additionally, the general consensus seems to be that this season a lower points tally is required for the champions as there seems to be stronger competition from the so-called weaker teams and no match is an easy 3 points. Again, it comes down to consistency.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    I still believe that with honest refereeing we would be on a minimum of 50 points and winning the league at a canter. The performance of the PGMO is by far he biggest “elephant in the room” when discussing how teams are doing. As an example from the last set of games Spurs being granted a win thanks to a clearly offside player not being flagged. I’m sure that we will continue to see the agenda to ensure that the media darlings remain at the top of the table for as long as possible.

  • Josif

    Very nice analysis, Fishpie. 🙂

    So we play at home against Newcastle, Chelsea, Southampton, Leicester, Swansea, Watford, West Brom, Crystal Palace, Norwich and Aston Villa.

    Winning all of those shouldn’t be a tall order for our team even if we take factors Barcelona and FA Cup into account. So, that’s 30 points out of 30.

    Away from home we have Klopp’s Liverpool that look better when the pressure is off (a draw), Hughes’ Stokelona that have found the rhytm (a defeat), Bournemouth that should be beaten once more (a victory), Manchester United that will eventually come good if they leave their manager to do his job (a victory), Tottenham that look like a decent team oiled by the refs (a draw), Everton with an exciting attack and a disastrous defence (a draw), West Ham that will have Payet back for the game against us (a victory – we owe them one), a hapless Sunderland (a victory) and our main rivals Man City (a defeat). So, four victories, three draws and two defeats. 19 points.

    That would be 88 in total.

    Add possible slips (e.g. draws at OT and Boleyn Ground), it’s 84. In order to leap-frog us, City would have to collect 48 points. With their appalling away form and Kompany’s injury, I highly doubt. They have less landmines to visit, true, but visiting Klopp who has already Gegenpressinged them into pieces, Chelsea who can take points off them and West Ham who have already hammered City, means they are likely to spill points across the league.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    @Fishpie, you’ve correctly hit the nail on it’s head in the closing paragraph of your article as you said, let the Boss make a couple of signings to reinforce his squad for the onslaught in the 2nd half of this season campaign.

    By your own calculations, 82 points total should win the League for us. But I say this can be dangerous if the Gunners fall-in to that thought and buy it. Leicester City have surprised us beyond beliefs. So, we are now taking them seriously as title challengers if they can keep Vardy & Marehz in striking top form in the 2nd half of the campaign, they should finish in the top 4.

    I would have personally loved Arsenal to get upto a total of 51 points in this upcoming 2nd half BPL season campaign that begins on Saturday with a game against Newcastle Utd at the Ems. Arsenal can collect 51 points from the total 57 points that will be on offer if they have the belief they can do it to finally lift the BPL trophy after collecting a final total 90 points.

    Can Arsenal remain unbeaten in all competitions in the 2nd of the season campaign, and lift all the 3 trophies that will be offered to them to lift? Yes, they can. Why not?

    If only the Boss will agree to sign a top versatile specialist striker to edequately enhanced his striker position for cover and option, which to me is short due to the lack of availability of versatile specialist striker Welbeck as Walcott is seemingly moved to the mid-3 front, I think Arsenal will go a long way in collecting the 90 points that guaranteed the winning of the BPL title.

    @Andrews Crawshaw, I am totally in agreement with your thought that Arsenal can collect up to 50 points or even just above that to qualityly won this season’s Barclays Premier League title. But that if the Boss, is the problem to overcome. He is looking to add quality to his midfield-base. But how about him adding quality to the Gunners’ striker position too to upgrade the already quality that is there for efficient January campaign during this coming 2nd half campaign. So that no ground will loss results-wise, during the entire course of the season campaign.

  • Jambug

    Josif

    When you put it like that, all I can say is, get the parade sorted Ivan !!!

    Alas, being as I am I think that may be tempting fate. I see Devils in every game.

    COYG

  • nicky

    I have held this view for many a year and see no reason to change it.
    Our progress in this and other seasons of the EPL, depends on the size of our sick list, coupled with the ability of those players still on their feet, to cope with the missing.
    As we hover around top place, with money available, we are in a strong position to strengthen the first team during the January Transfer Window, always provided that the required player or players are available and we have the will to pursue them.
    Whatever the reasons for our above average long-term injury list, the fact remains that the absence of key players continues to have a serious effect on our ability to achieve ultimate greatness on both the domestic AND European scenes. 😉

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    @Fishpie, you’ve correctly hit the nail on it’s head in the closing paragraph of your article as you said, let the Boss make a couple of signings to reinforce his squad for the onslaught in the 2nd half of this season campaign.

