Tag Archives: Newcastle United

An image of Sunderland fans at Roker Park.

How many points do you need to avoid Premier League relegation?

Here we are, ‘Survival Sunday’, this decrepit season’s death rattle.

Either Hull City or Newcastle United will, come tea-time today, have secured their Premier League status for another year despite supporter boycotts, cocaine abuse and managers accusing players of getting themselves sent off deliberately.

Should they both lose, which is likely considering just how absolutely rancid these two teams are, Newcastle’s meagre 36 points will have proved just about enough.

Whereas managers once used to talk of ‘the 40-point mark’ as a some kind of life-giving panacea, it has been four years since a team needed so many to stay up (Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2010/11). Whisper it, but because of declining standards, the number of points needed to stay in Premier League has slowly fallen since the turn of the century.

How do you know that?

We took a look at the final league tables for each year since the division was reduced from a 42-game season to a 38-game season in 1995/96. This allowed us to calculate the probability of avoiding relegation for a series of points totals.

Remember, there are few certainties in football. This data is based simply on past Premier League seasons, none of which have been freak anomalies on the edge of mathematics with teams so bad they lose all but one or two games.

It should be noted that 64 points is the amount needed to absolutely guarantee safety in the division. A club could, however, potentially stay up on a total as low as 6.

So, how many points does a team need to probably stay up?

Probability of avoiding relegation per points total

First things first, no team since 1995/96 has stayed up with 30 points or less. There’s your minimum standard. In 2009/10, both Hull and Burnley were relegated with 30, ahead of a cash-strapped Portsmouth side who earned only 19.

If, next season, Newcastle’s owner Mike Ashley is particularly eager to pinch the pennies, history suggests he could only invest enough into his side to earn 31 points and still keep them up, but there would be a slim 5.26 per cent chance of success.

At the opposite end of the scale, West Ham United’s 2002/03 side, which slotted young talents like Joe Cole and Jermain Defoe alongside established performers in Paolo di Canio and Frédéric Kanouté did not do enough to stay up despite taking 42 points.

Somebody has to be the unlucky outlier in this dataset and, unfortunately for the Irons, it was them. Based on this information, a side that earns over the traditional target of 40 now has a very healthy 94.74 per cent chance of avoiding the drop.

The most interesting point to take from this information, however, is the jump from 36 points to 37. Whereas the former has only been enough to secure Premier League safety 44.74 per cent of the time, the latter offers a 68.42 per cent chance of survival – above two-thirds.

It might not be a round and even number but maybe 37 points is the new target that managers should aim for when facing a battle at the sharp end of the league table.

Featured image: Homes of Football (Wikipedia)


Is David Moyes the man for Newcastle United?


Given the level of vitriol fired at Alan Pardew in recent weeks, it seems as though Newcastle fans are finally reaching breaking point with Mike Ashley’s regime. Traditionally, when the pressure is ramped up on a regime, the fall guy ends up being the manager, so Pardew’s time might be numbered.

Since his departure from Manchester United, Moyes has been linked with various jobs around the Premier League, but suggestions he could end up at St. James’s Park have been consistent.

It’s understandable, given the job he did at Everton. Many would assume that a team like Newcastle would expect to finish consistently in upper mid-table, possibly pushing for Europe.

The problem with this interpretation is that this is not what Newcastle fans expect. Newcastle fans expect better, because of what they offer to the club – unwavering, unrelenting, unstinting support. I spent 3 years in the city, and the city’s passion for football is undoubtable. Newcastle consistently sell out their stadium, one of the five largest in the Premier League.

They have also, traditionally, respected high quality attacking football, something Moyes’s time at Man Utd showed he is not necessarily capable of. Time and again Man Utd failed to break down teams set out to defend. Moyes also succeeded at Everton by being conservative, picking up points when possible. He never really sent his team out to dominate a game.

A criticism that could be levelled at Pardew is his inability to get the best out of certain players, with the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa clearly struggling this season. Moyes, arguably, suffered from the same at Everton – look at the step forward their players have taken under Martinez when compared to Moyes. Players like Steven Naismith have suddenly found themselves capable of pushing for Champions League football.

Unlike Everton, Moyes would probably not benefit from a successful academy pumping out talent at a regular rate. No talent on the same level as Jack Rodwell or Ross Barkley has emerged from Newcastle’s academy in a generation. He may get more in the way of transfer budget, but again, hasn’t done wonders when given one at both Everton and Man Utd.

The transition from Pardew to Moyes would, in many ways, be sideways. Pardew has shown his capacity to hover around the 5th-9th mark relatively consistently. What Newcastle require is a step forward, a manager with a philosophy and a real ability to drag a team forward. Moyes is probably not that man.

Cabaye and Lille confirm Debuchy has signed for Newcastle

Yoann Cabaye, Newcastle’s midfield maestro, has confirmed on official Facebook that good friend and fellow French international Matthieu Debuchy has signed a contract for the struggling Premier League side.

Furthermore, on the official LOSC.fr website, LOSC have said that the directors of LOSC, “have agreed” to “Newcastle’s new offer”, which offers further official credence to what Cabaye has said .

Debuchy, one of the more impressive players from France’s European Championship campaign, will add defensive ability ahead of the questionably committed Danny Simpson at right back.

Cabaye will likely welcome the arrival of his former LOSC teammate, with whom he won Ligue 1 in 2011, amidst speculation about his own future on Tyneside. Debuchy’s arrival will hopefully reinvigorate what has been a stuttering Newcastle side so far this season.

Follow Amitai Winehouse on Twitter (@awinehouse1).