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Man United for the Carling Cup ? Still!

By Phil Roberts :  27/02/2009 :  Comments (18) :

At the half way stage of the season I wrote a piece to compare the performance of teams with those of last year in the corresponding fixture, using it as a guide to final points and placings. The half time report stated that let's all hope United win the Carling Cup as that will give a UEFA cup spot to the team in 6th ? and that is likely to be where we will finish. Well as we head into the weekend of the final, then for Evertonians, nothing has changed.

After 26 Games

Based on the same results in the remaining games as in last season's matches, then with 26 games gone, the league would finish as shown. For the top six, only one thing has changed ? Villa look like they will become the second club to break the Sky monopoly. 6 home games, which they all won last year and apart from a defeat by Everton this time round, they are likely to do the same and that should give them enough to stay ahead of Arsenal. Liverpool's whimper of a title challenge (+2 points in the first 13 games and -6 in the next 13) has faded as suggested two months ago. United have just pressed the gas pedal when needed and are possibly going to finish nearly 20 points clear. I think they may take their foot off the pedal to concentrate on winning four trophies. Pity for them that they will only get 3 after losing to Everton in the Cup Final. But the demise of Chelsea and Arsenal over recent weeks is clear to see. If they had preformed like last year, Chelsea would be now be 4 points clear, and Arsenal level, with United.

We should be a very secure 6th. Frustration flows from the St. James' Park Massacre, as the win would have put us only 3 points behind Arsenal ? and while my heart remains hopeful my head says that without Arteta we will struggle to catch them. However even if we did, all it does is give the other European League place and more prize money, Champions League is a bridge too far in catching Chelsea who have a 10 point advantage on us for the last 12 games. Of course if Spurs win on Sunday they would be in Europe and if we do not win the Cup then we need United, Chelsea or Arsenal to be in the final (or us to make the final with one of them) to give a 6th place team a European slot.

As for the rest of the league, Portsmouth have slid badly after losing Harry, losing a point a game in the last 13. Carry on like that and it is 38 points and panic stations. And with their financial problems we could have another Leeds United. City, West Ham, Fulham and Wigan all picked up and look solid bets for not having to worry too much come Easter. And then there is the bottom 9 who could be separated by only a few points. Bolton seem to continue to outperform last year and so their abrasive style should be with us next year. Spurs, Stoke (Birmingham last year) and Sunderland are treading water. What a pain that Woodgate scored that late winner on Monday night! Newcastle will remain precarious with 3 wins last season in the remaining fixtures and with Arsenal, Chelsea and United to visit the North East, then a major improvement is unlikely. Stand by for some more ?supporters protests?. Don't you feel sorry for them ? err..... NO.

And then we have the four below the magic 40 points. Hull are still bottom. I was ridiculed by some people commenting on my December article that Hull were bottom and so here we are 7 games later and they have still not caught West Brom. They have only outperformed Derby by 2 points over the last 11 games. Perhaps those who stopped reading when they saw Hull at the bottom are still reading this time. It could be tight ? but if they do survive, they look a good bet for relegation next year. Wonder whether it is worth a punt now? West Brom, who are compared with Reading from last year seem doomed. So that leaves the two teams who have collapsed. Blackburn, having got rid of Ince and brought in that exponent of cultured football in the shape of Allardyce are now in the drop zone. And his magic touch has actually presided over them dropping another 6 points in the last 7 games. With visits to Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool then it will need all of their fighting spirit (and they normally have lots of that ? or is that just fighting?) to keep them up. Finally there is Boro. After a bright start with +6 points from the first 13 games, they have lost 10 in the last 13 and are sliding more and more towards the Championship.

So again I wait for all the comments that last year is no guarantee of this year blah blah. ?.. but last time I said that about 40% of results are the same from one year to the next, ? and there have been about 70 games played since then and guess what ? about 40% had the same result as last year! So no guarantee but for the true supporters from the city of Liverpool we can look forward to supporting United this Sunday, another third consecutive season in Europe (first time ever), effectively two new signings come August in the guise of Yakubu and Arteta, a bunch of great kids coming through and a great wave of sympathy for our neighbours that they were just so close to winning the premiership.

Reader Comments

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Alan Kirwin
1   Posted 27/02/2009 at 23:55:19

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Phil - you seem to place a lot of sway on statistics that, by your own admission, have a maximum of 40% certainty.

I don’t do predictions. I will however be surprised, nee stunned, if ManU win the league by 20 points as you suggest, and if we finish 13 points behind Villa given our respective run-ins, and if Hull finish bottom given their current points cushion.

