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The premiership getting tougher?



I know we are only nearly a third of the way through but this does seem to be one of the most open premierships we've ever seen..

On one hand I can see relegation on the other a top five finish"

When the gap from 5th to 20th is just 9 points, everybody's immediate reaction is naturally that the league is closer than normal. With Every team that has played in the league longer than a year - and some that haven't even done that before - setting there sights on a top 10 finish, it would only be natural to assume that the league was tighter than usual. However no-one has come out claiming they can break into the "top 4". Yet. So it looks like they will be untouchable. Again.

However that is only one way of viewing things.

When the gap between 4th and bottom us just 10 points, and Arsenal just two points further ahead, it looks like it's anybodies game. Particularly when the Champions League is concerned. Teams like Wigan and Middlesbrough, who both finished well off the pace (14th and 13th) last season setting their sights on qualifying for Europe. Do we have better players than both those sides? Certainly 1. So qualifying for Europe this season will be a walk in the park compared to last season, when managers were fighting to stem back fans hopes of qualification.

Another argument is that at the same point last season, Pompey were 5 points better off than they are now - having already played all of the "top 4". Points must be harder to come by this season, as the Pompey team has only improved...

Once again though, there is more than one way of looking at it.

From the same fixtures last season, Pompey accumulated 10 fewer points than we have already - victories against Tottenham, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Everton all resulted in defeats last season, and the draw against Fulham was also a defeat last year. 2

However, whilst all that is interesting, it doesn't really tell us what Pompey will need for safety, and what we will need for Europe.

Last season, Fulham escaped the drop with just 36 points. The season before, it took Wigan 38 points. And before then, Pompey escaped with 38 points too. Assuming teams continue to pick up points at the current rate, it looks likely that 38 points will be the number required again - Wigan, in 17th, have picked up one point a game so far - as have spurs, Newcastle, and Sunderland.

For 7th place (and hopefully Europe), 58, 56, and 58 have all enough and Everton (currently 7th) are on course to make 57 points, so it looks likely that that will be the number again too - however 7th isn't a guarantee for getting into Europe, so it make's it a much safer bet to just win the FA cup again...

So in the end, it seems that competition for Europe will be tough - but the points required looks to be about the same as usual, and the relegation battle will also be tough - and with the "standard" 38 points required too. So whilst the league on face value looks all squashed up, the current 9 point gap between 5th and bottom is all set to increase to 30 points - a figure that once again has appeared - an almost identical number to when Watford were relegated.

So, statistically speaking, is the premiership getting tougher? Short answer: no.3

1 (despite what some Wigan fans said regarding Tony Adam's comments that he would rather be Pompey manager than Wigan manager)

2 Whilst the defeat's to Manchester United, and the draw with Aston Villa resulted in a draw and a loss

3 Although that's only statistically speaking... and that's just one way of looking at things... (coming soon...)

Written by pompeycarpet.

The views within this article are the views of the individual who wrote and submitted this piece, sometimes solely theirs. They are not necessarily shared by the Vital Pompey Site Journalists.

Join the Vital Pompey Debate
The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday November 12 2008

Time: 8:12AM

Your Comments

Great article Carpet. Personally I look at it from another way. Would a top four team such as Arsenal loose to Fulham, Stoke, and Hull - You would probably argue no suggesting that these teams are getting better. Where this season is the team looking to get relegated on the lowest ever points? What is the highest number of points that the bottom team has made?
sneakay
Carps, I don't have much experience with these things, but last year, we fell apart after Christmas (although we don't have the African Games this year) and I expect other teams will do the same and then it should open up a bit.
Gandor
Good article Rugster! Hope you're right Gandor, so far it's shaping up to be an exciting season for most teams, and mid-table obscurity might not even be an available option!
Tantona
Oops - credit due to Carpet!
Tantona
yes its close at the moment......and relegation candidates this season wont be evident until at least Feb or even March......
lincolnblue
And it always makes me laugh the way they have that advert at half time at FP about keeping your blood pressure down!!! Anyone with raised blood pressure should be banned from FP, it's probably worse than smoking.
hammersmithblue
Bottom club at christmas nearly always go down this could be a nearly season, or will it as Carpet said there are many way's to look at it?
pompeyyong
Stand back for Chixys predictable response....... "I don't care what other teams do, once we have 38 points I'll assess everything else from there"........ Good article Carps by the way....
Chix
it doesn't look like my footnotes came out very well... although I'm sure you can all work out where they all link to...
pompeycarpet
Yep the quickere we get to 38-40 pts the better. It could be very tight all the way & not the to clear cut 'til April.
storagematt
my initial target for us every season is 40 points, once we've got them i think about qualifying for Europe etc.
Steve C
 

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