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Setting The Points Targets For The Premiership
Setting The Points Targets For The Premiership
Tuesday, 19th Jun 2012 11:04

For the last two seasons I have stressed the need for a two points per game target as we chased promotion, this year in the premiership we will need to re set these targets.

A look at Premier League tables over the past few seasons shows a trend that is well developed, a top 5 or 6 that is streets ahead of the rest of the teams behind, a mid table section of perhaps 8 teams that doesnt trouble either the remaining 6 teams in the relegation mire or for that matter the top clubs.

Saints job is firstly to make sure they arent dragged into a relegation dogfight and secondly to establish themselves firmly in that middle group as the season progresses, it would be nice to get into that top six, but in reality it isnt going to happen, especially when you look at the teams like Liverpool who didnt get into it last season, but will spend money to ensure they do this. In short to avoid relegation we need to hit at least 40 points.

The simple target would be to set a points target of an average of 1.25 per game, if had done that last season then we would have got 47 - 48 points that would have been sufficient to get us into 10th place and that is a reasonable target to aim at when you look at the other teams in the division, but getting those points on the board is definately a tale of two leagues.

To be blunt we need to break our target down into two sections, the 12 games we will play against the top six teams and the 26 against the other 13, to reach mid table come next May, whether we are high up in it or hovering above the relegation zone will depend on our ability to pick up a decent return against 13 of the teams and then a better than expected return from the other 6, for instance a 1.25 average return against those 13 would equal 32 points, meaning that we would need to pick up 8 in the other 12 games, this is achievable but it doesnt take Einstein to work out that if we are looking to hit 47 then 15 points from the same dozen games is a tough ask, therefore we perhaps have to break down our points targets into those two groups.

Against the 13 sides we should be looking to hit 1.5 a games whilst in the fixtures against the top six a point a game average would be a great return, indeed if these figures where hit then we would have 51 points and a decent season in the bag. Those targets are both realistic and a little stretching.

If we look at the three sides who finished on 47 points last season we can look at our target a little closer, we need to look to win 12 games, draw 11 and lose 15 over the course of the season, written in black or white that doesnt look too difficult, win half of our home games ie 9 plus 5 draws whilst away win 3 and draw 6, again a reasonable enough target when put like this.

But this is where the two tiered target system is vital, the reality is that at home for instance we would be doing well to beat one of the top six, that being the case then our other eight wins would be out of 13 games, that task looks a lot stiffer and doesnt leave much margin for error, this really emphasises just how hard the premier league really is, Chelsea in 6th won only 18 games themselves for instance.

So the real key is those 26 other games, we need to be consistent in them keeping focused on that 1.5 point per game average, do that and we will be on target and eacjh time we pick up a point against the top six its in effect a bonus.

Last season it was fairly easy to set these targets, most teams were fairly equal, this term thats not the case, with 3 of the top 6 in the opening four games, there arent many non Saints fans who are not tipping us to be bottom after four games, the reality is the odds are that we will be nearer the bottom than the top, however by keeping things in focus and again taking things in six game runs we can keep perspective on how we are really doing,

The target in the first four games would be 4.5 points, ie 1 point per game average against top six sides and 1.5 against the other, of course that wouldnt make good reading in the League table, we would be there or therabouts the bottom three, however the reality would be that we would be right on target and more to the point we would have taken three vital points from our 12 games against the top six, extend that to the opening six games and our target at that point would be 7.5 (Ok fractions are involved here but you get the giste).

So to step forward to the opening dozen games, a point when the season has really established itself and its getting clearer who is struggling and who is not and of course at this point we cant be entirely sure who the top six sides will be( For this purpose i am going to replace Newcastle with Liverpool) after our trip to QPR on November 17th, we should look to be on 16 points, again it doesnt sound a lot but its bang on track.

Boxing Day sees the half way point of the season, back in our last spell in the Premier league I always felt that if we went into the second half of the season with over 20 points on the board then we where doing well and had a good base for the second half of the season, based on my targets in this article to be on target for that 47-49 points we need to be on 25 points after Boxing Day.