    By your own calculations, 82 points total should win the League for us. But I say this can be dangerous if the Gunners fall-in to that thought and buy it. Leicester City have surprised us beyond beliefs. So, we are now taking them seriously as title challengers if they can keep Vardy & Marehz in striking top form in the 2nd half of the campaign, they should finish in the top 4.

    I would have personally loved Arsenal to get upto a total of 51 points in this upcoming 2nd half BPL season campaign that begins on Saturday with a game against Newcastle Utd at the Ems. Arsenal can collect 51 points from the total 57 points that will be on offer if they have the belief they can do it to at the end lift the BPL trophy after collecting a final total 90 points.

    Can Arsenal remain unbeaten in all competitions in the 2nd half of the season campaign, and lift all the 3 trophies that will be offered to them to lift? Yes, they can. Why not?

    If only the Boss will agree to sign a top versatile specialist striker to edequately enhanced his striker position for cover and option, which to me is short due to the lack of availability of versatile specialist striker Welbeck as Walcott is seemingly moved to the mid-3 front, I think Arsenal will go a long way in collecting the 90 points that guaranteed the winning of the BPL title.

    @Andrews Crawshaw, I am totally in agreement with your thought that Arsenal can collect up to 50 points or even just above that to qualityly won this season’s Barclays Premier League title. But that if the Boss, is the problem to overcome. He is looking to add quality to his midfield-base. But how about him adding quality to the Gunners’ striker position too to upgrade the already quality that is there for efficient January campaign during this coming 2nd half campaign. So that no ground will be lost results-wise, during the entire course of the season campaign.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    @Fishpie, you’ve correctly hit the nail on it’s head in the closing paragraph of your article as you said, let the Boss make a couple of signings to reinforce his squad for the onslaught in the 2nd half of this season campaign.

    By your own calculations, 82 points total should win the League for us. But I say this can be dangerous if the Gunners fall-in to that thought and buy it. Leicester City have surprised us beyond beliefs. So, we are now taking them seriously as title challengers if they can keep Vardy & Marehz in striking top form in the 2nd half of the campaign, they should finish in the top 4.

    I would have personally loved Arsenal to get upto a total of 51 points in this upcoming 2nd half BPL season campaign that begins on Saturday with a game against Newcastle Utd at the Ems. Arsenal can collect 51 points from the total 57 points that will be on offer if they have the belief they can do it to at the end lift the BPL trophy after collecting a final total 90 points.

    Can Arsenal remain unbeaten in all competitions in the 2nd half of the season campaign, and lift all the 3 trophies that will be offered to them to lift? Yes, they can. Why not?

    If only the Boss will agree to sign a top versatile specialist striker to edequately enhanced his striker position for cover and option, which to me is short due to the lack of availability of versatile specialist striker Welbeck as Walcott is seemingly moved to the mid-3 front, I think Arsenal will go a long way in collecting the 90 points that guaranteed the winning of the BPL title.

    @Andrews Crawshaw, I am totally in agreement with your thought that Arsenal can collect up to 50 points or even just above that to qualityly won this season’s Barclays Premier League title. But that if the Boss, is the problem to overcome. He is looking to add quality to his midfield-base. But how about him adding quality to the Gunners’ striker position too to upgrade the already quality that is there for efficient January/February campaign during this coming 2nd half campaign? So that no ground will be lost results-wise, during the entire course of the season campaign.

  • Pat

    I think you are a bit hard on our team, Fishpie. You agree that refereeing was a significant factor in a couple of our losses, yet still use in my view unnecessarily harsh words for our performance.

    This is an unusual season in that top teams have had unexpected results. Arsene Wenger has already suggested that the premiership could be won with fewer points than usual for that reason.

    As he says, in every season there will be disappointments for the team. It is the response that matters and I have been very impressed by how we have immediately responded positively.

  • Andy Mack

    39 points means just one thing so far. Although it’s mathematically possible, it’s extremely unlikely we’ll be relegated.
    We now have 19 games to try to stay at the top of the PL.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Interesting analysis, think your suggested points total is realistic, and may well be enough, unless City have a barnstorming second half of the season, Leicester exceed all reasonable expectations, of Spurs get the gifts and luck they had in their last game, I would say all three of those are unlikely, with city the biggest threat.
    It all depends on getting key players back, avoiding too many further…..significant injuries ….maybe resting Ozil? ….and the pgmol giving us a level playing field….ok the last one is not going to happen.
    Wenger suggests he will be busy this Jan, I would never attempt to second guess him on transfers but let’s hope any new signings, if they are meant for the first team squad immediately, settle in quickly.

