Often Partisan

Trapdoor pt II

Two and a half weeks ago, I posted this article about how I thought the relegation scrap might work out. One thing in particular I made clear was my long-held belief that this season thirty eight points would do for survival. Now we’re a bit further down the pike, and inspired by pieces like this one from the Telegraph, I thought I’d take another look.

One statistic that I think is worth highlighting straight away is that in the last five seasons, 12 of the 15 teams who have occupied the bottom three at the same point have gone down. With just four games left to get points from, it starts looking ominous if you’re in the drop-zone, and other team’s results become as important as your own. Thankfully, Blues are not in that position – despite our last two reverses we’d taken seven points from our previous three games and now we’re a little clear of the bottom five.

Another statistic I’m going to point out, is that the Telegraph have Wigan finishing 17th, with that magical points total of thirty eight points. Now, I have to question their methodology as somehow they think West Ham are going to take seven points from the final nine available, but the point remains that they’ve got the survival bar fixed at the same point I have. People have banged on about how close the relegation dogfight is this year, and surmised that it would see a much higher points total required for survival. Last time I posted about this, I showed how this was a mathematical fallacy – and again, I’m going to look to logic and maths rather than sentimentality to look at points needed for surviving the drop.

One thing that people talk about is how teams in the relegation zone will “go on a run” at the end of the season to save their skins. Now, I do actually agree with this – it does happen. However, for the relegation bar to be pushed above 40 points at least three teams in the bottom five will have to go on these runs – and this is where it falls down. I can see one team scoring a few and pulling themselves out of it, but three teams going on runs in the bottom five? Teams are that low in the division for a reason; the reason being that they’re not very good. Blues are in the position they are because we’ve been short in the attacking department (as usual), and have made too many mistakes in the defensive department (which isn’t usual). To expect teams at the bottom to go on a run because they “need the points” is sentimental, and in the cold hard world illogical.

I don’t trust predictors; as I said last time if I could accurately pick that many results I’d be making a fortune from the bookies. However, with four games to go I’d like to think I wouldn’t be too wildly inaccurate. I just tried it, and the bottom three were Blackpool in 20th with 34, Wigan in 19th with 35, and Wolves in 18th with 35; West Ham would escape relegation with 37, Blackburn with 39 and Blues would pick up four further points (1 against Wolves and 3 against Fulham) to finish 15th with 42. This would mean that my initial prediction I made months ago of 36 being enough to stay up would become accurate, but I distrust my own inherent biases (I put Blackpool to lose their remaining four games for instance) to stake my reputation on it.

In short; Blues are pretty much safe from the drop. A point against Wolves would be enough in my opinion to confirm that – more for the two points it would deny Wolves. I hope that it will become a mathematical certainty quickly enough to allow Eck and the board to discuss transfer targets so we hit the close-season running; I also hope that it will come quickly enough to allow us to play our last home game in a good atmosphere without the worry of having to look over our shoulders.

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One Response to “Trapdoor pt II”

  • Dan says:

    Hi there,

    I actually agree with your thought that we have a “good position” in this relagation fight, but in that respect I am pessimistic. As soon as we are not mathematically out of trouble I fear the worst.

    But what makes me slightly positive is the point that the teams below us have quite hard games coming up for them as well. Even if we don’t make any points anymore this season those teams are quite unlikely to get some too.

    As far as I am concerned a victory against Wolves and maybe a draw against Newcastle or Fulham could do the trick.

    Apart from this: very good blog to keep a Bluenose in Germany informed about his beloved team :)

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