So like the previous two seasons its all about targets and focus, unlike them its a little bit more complicated this time out with the need to break down the fixtures into two groups, the top six clubs and the rest, but the theory still remains the same and if we remember it and stick too it then we will finish the season where we want to be, of course its never an exact science, but in the main, last season it worked well for us, with the good patches covering the bad ones, what we have to remember this though is that some games are harder than others, especially our opening spell.


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Chesham_Saint added 12:02 - Jun 19
I think I followed that (were you an actuary in a past life, FFS?). Clearly this isn't going to be a linear progression (or for those pompey fans reading this "straightforward") and we mustn't lose faith in Adkins just because we find ourselves in a lowly position after our run against the top 6 teams.

slynch added 13:18 - Jun 19
"it would be nice to get into that top six, but in reality it isn't going to happen" how do you know that is reality? And what did you say was going to be "reality" before last season?
Surely the aim is to get as many points as possible per game. Aiming at a point-per-game target suggests you would throw away points against lower teams if you got too many points against a good team in order to keep the average correct, which is clearly potty. I think you are getting carried away with a pseudo mathematic theory which is (excuse the pun) pointless! What you mean is - you think Saints can't do any better than end up mid table.

I disagree. I think they will be a disappointing second, again! And on the grounds that they were last year and the year before. Now that's statistics at work!

SaintNick added 13:43 - Jun 19
Sorry slynch but I think Im dealing in reality, if a side like Chelsea can only just finish sixth with all the players they had and the money spent, how can saints hope to compete with that, thats the reality.

as for the restof your reply the article was clear its all about achieving an average and looking to beat that

slynch added 14:26 - Jun 19
That was last year's reality no this year's and how can you know what's going to happen this year and what about the year 1977-78?

loftboy added 14:36 - Jun 19
Dream on

SaintNick added 14:50 - Jun 19
Your right i cant know exactly whats going to happen next season, but I can take a fairly accurate prediction based on the quality of the teams etc, the championship and league 1 are not the premiership, i can win my daughters college parents day 100 metres but I know what the result will be if i lined up against Usain Bolt

Have a look at what the bookmakers think they are rarely wrong, indeed how many teams outside of Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs & Man City have actually managed a top four position in the Premier in the past decade let alone top two

I would love to see saints finish second, I saw it in 1984, but unless football changes drastically it isnt going to happen in the near future

StGibbo added 15:10 - Jun 19
Jesus, I got lost halfway through! The bottom line is Nigel and the team will take every game one at a time. Drawing a line under the last game, (win, lose or draw) and not even contemplating the next. It's worked pretty well so far. So let's just enjoy the moment eh!?

In other news: I've heard St Mary's may be due a proper over haul. Has anyone else heard this and will the capacity be increased?

Horndeansaint added 15:21 - Jun 19
Nick that is a very logical, sensible and well reasoned article, structured to suit the reality of the league that we are in.
In truth, last season and the season before, there were many times when I looked at the leauge table, looked at who we weer playing when I was at the game and asked myself "well come on then, where are these teams that are going to stop us winning promotion".
In truth, of course, only Reading and West Ham were ever going to stand a chance of doing that.
For absolutley sure, we are in a different situation this time round so to realistically assess what we can reasonably expect to achieve will keep us in the Adkins school of philosophy.
Mind you, there will be plenty who don't see it that way, expect the doom and gloom merchants who have been spoiled rotten over the past 3 seasons, to be on here in their droves!!

SaintNick added 15:24 - Jun 19
Stgibbo you miss the point, if we take every game as it comes we could be panicking after four games, we have to look at everything in six game runs, in the premier you can hit a nightmare set of fixtures like our start or the opposite, you have to look at overall form and against whom you are playing, if we get tonked at an City on the opening day it doesnt spell disaster for the whole season as much as if we beat Wigan in the next game we are going to win the league

adhoc_qpr added 16:21 - Jun 19
Saw this article on the newsticker and was intrigued - as a QPR fan looking at your squad and based on what i saw of you last season (highlights mainly admitedly) i would have thought Soton would have been happy with 17th!?

Talk of 47-51 points (1 less than Liverpool scored last season after spending £100m), top 10 or top 6 even seems incredibly optimistic.

You might score a few goals if Lambert, Lallana and Rodriguez all make the step up but your midfield, defence and keeper looks well short of prem class.


