We have learnt from the past that staying in the Premier League was not always easy and that statistical rules were made to be contradicted. It is impossible not to remember those moments, even after a great draw at Anfield, the season 2002-2003 where it has been impossible to stay in the top flight with 42 points, knowing that 44 wouldn’t have been enough anyway. In the 2002-2003 season, Sunderland and West Brom were so poor, so far from staying in contact with other teams, that there was a very large group of teams between 50- 42 points, and we had been condemned to play in the formerly named Division 1.
Looking at this season, some things are similar. We can already consider that two teams have already more than one foot in the grave and I would say we have known that for a certain while. QPR has been at the bottom of the table since the first day of the season and they have never solved the problem of having an ageing defense, conceding late goals even when they were leading. This situation happened again this week end.
Reading are not so far from the group but for a long time they have had to wait for a win. They had to wait until the 11thgame of the season to win and their current number of points is clearly confirming that the Royals were not prepared to play in this division.
We have now already completed 2 out of the 3 teams doomed for relegation. Does this mean that we are about to go through the same drama for the last seat in the financial rollercoaster of relegation?
I think it is still possible that a team could be relegated with 40 points or more, but I don’t think we will be that one.
My reason for this is quite simple. In my opinion, to be concerned by such terrible story, you need to match one of those 2 following criteria. Being in a bad position before the final 2-3 months and winning tons of points but too late. Being so poor in March than you start to fall from a comfortable position in the table to a position where relegation looms.
In 2002-2003, West Ham was really bad after winter. The club had suffered a long run of defeats and had too many games without a victory since August and we only really collected a lot of points in the last 3 months, 22 points in 11 games to be exact. West Ham were not far off completing something Wigan is used to but failed because the others collected more points than usual too.
Only one team looks like that this season. Wigan, as they always do. Will they be relegated with a high number of points? I don’t think so. If they continue in the same way, they will stay in the BPL. If this time they don’t, they will be relegated, but not with more than 38. I believe we will play them again next season.
We have a couple of teams which could match the second scenario. Stoke and Sunderland is not supposed to be there at this stage. What have they done to stay in the same position so long with the same number of points, static in 30-40 point zone? One thing for sure, those teams won’t collect 15 points, so if relegated, it won’t be too much over 40.
What shall we say about West Ham?
In fact we should be happy with the 7 points we won in the last 4 games. We should be celebrating the performances of our team, enjoying the last 2 games with 2 top 10 opponents, but good results is what we have to do first.
Those results have left us 6 points over the red zone with Sunderland having only 6 games to play. We are near the top of the bottom half of the table with 37 points and that’s what counts. With Sunderland on 31 points, statistics would define that 40 points, one win, would be enough for us.
With 4 home games, including Man United who may already be champions, there is not really anymore concerning games. We have a close to relegated Reading, with teams from the second part of the table like Wigan or Newcastle, or even away games. How can we imagine collecting only 2 points or less?
We can then consider that we’ll definitely reach 41 points and looking at the number of sides behind, this should be enough to have a productive summer.
The mission is not to put ourselves in a situation where there would be too much to do to stay up. Collecting 4 points quickly will give us the room to produce, without stress, some good football again and probably finish the season with not far from 45 points and at least an 11th or 12th position.