Tag Archives: Premier League

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)


@mjcritchley

The International Makeup of the Premier and Non League

The Premier League has been famed for the international stars it attracts as a league for a long time. Since the dawn of the Premier League era, players have flocked from all over the world to come in play what the English media certainly believe to be ‘the best league in the world.’

The introduction of so many foreign players into the domestic English game (223 with an average of 11 per club) has often been blamed for poor performances by the Three Lions at major tournaments.

But where do these so called international stars come from? And how come other countries are able to flourish with almost as many foreign players in their leagues and with many of their players playing overseas anyway, frequently, in the Premier League?

We took a look at the makeup of the Premier League’s different nationalities by seeing which countries are most frequently attracted to often a much colder and wetter climate in the search of football stardom.

Most Common Nationalities in EPL
Most of the chart above probably wouldn’t surprise most readers. The combined effect of both Arsene Wenger and Alan Pardew’s (at Newcastle) liking for French and francophone players has significantly boosted the contingent of players from across the channel playing in the EPL; the same can be said for the reasonably high number of Ivorian and Senegalese players. But the number of Dutch, Spanish and Argentine players may come as surprise, especially when everyone is always saying how many Belgians there seem to be in England’s top tier. The breakdown of foreign player by club makes more interesting reading:
Foreign Players by Club

  It would seem that Chelsea’s success in winning the league at a canter this year has come at the expense of blooding young English talent, or English players of any age for that matter with Gary Cahill and John Terry the only regulars and senior domestic names of note in the whole squad. The same approach hasn’t worked quite the same wonders for John Carver’s Newcastle who are flirting dangerously with relegation. Likewise already relegated Burnley look to have paid for backing homegrown players. West Ham and Spurs also are no longer the bastions of young Englishmen that they have been in years gone by with Sam Allardyce and Mauricio Pochettino seemingly favouring the foreign approach to the game. Perhaps the best way to paint the picture of an arguable surplus of foreign players in the top flight, is to look at the situation at the other end of the scale, in the Conference Premier.

Conference Nationalities

Again France leads the way, with Australia in a close second – but even from the evidence of internationals simply playing in the basement before the promised land of League 2 and the Football League, shows that there are significantly less foreign players plying their trade at the lower level.

Conference Foreign Players
Again, by casting one’s eye over the breakdown of foreign players by club, it is again clear that local and domestic players are the favoured choice of lower league managers. Even if Lincoln look like the Chelsea of the Conference way out in front on the chart, they still only have four players from outside of the UK.

 

Compared to other domestic leagues in Europe, the level of domestic players playing in the Premier League and even in the Championship is much lower, and the results of the national teams at the Euros and World Cups really bears out the point that while plucking talent from across the globe ensures an exciting and vibrant league each season, it can only damage the growth of homegrown talent.