Monsieur Salut writes: John McCormick, our wizard with the stats, wrote this update to his series on the developing relegation scrap before Dick Advocaat left. His gut feelings may therefore change according to who is appointed, but I suspect his calculations will not, or at least not yet .. now over to John …
It’s still early days and small numbers of both wins and losses will continue to produce swings in win-loss ratios for some time, but with no game reports to post because of the international break it’s as good a time as any to make another visit to the bottom end of the table.
Those of you who’ve visited this series previously might remember that my last review took place just as the transfer window had closed and, with that, I gave you the opportunity to have another vote in the relegation poll that I’d opened in the close season.
1229 votes were cast this time, with Sunderland leading the pack and Bournemouth, Watford and then Norwich making the running:
We’re now eight games in. As I said at the start, it’s still early, so signs of how the season will progress need to be treated with caution, but how are these teams doing according to my chosen measure? This, you might recall, is win-loss ratios (or you can visit the start of the series).
The safety zone begins at 0.48. Keep above that and you won’t be relegated.
The dead zone begins at 0.45. Stay below that and you’re dying.
The space between is the danger zone. Clubs that drift into it might just find their tenancy of the Premiership ending.
Here’s a spot diagram to show the current position
Leicester are doing so well they are off the screen. Watford also appear to be doing well, with Norwich not doing too badly and Bournemouth hovering on the safe side of the danger area. There’s a clear gap between these clubs and the bottom three, as you can see.
However, spot diagrams show static positions.
They are useful, certainly, but give few hints about what’s going on. To try to identify trends I’ve looked at changes between game 4 (when I did my previous post) and game eight.
OK, Sunderland are flatlining, in dire straits, as are their neighbours from the land of frightened horses. Villa, too, are not looking healthy, having gone from being safe to inhabiting the dead zone. These three clubs richly deserve their positions at the bottom of the table, which isn’t lying.
But look at the graph above. Bournemouth are safe for the moment. So too are Norwich. However, both clubs are pointing in the wrong direction and both, you will remember, gained wins against Sunderland. I can see them struggling as the season unfolds. Watford have yet to play us, but have they also declined after an impressive start? I have to consider that possibility
Apart from Leicester, it’s not clear cut. There’s no doubt Sunderland, Newcastle and Villa are struggling. There are other clubs, such as Stoke and West Brom, which might drift in and out of contention. But, given that the current bottom three clubs, not to mention Stoke and West Brom, all have form at avoiding the drop, and given that more often than not at least one newly promoted club goes straight back down, Norwich, Bournemouth and Watford have to be looking at the next few weeks with some trepidation.
The punters who voted so decisively in my relegation poll may yet be right.