It’s all good fun, but rather time consuming for something so meaningless. I actually did the BBC’s premier league predictor wholly objectively and we finished 2nd! See, utterly meaningless.
Paul Niklas
2   Posted 28/02/2009 at 08:37:48

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Utter rubbish, Villa third I will lay you any odds you want they wont finish in the top 4, in fact I will go as far to say that they will just about hold on to 5th.

The run in is the most important part of the season,and just because you do well in the first half of the seasom does not mean anything for the second hallf.

Everton a few seasons ago had a poor start and from December apart from Chelsea had the best record in the second half of the season.

Statistics prove one thing that they are as good a guess as somebody using the proverbial fag packet.

In this case me, we will see who is right on the last day of the season.
3   Posted 28/02/2009 at 10:14:35

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Don’t knock statistics guys, it plays a big part in football........ask the bookies, or the football pools companies,,,,!!!!! Nice bit of work Phil.
Jim Beam
4   Posted 28/02/2009 at 11:11:29

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Paul, What odds will you give me on Villa?

Peter Roberts
5   Posted 28/02/2009 at 16:56:13

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Phil isn’t saying this is how it exactly will play out; the table isn’t a spreadsheet. In a way, the most important part is to see how much teams have improved on last year, or gone backwards. All Phil says is with the same results they had in the games to come, Villa would finish 3rd. He isn’t actually saying they WILL finish third.

If there’s one thing the table does prove it’s that the Top Four is fast becoming a Top Six if you add on us and the Villa. We’re just as close to Chelsea on that points tally as we are to City.
Chris Brigden
6   Posted 28/02/2009 at 17:41:15

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As interesting as this is, I believe it places far too much emphasis on statstics.
If you were to put money on Hull finishing bottom, you?d be considered a madman. Anyone who believes these stats is a goat.
Paul Daly
7   Posted 28/02/2009 at 23:33:43

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Well as the singer says....

They say 3 percent of the people use 5 to 6 percent of their brain
97 percent use 3 percent and the rest goes down the drain
I’ll never know which one I am but I’ll bet you my last dime
99 percent think we’re 3 percent 100 percent of the time

64 percent of all the world’s statistics are made up right there on the spot
82.4 percent of people believe ’em whether they’re accurate statistics or not
I don’t know what you believe but I do know there’s no doubt
I need another double shot of something 90 proof
I got too much to think about

Too much to think about
Too much to figure out
Stuck between hope and doubt
It’s too much to think about

They say 92 percent of everything you learned in school was just bullshit you’ll never need
84 percent of everything you got you bought to satisfy your greed
Because 90 percent of the world’s population links possessions to success
Even though 80 percent of the wealthiest 1 percent of the population
Drinks to an alarming excess
More money, more stress

It’s too much to think about
Too much to figure out
Stuck between hope and doubt
It’s too much to think about
Pick it now

84 percent of all statisticians truly hate their jobs
They say the average bank robber lives within say about 20 miles of the bank that he robs
There’s this little bank not far from here I’ve been watching now for a while
Lately all I can think about’s how bad I wanna go out in style

And it’s too much to think about
Too much to figure out
Stuck between hope and doubt
It’s too much to think about
That’s right
It’s too much to think about
It’s too much to think about

Peter Hall
8   Posted 01/03/2009 at 00:01:53

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A word of advice, Phil ? don?t become a bookmaker. A spread bet on Chelsea based on 71 point total for this season would see everybody backing against you and you going broke. Chelsea spread bet area should be 77-79 points (71 has got no chance whatsoever).

Have a look at at Statto which does use a good statistical model.
Paul Hennessey
9   Posted 01/03/2009 at 07:16:06

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Paul Niklas, Name your price on Villa ? do you think we?ll finish above them???
Stu Jonno
10   Posted 01/03/2009 at 10:33:28

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I know, let's ask the FA to end the Premier League now and use statistics to decide everything!
Paul Connell
11   Posted 01/03/2009 at 13:20:53

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Villa won?t get near 74 points, but I do concede they have the points on the board and are likley to cling on. I was in a minority who believed we were still in the shout of 4th before mikel went down last week. In truth we would need 8 or 9 wins from out the last 11 to stand a chance. Without our genius this is now very unlikley. Despite this if man u win today we have a unique position of being virtually guaranteed uefa cup on march 1st! Surely this gives us great chance to attack arse and villa with nothing to lose an no pressure? Contrast that to Arse who will come increasingly nervy knowing 4th is demanded by fans and board and villa who win be starting to wish the season over to cling onto what they?ve got.

