The premiership getting tougher?
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.