By Tony Attwood
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A question was raised in the office: is the Premier League getting harder to win? And the, is it getting harder to get into the top four or into the Europa by coming sixth?
And then since we had started asking questions another popped up: are the bottom clubs finding it harder and harder to stay in the league?
None of us was quite sure, so we decided to make a little chart. It is actually a very simple chart but none of us could recall seeing it before.
It shows how many points team in certain positions got each year. (And a quick note – we didn’t use a super computer, as the media always claim, but never actually use. This was done on a DT47 calculator powered by sunlight.
So here are the number of points for clubs each season in four key positions.
So the answer is, that yes, from 2017 through to 2020 the number of points gained by the club winning the league was some way in excess of the number of points achieved in the previous four years.
Between 2017 and 2020 we had four successive seasons in which the top team got 93 points or more, whereas in the previous four years the number of winning points was in the 80s.
Then we wondered about fourth place. Here there was more consistency with just one outlier – 79 points to come fourth in 2014, but mostly the high 60s or low 70s would do it.
Sixth place was even more regular with for the most part something between 62 and 69 being sufficient.
So ok, what about the relegation clubs? How many points did the 18th get, while being relegated? The answer was between 24 and 37 over a nine-year period. Only last season with 28 points for the 18th team was the pattern broken.
As for this season it looks like the winners will achieve a number of points similar to that between 2017 and 2020. If the fourth-placed club gets around 72 points that again will be within the range of much of the last ten years.
Similar again for the sixth placed team – one would expect them to be in the mid-60s. And yes for the 18th team, again something similar to what we have seen in recent years.
So we can say, yes the Premier League is pretty much running along now as it was before. The one big change has been a move from clubs winning the league by getting 81 to 89 points to clubs winning the league between 93 and 100.
But the league is more static than changeable – at least for the moment.
Here’s the league table, just in case you have forgotten what it looks like…
So at the risk of looking incredibly silly, here’s our rough and ready projection of the final points total
One can but hope.
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