It may sound optimistic but I?ve just got a feeling we might be in the mix going into the last couple of weekends in may. If that?s possible though we would have to view wednesday night as a must win. If we do sneek a tight win though we should be in front of arse and the belief against adversity will return.
Matthew K. Salem
12   Posted 01/03/2009 at 17:59:00

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Manure take League Cup on Penalties, 6th is all we need...end of discussion! COYB!!!!
Paul Niklas
13   Posted 01/03/2009 at 22:01:00

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I will give any odds you want, Phils so called stats went out the window in one afternoon today.

Villa are not as good as we are and I am 100% confident of that point.

They in my opinion are about to start their bad run of games which we had at the beginning of the season and they have a much tougher run in than we do.

I said in my previuos post they will struggle to hold on to 5th as will Arsenal as will we, but again in my opinion we have as much chance of 4th or 5th as they do.

And another point the stats suggest we will pick up 22 more points from 33 and only add one goal to our goal difference, which suggests to me someone is going to knock ten past us in one of the remaining games.

Phil Roberts
14   Posted 01/03/2009 at 23:18:20

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Paul - as it said at the very start - If the same results happen, then this will be the result. So we have 11 games left and in those 11 games last season we picked up 17 points.

At home we beat City, Stoke and Wigan and we drew with Spurs and West Ham. That would be a +4 goal difference from now and 11 points.
Away we won at Sunderland, drew at Blackburn Chelsea and Portsmouth and lost at Villa and Fulham. That would be a -2 goal difference and 6 points.

We can argue and hypothersize as much as we want - but this gives an INDICATION of where teams will finish IF they do what they did last season in the corresponding fixture. Today we have had some real change arounds. 4 minutes from time, did you really think Villa were going to drop any points - but on the table in this article it takes them down to 72 and 4th place. Bolton lost at home last year to Newcastle so today’s result put the Barcodes down to a POTENTIAL 37 points and 18th place! I did say in the article "Newcastle will remain precarious" because they have a very tough run in and getting points will not be easy for them.

So it is an INDICATION. Yes Hull will not finish bottom, I am fairly sure of that - but the INDICATION is that they are struggling to pick up the points now. It has been 9 from the last 18 games. What this method does do is pick quite quickly a team which is starting to slip - so for me Liverpool were never going to win the title from around about end November because they were not picking up points compared to last year.

Nothing will give me greater pleasure that seeing Villa implode, Arsenal continue to fire blanks and us get the 4th spot - but I don’t think it will happen. OK it needs Villa to really start dropping points against teams they beat last year. We would only lose 2 more games in our run in so the chance of use getting close to 70 is unlikely. So they will need to drop 6-8 compared to last year and Arsenal need to not improve.

Let’s wait and see and I will give another update after Easter when there are still 6 games to go.
Karl Parsons
15   Posted 02/03/2009 at 09:10:06

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With United winning yesterday does this mean Spurs get a back door into Europe or the place goes to the 6th Team in the League?
Phil Roberts
16   Posted 02/03/2009 at 09:22:14

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Spurs have locked away the passports. The place goes to the 6th placed team. If The Big 4 win their Quarter Finals on Saturday then it will also mean the runners up in the cup are also already in Europe so that means the 7th placed team is in Europe.

Karl - don’t worry, we are there - and one of the top seeds, just like last time
Kev Clark
17   Posted 02/03/2009 at 11:00:13

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Well there it is, United took the cup, not much of a surprise as I’m sure it was a fix to get the RS into Europe - when THEY only manage to finish below us in 6th place!! haha
Paul Sullivan
18   Posted 02/03/2009 at 12:30:36

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We don’t have the squad to sustain a UEFA cup campaign AND a serious assault on the top 4. Moreover, the revenue from the UEFA cup is won’t provide the cash for the extra 4/5 quality players we will need. All the TV money goes at the CL, I think Channel 5/ITV pay about a fiver for UEFA cup rights. I love seeing Everton competing in Europe but, as Villa and Spurs (with their larger squads) just proved by giving up on the UEFA cup, it doesn’t make sense to try and win it at the expense of PL position. It’s crap that football has come to this. I actually think Platini’s move to stop the top 4 getting access to the CL will improve the profile of the UEFA cup as it will force some of the giants to play in it - TV revenue will go up and it will regain some of it’s prestige. There needs to be some restoration of parity because this big 4 hegemony is just becoming boring.

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