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.
Photo: Action Images
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