Villa plus Sunderland, Newcastle or Norwich? Maybe Bournemouth or Swansea? But not Watford, in our relegation watch


relegation poll results after the close of the transfer windowRelegation poll results after the close of the summer transfer window
John McCormick:
John McCormick, popping in a quick one


By now you must be getting bored with the graph above on the left, especially as it has been less than a month, and only three games, since it was last posted up.

But with a break in our first team fixtures I’m taking the opportunity to do a quick update on how different clubs have done since then, and as we appear to be attracting new readers it’s appropriate to put in a reminder of how things began, not to mention links to previous posts.

My original premise was that a certain win-loss ratio (0.48) would guarantee safety and that any club consistently below 0.45 would go down. In between the ratios is the zone of uncertainty, a clarty  place that is best avoided.

When I last looked, in January, Leicester had fulfilled their early promise (keep going, please), Watford were well out of danger,  Swansea and Bournemouth didn’t look in too much discomfort and Norwich were hovering close to the 0.48 line. Only three clubs were below 0.45. Newcastle and Sunderland were just under the line and Aston Villa were some way below it.

How have things changed? Here’s how these clubs have performed since the last FA Cup break:

Won Lost Drawn
Watford 1 1 1
Bournemouth 1 2 0
Norwich 0 2 1
Swansea 0 1 2
NUFC 1 2 0
Sunderland 1 1 1
Aston Villa 1 2 0

You have to remember I’m only considering wins and losses, draws are of no consequence to the ratio or its key figures, although Swansea do appear to be crawling to safety one point at a time. Sunderland and Watford have had the best of it, with Norwich doing worse than anyone else and Bournemouth, NUFC, and Villa managing one win and two losses each.

You can see the effect on win-loss ratios on the right:

As you’ll see below, my maths says Watford can’t go down, whatever happens between now and May.

Bournemouth and Swansea remain well inside the safety zone at 0.58 and 0.54 respectively but fans will still be holding their breath.

Norwich’s run of losses led to a plodge in the uncertainty zone, then they found themselves sucked down as losses continued. They now have the same win-loss ratio (0.43) as Newcastle, who are on a slide themselves. Neither team has any breathing space.

Sunderland have narrowed the gap. Their ratio was 0.33, it’s now 0.4.

Aston Villa remain adrift. Their most recent win – their third so far – gave them a temporary lift but they seem destined to finish the season lagging well behind everyone else.

win-loss ratios, Feb 2016
win-loss ratios, Feb 2016

I can leave Watford and focus on the other clubs. Looking at changes in win loss ratios since game 6 you can see Villa’s recent rise hasn’t been enough to save them and that everyone else is performing erratically:

win-loss ratios from game 6
win-loss ratios from game 6

The best I can say from this is that we appear to be on an upward trend and the other clubs are moving downwards as much as anything. This begs the question, will our paths cross and stay crossed by the end of the season.  It’s not too long before that day of judgment, games are running out.

I’ve used my dodgy maths to calculate how many of the remaining games each club needs to win or lose to guarantee safety or relegation. I’ve included Watford to show how safe they are  – they need to win 0.3 of a game for absolute safety, and they need to lose 14 of their remaining 12 games in order to ensure relegation – and allow their fans a gloat. It’s not so straightforward  for the others:

games left wins to guarantee safety losses to guarantee relegation
Watford 12 0.3 14
Bournemouth 12 3 12
Swansea 12 3 11
Norwich 12 4 10
NUFC 12 4 10
Sunderland 12 5 10
Aston  Villa 12 7 8

16 thoughts on “Villa plus Sunderland, Newcastle or Norwich? Maybe Bournemouth or Swansea? But not Watford, in our relegation watch”

  1. I haven’t taken account of the difficulties of run-ins or double headers. I’ve no idea how these are likely to affect different clubs and it could make a difference.

  2. Looking at the graph it’s looking bad for Norwich ((Villa are as good as down after the 6 nil trouncing), Sunderland are really improving, Newcastle not, Bournemouth are difficult to read and could go either way, ditto Swansea. Conclusion: Villa, Norwich and one from. Objectively, Newcastle are very dodgy but they did sign some decent players. If Bournemouth do not win soon, they are in trouble. A hunch says Villa, Norwich and Bournemouth. Bloody difficult to say.

  3. Ouch Malcolm, and wonderful question. I know I am ever an Optimist. Expecting more from our team than they actually deliver.
    I believe I would rather stay as a disappointed optimist simply as I cannot take the pessimistic view on board.
    I guess, I could try Pessimism about Palace’s signing of Adebayor. But, that could be unfair.

  4. A Level Psychology question.


    1a) It is better to be a relieved pessimist than a disappointed optimist. Discuss!


    1b) Compare the emotions of an optimist whose hopes are realised with those of a pessimist whose fears come to fruition. Contrast with the emotional highs and lows they experience when the outcome is the opposite of their expectation.

  5. To be honest. I had us down to lose at home to Man Utd. But, I still saw the 6 wins we need.
    So, any away point is wonderful. Every home game should produce 3 points, even if it does not – Be positive that the next will.
    The last transfer window has told us, if we stay up, Sam Allardyce will improve the team.
    Love him as our manager.

      • Speaking of lowering……….. You have not got them listed, quite rightly because of the method that you use but I genuinely believe West Brom are going down. They have had a huge helping of luck this season eg last weekend’s Everton game, and luck, like the run of the ball or refereeing decisions, evens out over the course of a season.

      • I was keeping an eye on them early on. They dipped but recovered and are averaging over a point per game. Even with their recent poor results they’ll have enough to stay up. I expect them to finish above Swansea and Palace

  6. Great article, as always. The main extra thing we have going for us this season is attacking flair. So it should be a doddle avoiding the drop!! Seriously, if we have confidence and belief, which presently we seem to, we could just do it.

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