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Snooping Around League Table As We Start Second Half of Season

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Snooping Around League Table As We Start Second Half of Season

By Sammy The Snake

What a wonderful holiday season! Beating Chelsea with such style was a simple joy. The sun was shining bright on Tuesday & Wednesday, but then Thursday morning was a bit cloudy again. Damned Wigan… The clouds went away again when the Gunners beat B’ham handsomely.

Today, Uncle Sam’s gonne show you that he’s done some schooling, and that he can do numbers and charts!

Having crossed the middle of the season, it’s time to take a look and see where all teams stand. Since teams have played between 18 and 21 games, it’s most revealing to look at the “APPG” chart. This is a term made up by me to shorten “Average Points Per Game” (Total points earned divided by number of games played).

I’ve dived into the EPL archives and had a study of the final table for each season since its inception. The below chart is a summary of the average points record for the history of EPL:

  • Green Line: Required average points to be crowned champions
  • Blue Line: Minimum average points to end above the relegation zone
  • Bottom Box: Each season and its eventual champion

While the championship average for the history of EPL is 2.23, it ranges from a low of 1.97 recorded by ManU in 96/97 season, to a high of 2.50 by Chelsea in 04/05. That means a team can lose one out of each 4 games and still reach the summit, as long as they don’t draw games.

On the flip side of it, teams have survived the drop with as little as 34 points or 0.89 average points per game, while the highest required for safety was 1.14 in 94/95. Overall, the average points require to stay in EPL over the past 18 seasons has been 1.03. That’s only one point per game, which means a team could draw all their games, theoretically, and still avoid relegation.

Interestingly, though, the two lines in the chart are a mirror image of each other. In seasons that top teams scored high, lower teams survived with lower points. But the reverse is true as well: when top teams collected lower number of points, teams at the bottom earned more points!

This shows that some seasons are simply more competitive (like 97/98 or 02/03), whereas in some seasons the top teams dominate at the expense of lower teams (like 99/00 or 04/05). Through the years, Arsenal have become champions with 2.05 in 97/98, 2.29 in 01/02 and 2.37 in 03/04 (the unbeaten season), and I can’t draw any conclusions from that! It seems that we can excel in both sets of conditions.

Moving on to the present time, and the league table at the mid part of the season, the current APPG for teams is unlike any other term. While the top teams have failed to reach high levels, the lower teams aren’t collecting too many points either. A case of too many drawn games, I suspect. Eight teams have drawn 8 or more of their matches so far! That’s too many for my taste, and a sign of the close competition this year. Or is it lower standards?

ManU, while remaining unbeaten and sitting pretty on top of the league, have drawn too many games. Their 8 draws have dragged down their APPG to 2.16 from 19 games. Contrast this to our unbeaten season when our APPG was 2.37, and it’s clear that ManU are short of the standards required to become invincible. They’ve enjoyed a favorable fixture list till date, and must still face Chelsea twice, travel to Anfield and White Sh!t Lane, as well as a tasty visit to the Emirates on 30/Apr. Their away record is abysmal, having won only twice in 9 games! Their win on Saturday was so fortunate, so f@cking fortunate… Let’s not forget that ManU tend to improve in the second half of the season, and are good at taking advantage of a league when other top teams fail to dominate.

ManC stand tall with their 1.95 APPG on the 2nd spot, on same points with ManU but having played 2 extra games. It may be their best season ever, but that’s not good enough for winning it all. Sheikh Money-Tree may have to settle for a Champions League place… Amazing how hundreds of millions of cash can’t buy you a trophy! Question is, can another hundred million pounds spending in January improve their 2nd half performance?

Having stuttered on Wednesday night with a draw at DW stadium (F@cking ref! That wasn’t a penalty, but that other one was! You moron, got both decisions wrong!), Arsenal came back with a bang against B’Ham. We are 3rd with 1.95 APPG, same as ManC but somehow more promising. While I admit this is too low for a team challenging for trophies, we must keep in mind that we’ve already visited ManU, ManC, Chelsea and Liverpool. If we had beaten Wigan, our APPG would have been 2.05, which could have put us in a far more promising position. Well, life sucks… but there’s still some hope in such a weird season. Gunners must just do a bit better…

Tiny Tots (aka Sp@rs) are surprising themselves and everybody else by averaging 1.80 and occupying the 4th spot. While they may maintain their current position with a little push, they don’t seem to be shooting for the stars (sorry, ‘Arry!).

Limping towards the 5th spot are Chelsea. They recorded an APPG of 2.50 under Marinho in their 04/05 championship run, but are now averaging a mere 1.75 thanks partly to their slight win over Bolton and their embarrassing draw with the almost-dead (also known as Villa). I wonder if the Russian Mafia will soon get used to mid table existence, just like our friends at Liverpool. Shameful, but not surprising! Investing in short term goals can only get you short term results. This aging Chelsea needs a complete overhaul which is in direct opposition to Mr. Abro’s financial plans. Their new recruits are not up to scratch, meaning their scouting team sucks big time, so there’s little hope of a major turn-around with new imports in January.

