Writer: Galway Gooner
Date:Tuesday December 17 2013
Well we have a nice long rest now before the Chelsea game on Monday, an opportunity for the team to rest some very weary bones, to regroup and regain our focus for a simply vital game. Chelsea, under Jose, will always be a tough game for us but we shouldn`t go into the game with fear, this Chelsea side is only a pale imitation of the side of a few years back and they don`t have the mental strength nor the legs that they may have once had. A scout report on them will follow but just fill the time I`ve had a look at the table as it stands and also how it will shape up on current trends. Keep in mind that this is not to be taken as a prediction from me so don`t go putting your house on statistical trends to last for the season, its a bit of fun no more for someone who is obsessed with data.
Currently all teams have played 16 league games out of a 38 game schedule. Now while 16 games is not completely conclusive it is a pretty big sample size making up 42% of a complete league season. It will be interesting to see what changes in the numbers occur when we reach the half way point and everyone having played everyone else once (either home or away). But for now let`s deal with what we have.
Table below showing the current standings after 16 games, each teams points returned per game and what points tally they would finish on should they carry the same form over of the remaining 22 games of the season. (Simple maths here, we have 35 points after 16 games or an average of 2.19 points per game played. Trend this 2.19 out over 38 games and we get the 83)
Good news for us is that we finish a comfortable first, let`s crack open the champagne! You can see that while the league table is very close now over a bigger sample of games the gaps between the sides slowly grow. So while United, for example, are currently 10 points off first should all teams continue to form then they would finish a whopping 23 points behind first place! Is this likely? Well while we may not finish first I think that the gap between United and the eventually champions will be around this level.
Now let`s look at the race for the top 4. Over the past four seasons the average points required to finish in the top 4 has been 70 (73, 69, 68 and 70) and only once in the past 4 years has a total of 70 points not been enough to secure top four status. For the record that was last season when Spurs missed out of 4th by a single point (to us) despite hitting 72 points for the season.
Taking 70 points at the marker to hit we can look at where each team lies in relation to that marker and what they need to do to hit it.
As you can see in order to reach the 70 point mark, Arsenal need to average 1.59 points per game over the remaining 22 fixtures. Based on current performance we could allow ourselves a 27% drop in performance (or at least in points haul) and still hit the 70 point mark. Picking on poor old United again you can see that they need to increase their current return per game by a massive 31% in order to qualify for the Champions League and that my friends is a big ask, far from impossible but very tough none the less. The new man at Spurs will also require a significant increase in the clubs performance in order to reach their target for the season of Champions League qualification (despite much early season talking up their chances I think most Spurs fans have long since given up the ghost on the league title).
Speaking of the title the Champions have hit 86 points on average over the past 4 complete seasons. Interestingly no team is currently on target to hit that goal with ourselves on the top of the pile currently trending towards a final total of 83 and the past 2 title have both been delivered with 89 points but let`s assume that 86 is the golden mark the champions will eventually hit.
As no team is currently on target to hit the 86 total all teams need to improve, it`s now simply a question of by how much. Is there a further 6% increase in results from this Arsenal team? Can Man City find a further 23% improvement (made even harder as their home form is 100%), can Liverpool not only maintain their current performance but actually go a step better and grind out an extra 17% that should allow them to become champions?
Frighteningly for United they need to increase their current average point return from 1.56 a game to a whopping 2.77 in order to match last season`s title march. Put in perspective that type of form over a season would top 105 points and is a simply unachievable 77% increase in their current performance level. With only 42% of the season gone I`d say it`s as close to a statistical impossibility as possible that United will retain their crown. Sometimes you get numbers that buck the trend but not in this case.
Now I know there are countless variables involved in this. Teams can come into and out of form, players can pick up knocks and even referees can influence results. And while unfortunately for us, they do not hand out any league titles in December three points won in August is worth the exact same as three points won in March. The final tally is what teams are working towards, which may or may not involve going on an unbeaten run towards the end of the season. We were the most in form team in the league from March to May and that didn`t help us finish top did it.
Final table, (I`m obsessed with data I know I know) below shows each teams current average point haul over five games, and then what they need to reach every 5 games between now and the end of season to reach both the top 4 and also claim the title.
Ask yourself Gooners, is our team good enough to do this? 4 wins out of every 5 league games between now and the end should be enough for us. Can we look at our final 22 games and see 4-5 losses and the rest all wins (I`m ignoring draws purely for ease of calculation)? We have until now and Monday to figure it out. If we beat Chelsea not only does that improve our probability but it also reduces theirs. Fine lines I know but 4 wins out of ever y five games is doable.
It`s a big ask, but at the start of season all teams are asked the same question.
Only champions can answer it.
Date:Tuesday December 17 2013
Injury Update: Defender In, Defender Out (Friday April 18 2014)
Match Discussion - Hull City (a) (Friday April 18 2014)
So it's OK to dive sometimes? (Wednesday April 16 2014)
UNCONFIRMED - Arsenal vs West Ham Team News (Tuesday April 15 2014)
Injury News: Possibly Four Out, Maybe Two In (Tuesday April 15 2014)
Arsenal v West Ham United Match Preview (Monday April 14 2014)
Podolski Unhappy With His Role At Arsenal (Monday April 14 2014)
Match Discussion - West Ham (h) (Monday April 14 2014)
Why Aren`t Arsenal Allowed To Celebrate? (Sunday April 13 2014)
It's Hull City In The Final (Sunday April 13 2014)
|3. Man City||33||22||5||6||54||71|
|7. Man Utd||33||17||6||10||18||57|
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