Looking at the way our fixtures are structured this season, it looks very much like we can break our season down into “mini seasons” or batches of games where we’d expect to get more points than from others and breaking it down into batches of six games see’s the following
1 – Spurs, Brum, Wigan, Liverpool, Man Utd and Reading
2 – Boro, Blackburn, Arsenal, West Ham, Fulham and Man City
3 – Scum, Everton, Derby, Chelsea, Villa and Reading
4 – Man Utd, Bolton, Blackburn, Portsmouth, Spurs and Birmingham
5 – Liverpool, Wigan, Portsmouth, Derby, Everton and Chelsea
6 – Villa, West Ham, Fulham, Man City, Scum and Boro
And then close the season with Bolton and Arsenal.
Using the basis of last season’s top six, batches 1, 3, 4 and 5 have us meeting at least two of the top six so we’ve got a fairly equal split of games on that basis so we’ve got to look to be gaining a consistent amount of points across each batch really, with arguably the 2nd and 6th batches being when we should be looking to pick up the most points.
Of course, its never that predictable when it comes to football, but the base we have given ourselves after the first batch of games is a more than good enough one to build on. Ideally I would’ve settled for around the 8 points mark at the start of the season, and only the Wigan game has been a major let down in our quest for points (and goal difference!).
The simple fact this season is that we have to give ourselves a foothold in the Premiership and stop ourselves from continuing with our reputation as a perennial “yo-yo” club. Clubs such as Portsmouth are now seen as being an attractive club to sign for, yet they have only been back in the top flight for two continuous seasons before this, and the first season of that saw them finish 4th from bottom with 38 points and at the end of March that season they looked doomed to relegation with 24 points on the board. Despite that though they had gained a foothold so they were then able to bring in some more experienced players to “kick on” and now you have players signing for them as if they have been a permanent fixture in the top half of the league for the last 10 seasons.
Our first batch of games have seen some ups and some downs on our way to gaining 7 points, but I feel that we have shown that we will be able to hold our own in the division this season, and going on the 7 points as an average if we keep that up from every 6 games then we’ll have 42 points on the board with the final games remaining against Bolton and Arsenal which possibly be a bit close for comfort, but in all likelihood would see us staying in the division.
As already mentioned though certain batches of games should ideally see us pick up more than that 7 points haul, but it’s a reasonable enough target for us to be aiming for.
Due to the amount of press coverage and hype in the Premier League taking a level headed approach seems to be a tough thing for many to do these days, but looking at our likely rivals in the third tier of the division can give you a good guide as to whether you should be panicking or not.
By doing that you soon see that the likes of Derby, Fulham, Bolton, Reading, Boro and Brum have not managed to pick up any more points than us (and all but Boro and Brum have less), yet none of them have played as many of last seasons top 5 sides.
All in all, a solid start to the season for us. Onwards and upwards we go.