  • Fishpie

    Pat, yep, I agree, my language isn’t as generous as the team deserves. There have been some very good performances and great goals. No doubt. I’m proud of much of what we’ve done this season and possibly should reflect that more. However, I’m writing from the single minded perspective of trying to win the Prem and trying to be realistic and analytical about what the results and stats suggest about how we are doing and what it may take to accomplish it. But point taken.

  • bjtgooner

    Fishpie

    It’s not just a matter of your language not being as generous as the team deserves. It is a matter of recognising that in certain matches we were screwed by a totally incompetent PGMO. Further, even in the matches we won the playing field was usually tilted against us.

    Without that recognition your article is the poorer.

    Are you correct to eliminate the Manures from the title chase? After all, they were a poor team even before Red Nose retired – but won the league thanks to PGMO support!

  • The main point in the article is this:

    “Leicester will have to match us to stay with us and Man City and Spurs will have to do even better than obtaining 43 points in the second half of the season to overtake us. Although they are all fine teams, I‘m not sure they can do that, anymore than we can.”

    This is a season in which the bottom team from 12 months ago is now second only on goals difference while the team that led with 46 points at the same time now has only 20 and languishes in 14th position.

    My point?

    This isn’t a typical season and the usage of historical data for comparison isn’t going to work. This is why the pundits are all looking silly with their pontifications and inane predictions.

    Personally, I don’t give a fuck about the number of points we end the season with, I only care that we have more than the nearest rival or have better goals difference in case of a tie.

    I am making no predictions about the next 19 games, I just want Arsenal to collect enough to beat the rest. If we win the league with the lowest points in the history of the game, so be it.

    I must sound a note of caution on this topic, however.

    If we keep our position atop the league and our rivals keep screwing up, I expect to start hearing crap about how we’d be unworthy winners because of our point tally. This would be nothing but bunkum as Man City’s title won on goals difference has never been diminished on that count.

    Unfortunately for Arsenal, that will not be the case and even more sadly, our own fans would be at the fore-front of maligning the achievement for that reason.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Very true Bootoomee, if we win it, the league title could become a non trophy for the first time, just as the FA Cup has now been devalued by the media and some of our fans. Dread to think what they will do to the Champions league when we win it.

  • va Cong

    They will jump off a cliff Mandy life is no longer worth living…

  • Fishpie

    Bootoomee and Mandy. What I see, as my piece pretty much overtly says, is that this season is not panning out like the recent past seasons and any past precedants are less helpful. However, what I also see is that Chelsea and Man U have, to date, left the title chasing building, living room for some others. What I see is a number of so called “lesser” teams doing really well; e.g. Stoke, West Ham, Crystal Palace and especially Leicester. What I see is Arsenal doing a bit better than the past (results wise) but only a bit better. As it happens, a bit better is good enough so far and it puts us in the lead. Further evidence that we are only doing a bit better is that we haven’t dropped points to these improving “lesser” teams, we’ve dropped them instead to non-improving “lesser” teams or even struggling teams. A bit reminiscent of past seasons when we’ve lost points unnecessarily. I’m not making that up. It is the truth. I’m just being honest. Now, if we go on that way, dropping points to struggling teams, while other teams also do similar, and we still win the league, I will be deliriously happy because, like you Bootoomee, I don’t care how we do it, just as long as we do it. But if we really mean to make this title our own, the best way of doing it, is to find the kind of form that past Champion’s (including ourselves) have exhibited and find a higher level of consistancy. Whoever wins, under whatever circumstances will be worthy winners but I want Arsenal to be convincing and emphatic winners.

  • Fishpie

    sorry about typos in last post

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Among my hopes for the coming year is for us to match or better the chasing pack’s weekly scores . I will refrain from asking the Lord to rain fire and brimstone upon the other clubs – even if they deserve it !

    And as Nicky and the others say ,an injury free and fit squad to chose from , and to refresh when needed. And added , expanded and improved on/to if AW deems it so necessary .

    I really wouldn’t mind us wining the EPL with the lowest ever point tally . Most of the experts would have already had a fit or beeb rendered totally dumb . I meant dumbstruck – there were already totally dumb to start with !

    An investigation into the goings on at the PIGMOB , EPL , FA would be most welcome . This probably would be by the US authorities at the insistence of the Association of EPL American Owners /Majority Shareholders group. I hear GITMO has very low occupancy at present , although some FIFA and UEFA are will be sent there to ‘view’ the facilities .

