As the end of 2015 approaches, it would be nice to find some time among the parties and festivities to reflect on the issues that our club faces in the new year.
The season began in an amazing fashion, under the astute management of the imaginative Slaven Bilic.
Blessed with a new-look squad of high quality and improved depth, we played some of the most exciting attacking football seen in many years, resulting in a number of historic victories.
By the start of November we were flying very high, but alas, that November 7th game against Everton, when we suffered the double blow of losing Dimitri Payet and Enner Valencia, sparked the beginning of a terrible run of serious injuries to six of our best players.
The last two months has been a very tough time for the club, as we slowly slipped down the Premier League ladder, although managing to secure some impressive draws along the way.
Facing the last game of the month against a rampaging Southampton side – brimming with confidence after thrashing Arsenal 4-0 in their last outing – was always going to be a tough test of our side’s resilience and help restore some much needed confidence before the second half of the season.
Another draw was predicted as the best outcome from many long-term fans and experts; a loss would have not only seen us fall into the bottom half of the table, but more importantly, would have been a potentially major blow to the morale of the team, manager, and fans alike.
A remarkable win, attained by a determined and spirited group of players, did more than
the obvious immediate positive benefits. Most importantly, it has also served as an important memoir of what we have achieved thus far, and with the gradual return of key players in the near future, a reason for restored optimism in what we could still achieve come next May.
Qualifying for Europe; Dream or Reality?
So as we turn the corner with 29 points from our first 19 games, the question which constantly arises is whether we can, by the end of the season, realistically reach that critical 5th-7th position, which are required for Europa League qualification.
I have tried to combine a little bit of history and simple mathematics, required to objectively test the hypothesis.
An analysis of the previous 10 Premier League seasons listed below provides us with the points required in each season to finish in positions fifth, sixth and seventh.
– 5th position required an average of 65.3 points after 38 games
– 6th position required an average of 63.1 points after 38 games
– 7th position required an average of 58.3 points after 38 games
– 4th position required an average of 71.2 points after 38 games
Examination of potential second half season outcomes
Conclusion 1: Most likely scenario – W11, D5, L3 = 38pts + 29 points = 67 total points – attaining a 5th-7th position finish
Conclusion 2: Optimistic scenario – W11, D7, L1 = 40pts; + 29 points = 69 total points -attaining a 5th-7th position finish
Conclusion 3: Very best form scenario – W12, D6, L1 = 42pts +29 points = 71 total points – aattaining a 5th-7th position finish or even a spot in the top four
– My most optimistic calculation predicts we’ll finish with 71 points
– My optimistic calculation predicts we’ll finish with 69 points
– My most realistic calculation predicts we’ll finish with 67 points
Therefore, on the basis of predicted points69 points, we could finish well within the 5th-7th position bracket.
On the basis that Valencia, Lanzini, Payet, Reid, Moses and Sakho have are all fit and available come March-May, then we could even finish with 71 points after 38 games – resulting in a possible 4th end of season position.
Keep the faith!