Interesting stuff as Sky Sports have analysed the relegation run-in.
They have used two measures to see how difficult the remaining fixture schedule is for each club.
The first of these if how many matches teams have left against a top six club.
The second is the average league position of the 10 clubs they have left to still play.
This is how the Premier League looks now (following Manchester City’s 3-0 win at Arsenal on Thursday night):
Down below we have the Sky Sports stats and then their analysis of the relegation fight.
When it comes to matches still left to play against top six clubs, Brighton have to play five of them, whilst Newcastle are one of three relegation threatened teams who have to play four of the top six.
Rafa’s team have to face Liverpool (A), Arsenal (H), Tottenham (A) and Chelsea (H) – a big positive is that Man City aren’t one of them and Man Utd are currently second, so arguably Newcastle still have to play the four weaker members of that top six.
As for the average league position of remaining clubs to play, Brighton are once again the worst off.
The average position of their remaining opposition is 7.1, then you have West Ham (9.1), Stoke (9.4), before you get to Newcastle on 9.5 (same as West Brom).
Looking beyond the mere numbers, maybe the biggest factor in Newcastle’s favour is that their three crucial matches against the lowest teams they still have to play, are all at home (Southampton, Huddersfield, West Brom). At least seven points from those three games must be the target and that would guarantee a final total of at least 36 points, with hopefully at least a handful picked up elsewhere, would surely guarantee safety.
Maybe the most interesting thing from the Sky Sports analysis of the situation below, is that they don’t mention Newcastle at all, even though both West Ham and Brighton are currently above Rafa’s team.
Sky Sports stats:
Sky Sports Relegation Analysis:
‘Bottom club West Brom are seven points from safety and have the fifth-toughest run-in of any club (with opponents averaging 9.5 in the league and featuring three top-six opponents).
But our run-in analysis also paints a sorry picture for Brighton. While the Seagulls are currently in an impressive 12th place in their debut Premier League season their four-point gap to the drop zone could come under threat through the toughest run-in of any side in the top flight.
Brighton’s remaining opponents have an average league position of 7.1 – and they still have to play FIVE of the top six. No other team has more than four games against the top six left.
Worse, Brighton have a terrible record against those leading sides this season. They are the only Premier League team without a single point against the Big Six and have lost their games against those sides by an aggregate score of 18-1.
Furthermore, in their reverse fixtures against their remaining 10 opponents, Brighton have taken a grand total of three points from a possible 30, failing to beat any of them.
West Ham are a point worse off than Brighton and have the second-toughest run-in, while second-from-bottom Stoke must overcome the third-hardest schedule to escape relegation.’