Sunderland, Bolton & Stoke have been impressive, sitting 6th to 8th in the table. And that’s all I have to say about that!

What can you say about Liverpool? What a mess! Sitting pretty in mid table, in 9th position, the Kop are getting accustomed to mediocrity. They celebrated their win on Sunday as if they had won the Champions League. Away from home, they have won just once, but have lost 6 (yes, six) times! They’ve huffed, they’ve puffed, and their season has averages just 1.32 points per game. They have no one to blame but themselves, and their previous owners, of course!

Newcastle have beaten Wigan on Sunday, and they’ve elevated their position to 10th with 1.25 APPG. They’re safe for now, but will that be enough for their off-balance owner?

Blackpool are just behind Newcastle in the league table, but if you go by APPG, Blackpool would be in 7th position with a 1.39 average. They’ve only played 18 games, 3 less than some of their neighbors. Success for most mid table teams is mostly thanks to their managers and it will be interesting to see if they can keep it up. I certainly hope Blackpool will continue their relative good run, except against Arsenal of course!

Stumbling their way to the top ten are Blackburn and Everton, which is an achievement for the former and a somewhat disgrace for the later! I just don’t understand it when teams first fire their coach (Fat Sam in this case), and then think about who to appoint in his place. West Brom are behind Everton but on same APPG at 1.1. All these teams are just a few bad games away from the drop and they’ll be nervous in the coming weeks.

Shaking just above the relegation zone are Villa, West Ham, and Wigan, all averaging just about 1 point a game. It’s going to be a dog fight for all them till the end of the season and these teams (except Villa, I reckon) will give their all in every game. West Ham in particular are looking lively once again and Avram is showing he can do other things than drive teams to the Championship!

Fulham (just under 1 point a game) and B’ham (1 point a game precisely) are proudly occupying the top 2 relegation spots. Sparky has managed to turn a Europa League finalist into a Charlton Athletic. No wonder nobody wants to shake his hand!

Right at the bottom, and in real trouble now, Wolves are languishing with just 0.90 APPG, which is surely not good enough to stay around long in EPL. This is a wonderful way for teams to learn that playing rugby on a football pitch (Wolves & B’ham beware) is no way to collect points.

I’m not one for predictions, but I’ll say this… Anyone among the top 4 (OK, 5) who puts up a real fight (OK, just a fight) has a good chance (OK, some chance) to win it all, and I hope Fulham get what they deserve for appointing “him” as coach. You can put your money on that!

C’mon Gunners… We need our young lads to show their true colors. Red & white!

Happy New Year, my fellow Gooners,

Sammy The Snake

An index that is so untold you won’t be able to tell anything from it

An index of the players who played 100 or more times for Woolwich Arsenal

Not an index at all, but a book

17 comments to Snooping Around League Table As We Start Second Half of Season

  • Goonerman

    Getting knocked out of the CL against Barca will help us enormously to win the PL.

    Bring it on.

  • DogFace

    Nice chart skills – good article!

  • only1

    nice article, never expect Sammy to write like a statistician(not too sure if there is such word)…

    no offense, I ain’t a mathematicians nor a statistician..
    pls ignore if imm wrong..

    the APPG (winner) is the “Required average points to be crowned champions”.. i.e the number of points the champion scored in the year divided by 38.. so in 04/05, Chelsea had 95 points and thus, APPG of 2.5..

    Well, i thought this is not a good way to represent the average points needed to win the league, as one can score lower than that to win or avoid regulations. For instant in the same 04/05, Arsenal is second with 83 points. Thus, to win the league, Chelsea only needs 84 and above..

    So from my point of view, the APPG(winner) should be the points scored by the second place + 1.. (in 03/04, Cheski is second with 79 points, thus, the points needed to win the league is 80)

    That way, we can clearly see which team are historically not able to win or avoid regulation..

    But awesome analysis still Sammy~~

  • WalterBroeckx

    A very interesting article Sammy. I never looked at it that way. It looks to be a close call this season.
    One day written off, next day in contention and the day after that top of the table. And this goes for a few teams….

  • Mandy Dodd

    If we beat City, we have a run of…what should be ….winnable games. Momentum will be key.

  • gooner80

    IMO I think the likes of man U and chelsea have got weaker where as the other teams have got better from about 5fth place down there is really little between them and I think there has been teams like derby in previous seasons finishing with only 11 points meaning many teams took points off them.

    the prem haS got to be the most competitive.

