When the last pretty pass gets played in Tottenham and Everton’s ‘more beautiful than most 1-1 draws’ 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane this Sunday and the referee blows the final whistle, we’ll be a third of the way through the Premier League season. Officially. Well, we’re a 1/2.92th of the way through the season, but a third is easier to say.
It sounds a bit strange, but it’s no more arbitrary than any of the random makers people use to make vague points about the season – 10 games in, Boxing Day, the moment Mario Balotelli looks like he’s started to give a shit about football again – those kind of ones. The point is, a good chunk of the season is already behind us and rather than thinking your team is just suffering from a few early season blips, you might just have to concede that nope – your team really are this shit.
With Chelsea driving their team bus over pretty much everyone they come in contact with, the league looks to be heading back into Jose Mourinho’s suave grasp, it’s time to look a bit further down the table. Right down the table in fact to where futile hope of a miraculous turnaround can often be extended until the very last seconds of the Premier League season.
With a third of the season gone, pretty much all the teams down at the bottom have had some highs, some lows and some distinctly forgettable Saturday 3pm games that get about 14 seconds of time on Match of the Day. Well, maybe not QPR who’ve just been consistently crap for most of the season. Is it too early to be sounding the death knell for these plucky relegation scrapers or is there enough time for it all to change? The Paddy Power Blog has cracked open the archives and had a look at how much misplaced optimism is justified.
Taken as a whole, being in the bottom three a third of the way through the season isn’t fatal. It’s about as sensible as running through Gemma Collins’ house dressed as a baked ham shouting ‘I’ve been glazed in the finest honey’, but there’s still a chance of survival. If you find yourself in the bottom three, there’s a 54% chance you’ll be visiting the Championship’s hotspots next season, but that leaves a 46% chance you’ll get out of trouble.
In every Premier League season to date, at least one of the teams in the bottom three at this stage of the season has gone on to be relegated. Very often (54% of the time), two of the three end up going through the trap door and only once have the three teams at the bottom a third of the way into the season been the ones to go down. There’s hope if you’re a glass half full kind of person, and there’s also reason for pessimism if you’re a ‘oh God – someone’s going to smash that half-empty glass over my head’ kind of person.
At lot depends on your actual position. Although they’re all lumped into the ‘relegation dogfighters’, there’s a substantial difference in your chances of survival if you’re third from bottom rather than actual bottom.With a third of the season gone:
- the team third from bottom has gone on to be relegated just 36% of the time
- teams second from bottom go down slightly more than half the time at 55%
- you’re screwed if you’re actually bottom because 73% of those teams have been relegated.
Burnley’s sudden upturn in form gives them cause for optimism and Leicester aren’t necessarily condemned due to their position. They might be condemned because they’re relying on Paul Konchesky as a pillar of their defence, but it that’s all. It’s bad news for QPR though. Harry Redknapp’s face will no doubt look even more liked a smacked arse than it normally does as he reads those words.
So if one of these if to escape the dark clutches of having to visit Derby next year, who’ll take their place? Instinctively you might think the team who are just above the drop zone are the most likely candidates, but in actual fact it’s the team who are in 16th position at this stage of the season who are more likely to go down. That’s bad news if you’re a Villa fan, not that you need any additional bad news being a Villa fan these days.
You don’t need a calculator or quick switch to the metric system to tell you if there’s nearly a third of the season gone, that leaves nearly two-thirds of it to go. It’s not quite panic stations, but they’d want to start delivering some higher quality fr-action in the near future.