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Opinion

Very interesting league table of non-‘Big Six’ Premier League clubs playing each other

1 week ago
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The Premier League is already now into its second international break.

With eight matches gone, we are maybe getting some better indications on how things might end up this season.

One big factor (the most important?) for clubs outside the ‘elite’ is how they get on week in week out against their competitors.

When I say competitors, in this instance I mean those clubs outside the ‘Big Six’.

Those same six clubs have also occupied the top six spots in each of the last three seasons.

A table has now been published by ‘The Other 14’ (who specialise on stats/tables etc on the 14 clubs who aren’t the ‘Big Six’) which shows a league table of matches this season between the other 14 clubs when playing each other.

As you can see, at the moment Newcastle and Watford are right at the bottom of this particular table, with only two points each from games against ‘other 14’ clubs.

Obviously the two wins against Man Utd and Tottenham saving the season so far, a big help catching both of those when they are experiencing big problems of their own.

However, for Newcastle to be comfortable this season, you have to think that it will be built on results against those other clubs expected to be nearer the bottom than top.

Indeed, looking at this other 14 table it becomes clear at the top end just how important winning regular games against the other 14 can be in the most positive way.

In the Premier League, Palace are sixth and Burnley seventh, with Palace having picked up 11 of their 14 points from the ‘other 14’ and Burnley picking up all 12 of their points against other 14 clubs.

Rafa Benitez of course had an incredible record against ‘the rest’, Newcastle’s main competitors, especially those other relegation candidates.

In 2017/18, Newcastle picked up 34 points in 26 games against ‘other 14’ clubs at an average of 1.31 points per game. Points from those 26 games alone were enough to ensure safety, as Swansea only managed 33 points in 18th.

In 2018/19 it was even more impressive, Rafa’s team picked up 42 points in the 26 matches against the ‘other 14’ clubs at an average of 1.62 points per game. Those 42 points way more than enough needed to ensure PL survival as Cardiff ended in 18th on 34 points.

In his two seasons in the Premier League, Rafa Benitez averaged 1.46 points per game against the other 14, an average of 38 points per season.

With limited funds Rafa Benitez proved he could outperform and beat the clubs around him, we’ll never know what could have been achieved then with some more ambitious/realistic backing.

As for Steve Bruce, his season/survival is set to depend on those games week in week out against ‘other 14’ clubs and he will need a major step up on what we have seen so far against the likes of Norwich, Brighton and Watford.

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