Untold Arsenal on Facebook here
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
- Why is it becoming so difficult to find a sponsor for new football stadium?
- Corruption flares up again in Italy, as Premier League figures don’t look too clever
- How much does a club have to spend on transfers to get a trophy?
- Does the team that is top after 14 games usually go on to win the league?
- How the Taliban infiltrated the World Cup and used it to maintain its war on women