    I personally think the likes of ronaldo and tevez dont want to play in this league because its so damn hard. if arsenal were in any other league over the past 10 years the amount of trophies we would have had but financial doping has cost us

    i have a feeling this is going to be a very low points total to win it and iwould aput money on it being below 80.

    man u may remain unbeaten but if they keep drawing they are like losses, if we won the prem and the remained unbeaten I would be happy

  • Tasos

    One other point which I believe to be relevant here;

    Arsenal, through the dubious fixing of the fixture list, have played five times away from home after an energy sapping CL midweek fixture, in the first half of this season.

    Not just any away games either, Sunderland(excellent at home this season), A Villa plus title rivals Chelsea, M City and finally Man U. Yet we have overcome that apparent (manufactured?) obstacle with all still to play for in the league.

    With more games to play at home than away and the scope for improvement huge within our squad, IMO, “It’s up for grabs now”.

  • DC

    Nice analysis Sammy!
    It does irritate me somewhat why so many people aren’t giving the so-called “lower teams” more deserved credit for how tight the league has become this year?!
    Could it possibly be because the KGB & ManUre have not actually weakened significantly but that teams are now getting-up for playing against them too, like they always do against us, rather than just rolling over as usual and having their bellys tickled by them?!

  • DC

    @Tasos,
    I agree and that’s why we’re looking so good on all fronts as long as we don’t pick up anymore injuries through bad lack or malicious thug football!!

  • critic

    @gooserman
    U call urself arsenal supporter?u moron….wenger is giving his life to arsenal to…errr…lose to barceloanus?so that he can win the pl?with such a large squad(although there’s no replacement for song)?

    We will beat farca and win pl.

  • ugandan goon

    well said DC,
    i remember a long and tedious argument with a chelsea supporter on that very point but this was back when some of the very best players on the planet played for chelsea, i met the guy about a month ago and lets just say he was moaning but still had the belief that they had the best players in the world…..the sky propaganda machine has a lot to answer for or rather there is one born a minute

  • DC

    Ugandan Goon,
    You’re right and I’ve long concluded that it’s a total waste of valuable time talking to these deluded individuals! It’s better, and sweeter, to just let things transpire naturally in front of their own eyes so that they see and have deal with the painful truth themselves!

  • gooner80

    @DC you are right to someextnent the lower teams go at them some what but surely you can not deny the likes of fergies friends always bend over for utd i wouldnt be surprised if stoke do the same thing again tonight.

    surely also you must recognise utd losing tevez and ronaldo has seriously weakened them same with chelsea they got rid of carvalho, ballack, cole, deco all in one season they are most def weaker so I would say the top has weakened and the bottom teams have become stronger and they have met in the middle and I wouldnt doubt that a big scalp will be relegated either this season or the next someone like villa, everton

  • trax

    nice write up.. i should say fantastic.. though I only read up to the analysis of the current top five team and the last paragraph.. ( sorry mate, been very tired and been off from the net for a week now and only have a couple of hours before going offline again)..

    but this is a really great article and I have to say YAY!!!

    I guess we have good chances and looking forward for a win against city and ManU.. oh you shouldn’t mention the other team from anfield, they are no longer a top4 and are a bunch of losers..

    We are realistically have the best chances yet to win The PL.. I really wish for the BPL crown and the Carling Cup.. and I do believe that our chance for CL and FA Cup are there for grabs..

    YAY

  • DC

    @Gooner 80,
    I agree with respect to some managers and teams still clearly showing that they are still in the pocket of Old Red Nose and his IOUers! One only needs to observe just how many former MIOU players are now managing sides in the EPL, and those managers, usually the British ones, that publicly suck-up to Ferguson in the media!
    Wrt to losing Ronaldo & Teves making them weaker, that has always, and will continue to, happen to ALL sides! The strength of a side is relative and we could rightly argue that if we still had Diarra, Eduardo, Flamini, Hleb, Adebayor, A.Cole, to but name just a few players that are still playing, then we’d be an equally stronger side! All sides lose major players for one reason or another so saying that “if they still had him, etc, etc” isn’t relevant and is very disrespectful to those still playing for that team and to those playing against them and performing very well! Look at Real Madrid in Spain; they’ve spent shed loads of money on arguably some of the best individual players, and manager, in the world but are they actually any better or closer to Barcelona than last year?!

  • gooner80

    @Dc

    I see your point but I believe some departures are significant and man u havent replaced tevez or ronaldo. Arsenal have departures but usually they are replaced or in most cases youth develops. man u havent done this and IMO have gone backwards and aging they cant afford to buy £30million centrebacks anymore and in all honestly I am amazed that they are top of the league or maybe not if corruption has given them the edge, my point being arsenal have a better first 11 and a better squad my fear is city cos I think they are going to do a chelsea and win trophies by financial doping

  • DC

    @Gooner80,
    I agree with you and only see Man City’s financial doping methods, perhaps with QPR not far around the corner, being our only rivals in the very near future. However, their mercenary ways too will be massively hampered by the new financial regulations. ManU & Chelsea’s geriatrics are certainly on the decline and mediocrity is rapidly approaching them! Happy days!!!