StGibbo added 16:28 - Jun 19
No I fully understand that targets need to be set and yes I comprehend that the season will get split in to little chunks of what games we can realistically expect points from but I'm also saying that you can't do anymore than prepare yourself in the right way to get something from the next game. Thinking 'We'll get smashed by City so lets look ahead to the Wigan game' isn't the way Nigel does things.

Anyway, everyone seems to have ignored my question about the stadium or do I have to stay on subject?

SaintNick added 16:48 - Jun 19
Stgibbo, at no point was i insinuating that we as a team dont prepare for every game with the intention of winning it, all i was saying and you may have missed the articles i wrote before the beginning of each of the last two seasons, was that we have to look atthe season with specific points targets per game, this way we get a good idea of where our form is in the bigger picture, ie six games

I have seen certain rumours about the stadium, i would imagine this would be longer term, personally i would say lets get next season out of the way then we can see whether its justified, sell out all 19 games and perhaps, but if we only sell out for the big clubs then i would say no

SaintNick added 16:51 - Jun 19
Both Swansea and Norwich got 47 points last term, so thats a realistic target to aim at i would say, but your probably right most clubs in the bottom half of last seasons table would be happy if they knew they would definately finish 17th next season, if i had spoken of sixth place you would have a point, but overall I think i have been realistic and a little stretching

adhoc_qpr added 17:23 - Jun 19
True but it was a significant achievement for both Norwich and Swansea - and i think taking it as the bench mark for a newly promoted club is a bit naive. Achievable yes, easy no.

You have a very decent manager but need significant investment IMO with a team half full of aging journeymen league players (Hammond, K.Davis, Chaplow, Harding, Richardson etc).

I'd be content with us finishing 17th next season (i'd rather higher but it's a tough league) and QPR have a host of players who would walk into your team and a hardened prem manager.

Good luck to you though (except against us), i'll watch all the newly promoted teams transfer activities with interest this summer!

SaintNick added 18:48 - Jun 19
Fair points adhoc, but surely targets shouldnt be easy they should be a little stretching, if we go for 112th and finish 13th its not a disaster, go for 17th and get 18th and it is.

Your right we do need investment in the team, we have already spent £7 million on Rodriguez and i think there is more to come, of the players you mention only Davis in goal finished the season as first choice

BlackRod added 19:03 - Jun 19
A remarkably intelligent article. I wonder if there is another factor to include - whether games are home or away. We should have close to zero chance of beating the top 6 on their own turf, but may have a chance at St Mary's.

Friendly pundits have identified two qualities that will ensure we survive - our goalscoring ability and what has been termed 'Fortress St Marys.' It was our home form that brought promotion last season and may be the thing that keeps us up this tear.

I hope you will reflect on these targets from time to time even if this gives some of your readers a headache.

SaintNick added 22:36 - Jun 19
Home and away is of course crucial however it does get a little complicated to bring it to that much of a ratio, over 12 games against the top six a point per game average is fair in the dozen games

SingaporeSaint added 09:49 - Jun 21
Good article - and good inputs from the Rangers fan. In my view we can realistically hope to top a mini league of (W Brom, W Ham, Reading, Swansea, Norwich, Wigan and us) - if we get a couple of extra points at home against the big sides and grind out results on the road - then we could look to get above the likes of Fulham, QPR, Sunderland and Villa... Mid table would be phenominal and I see no chance of getting above that.

I wouldnt take '17th' at this stage, however I for one think the fixture list has been unbelievably harsh on us.. Team's who outperform usualy have a fast start and are carried forward on the momentum of winning (and some fear from opponents on facing a winning side) - this is exactly what happened with us last season... To start with City, Utd and Arsenal is not likely to give us a flying start - even Wigan were the form team for the last 2 months. We will need all of Adkins' motivational skills to start the season.


GNSaint added 13:13 - Jun 21
Great article Nick (as usual). If there is ever a good time to play the reigning champs at the own ground it might just be the 1st game back. Saints are going to be like a coiled spring just dieing to get going (after having such a long break) and will hopefully play without fear, where as City (hopefully) might have some tired legs after their shorter break after so many of them playing in the Euros.

It is going to be a very hard season, right now I'll 17th..

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