    A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL THE FAITHFUL . UP THE GUNNERS !

  • Menace

    Jambug – the devils have been there in every game so far & will continue to blow their whistles to disturb the beautiful Arsenal game.

    We Gooners need to attend one home game with whistles (preferably one where Rileys appointee is a known unacceptable) & disturb the game to ensure worldwide media is aware of the PGMO cheats.

    Till then we have to continue to play against opponents that are allowed freedom to foul. Arsenal have been successful despite the cheats & we will prove beyond doubt that we can do it again.

    Wishing you all a Prosperous New Year in a peaceful world.

  • para

    Let them talk, “non trophy” indeed!
    We don’t care what they say or are saying when we win the PL, all we have to do is concentrate on the next challenge, the CL, where they will probably also spout the same type of nonsense.

    Every other club besides Chel$, Manc and ManU wish they were where Arsenal is now. PL football is really changing, teams are starting to take pride in playing good football and while watching games, i see many teams playing similar to Arsenal now.

    The heavy footed way of playing is being slowly erased with only the “diehards” and the “last resort” teams continuing to use those unfair and dangerous(injuries) ways in their games.

    I thought the fight at the bottom of the table would be so hot this year, for there is so much money to be lost next season by the 3 who go down. I am sure though it is hot hot hot in the Championship as they all want to ensure being in the top 3 this season.

  • Andy Mack

    Others will say that we’re too dependent on Ozil and although there’s a certain truth to that at the moment, when Alexis, Santi, Coquelin, Danny W & Jack get back and match fit then we’re nowhere near as dependent on him as Leicester are on Mahrez, Vardy and Kante, or as Spuddies are to Kane. With £70m of CB playing $iteh shouldn’t be effected as much as they are by Kompanys injury, and the same should be said about Aguero.
    So we’re not in a bad position but too many variables to make any firm predictions… IMO

  • ob1977

    Fishpie we list to West Ham one of the teams you mention as doing really well, then say we haven’t dropped points to the jester teams improving…

    I think it is easier just to agree with bootoome, I couldn’t give a flying pgmol flag how many points we amass this season as long as it is enough, we get criticised for dropping points against the lesser teams, Southampton included, who regardless of position is in no way a lesser team especially away from home, but we are top at the half way point, so everyone else has played the same teams and done worse…

    The main thing I am curious about is with reference to home or away matches against top sides, we have played majority at home so have obviously got a lot of away ones coming up, just wondering (will check in a minute) how many away matches against “top” sides the others have to come…

  • ob1977

    Hmmm think I meant lost instead of list, and lesser instead of jester, but that second one seems to work…

  • Gord

    Here we are at the halfway point, and some halfway analysis is in the medja. Can I add to it? 🙂

    5th place is currently Crystal Palace at 31 points. To repeat the second half as the first half, the easy guess is they finish with 62 points. Historically, they are in this pack that nominally runs from about 8th through 18th or 19th. And the midpoint of that pack is about 45 (48?) points at the end of season.

    If we subtract 24 (half of 48) from 31, we might say that Crystal Palace has an “excess” of 9 points from the first half. To come out with an average season, we might expect a deficit of 9 points from the second half, which would be 15 points. They would then finish with 46 points, bang on historical results. If instead of having the same amount of bad luck in the second half as they had good luck in the first half, maybe they revert to average luck and get 24 points. That would have them finish about 55 points, which would probably be good for about 8th.

    In any event, I don’t think they are worried about relegation.

    I think Aston Villa and Sunderland are toast. If they got back to average behavior and picked up 22 points, they are both still well below 40 points come the end of the season. If both started to get lucky like Crystal Palace, they are still likely in relegation trouble.

    If Chelsea carries on as they have been, they are just barely looking at 40 points. Recent history probably averages 28-32 points in half a season, which would put them well out of relegation problems. With their only being one more relegation spot to fight over, Things would probably have to get noticeably worse for them to get relegated this year.

    It looks like the top 6 or 7 is going to be really interesting this year. Leicester is punching higher than expected and the Spuds have clawed their way up to the top region, and they are both running respectable goal differences for the top of the table. On the basis of goal difference, I don’t think ManU is going to come back into the top 4 unless they figure out how to start scoring again. Or rather, unless they spend 100 million to buy themselves a world class striker. That is called “magic”. Looking at the full table, their problem is all about scoring (or the lack thereof).

    My prediction for the winter window, is ManU to break the bank and ManC to do nothing different than usual for them in this window.

    And I think there will be a fair amount of self-inflicted pressure on ourselves to stay ahead of the Spuds.