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80% Chance QPR, Wigan or Villa Will Stay Up

Posted on Mar 14th, 2013 by Araz Heydariyehzadeh

In a recent analysis we looked at what chances there might be that a team in the bottom 3 of the Premier League with 9 games to go would survive. Surprisingly the data from the last 10 years showed that there is an 80% chance that at least one of QPR, Wigan and Villa wil stay up this season.

History Says Yes
The last 10 Premier League seasons shows that in 8 of those seasons at least one team from the bottom 3 with 9 games to go has beaten the drop.

Below is a list of each of those seasons along with the how many poins would have been needed to finish outside of the bottom 3 (by one point or on goal difference where the team in 17th did survive on goal difference):

02/03 - 43 (0)
03/04 - 34 (1) Portsmouth
04/05 - 34 (1) Southampton
05/06 - 35 (1) WBA
06/07 - 38 (1) West Ham
07/08 - 36 (2) Fulham and Bolton
08/09 - 35 (1) Stoke
09/10 - 31 (0)
10/11 - 40 (2) Wigan and Wolves
11/12 - 37 (2) QPR and Wigan

The most striking thing about this list is the fact that in all but 2 of these seasons at least 1 in the bottom 3 at this stage of the season has beaten the drop. Furthermore on 3 occasions, 2 teams have beaten the drop so this recent history would suggest that it's highly likely that the bottom 3 you are seeing today will not be exactly the same as the one you'll see when the final whistle has been blown on the 2012/13 season.

It should also be noted that on no occasion have all 3 teams managed to stay up so sadly for those who live in hope, it's almost certain that at least one from the current bottom 3 will be relegated.

The Magic Number
Harry Redknapp has bee widely quoted this season in saying that QPR will need 37 points to stay up and it seems that the old adage that you need 40 points is a bit of a myth. Only in 2 of the last 10 seasons has a side needed 40 or more points to stay up so it seems that the magic number for survival will be lower than this. By our calculations, this season a total of 35 might be enough but that the number will ultimately lie between 35 and 37.

With goal difference between the bottom 6 currently very tight, that could very well be the deciding factor this season.

Who Will Go Down
According to the English book makers the teams currently in the bottom 6 have the following chances of being relegated:

Reading - 88.5%
QPR - 63.4%
Wigan - 54.6%
Villa - 44.4%
Southampton - 36.7%
Sunderland - 12.5%

Whilst all hope seems to be lost on Reading, the book makers are suggesting that the other 2 relegation spots will be filled by either QPR, Wigan, Villa or Southampton.

We think that it's still very tight and with QPR having to play Wigan, Villa and Reading in their next 6 games, those key fixtures between the teams at the bottom will determine everything. The first of those 6 pointers is this weekend when Villa take on QPR at Villa Park.

A QPR win at Villa Park this weekend would put them within one point of Villa. With more favourable fixtures to come their chances of survival would almost certainly be cut to at least 50-50. A loss however would open up a gap that may well be too big to recover from, and could come very close to putting QPR out of any real contention for survival.

QPR only have to face Arsenal from the current top 5 in their remaining fixtures so they will have plenty of opportunity to pick up more points if they can keep their momentum going. If they can beat Villa, Wigan and Reading they will get to 32 points, leaving them needing between 3 and 5 points from the other 6 remaining fixtures in order to get to the tally likely to be needed for survival. Those points could very well be picked up against Stoke, Fulham, Newcastle or even Liverpool on the final day of the season.

Villa still have Man United, Chelsea and Liverpool to play so should they fail to get a result against QPR at the weekend there will be a much increased probability that they will take QPR's place in the Championship next season.

They also have key fixtures remaining against Sunderland, Norwich and what could be a relegation decider against Wigan on the last day of the season.

Wigan's toughest fixtures put them against Manchester City, Spurs and Arsenal before the season is out. But they have that key final day match against Villa, and their next 2 games will be absolutely critical as they face off against Newcastle and Norwich at home before they head off to face QPR at the start of 3 consecutive games on the road.

The Saints' next two games are at home to Liverpool and Chelsea, should they get nothing from these they could very well find themselves in the relegation zone. After that though they start a run of 4 very winnable games with an away day at Reading and 3 games against mid-table sides with little to play for throughout April.

If they can pick up a decent tally of points from those games they could well find themselves out of the relegation race by the start of May, but if their poor run continues the current 4 point gap between them and the relegation zone could end up not being enough come the end of the season.

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