By Tony Attwood
Of course all projections and predictions include all sorts of assumptions and those I am using to consider what might happen between now and the end of the season are based on one giant assumption: that what has been happening of late, will continue until the end of the season.
But, having taken the train back home after the Leicester match, and been forced to listen to some extraordinarily boorish and rather childish behaviour from some Leicester fans who seemed to have a very limited grasp on normal everyday reality, I thought this morning I’d set such matters aside that try and do a bit of predicting.
First off I have taken a look at the league table after the weekend’s games and worked out the average points per game through the season up to this moment – an approach that is helpful to deal with Arsenal’s “games in hand” situation. Then in the normal way, this is rounded up or down into a whole number. For Arsenal, that number shows we are averaging two points per game across the season.
But the averages also show that in the last ten games Arsenal have actually averaged 2.5 points per game. So we are obviously still on the up.
The next step involves a big assumption, however: the assumption that for the remaining games all teams will maintain the points per game average that they achieved in the last 10 games. So we assume that Arsenal will get 2.5 points per game from now to the end of the season, on average.
Of course, there is no such thing as 2.5 points per game, but averaging this out over four games, for example, Arsenal would get 2.5 x 4, or 10 points. Which could indeed be achieved by three wins and one draw – which means that there is a link to reality.
This gives Arsenal30 points more points by the end of the season, to add to the 51 the club already has. And the same approach has been used for the other top clubs.
Thus in the table below…
- “Pts” is the points now,
- “PPG” is the points per game thus far.
- “Last 10 PPG” is the points per game in the last ten matches.
- The final “up/down” column tells us if the club is improving or declining of late.
Arsenal, as we can see is making the most improvement.
|Pos||Team||Pld||Pts||PPG||Last 10 PPG||Up / down|
|6||West Ham United||29||48||1.7||1.7||0|
End: that would give Arsenal a final total of 81 points one more than Chelsea.
|Pos||Team||Pld||Pts||PPG||Last 10 PPG||Up / down||Pts to end||Final pts|
|6||West Ham United||29||48||1.7||1.7||0||15||63|
And to put that into the issue of the final league table, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal go straight into the Champions League, while Chelsea go into the final knock out 3rd preliminary round for ending in the “fourth is not a trophy” position.
Manchester United and West Ham go into the Europa League. Wolverhampton Wanderers go into the Conference. Tottenham Hots get a holiday away from Europe – which is appropriate given that this year they were thrown out for refusing to complete their matches. (I wonder, did they get a further punishment for that? Probably not).
The number of English teams in Europe will be extended however if an English team wins any of the Champions League, Europa League or Europa Conference.
Obviously, this making predictions is just a bit of fun – a source of debate on the train on the way home, but there is a second point here and that is the issue of what Arsenal and other teams need to do in the summer transfer window.
In that regard the prime issue to remember is that aside from Arsenal’s extraordinary evolution since the opening three games of the season, the club has the youngest team in the league in terms of average age. So by and large we would expect many of the players to be improving.
Second, if we have a look at the actual league table rather than our “expected results” table above, what we can see is that top four is once again quite clearly Arsenal’s position. It would take quite a change in form of Arsenal and one of the teams below, for us to sink back down to the level of say Mancheseter United, West Ham, Wolverhampton, or God forbid, Tottenham Hots.
|6||West Ham United||29||14||6||9||48||36||12||48|
However, we are still sixth in terms of goals scored, fifth in terms of goals conceded and fourth in terms of goal difference across the season.
The question then is, have those figures been improving as the season continues, or are those all-season figures a true reflection of where we are. These are the sorts of questions that the management will be considering when thinking of player changes in the summer, and I’ll be trying to consider them in forthcoming articles, along with thoughts on reactions to Chelsea and Newcastle’s political situation.
If you have been, thank you for reading.