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Is a Champions League place still Possible?

By Mike Oates :  17/09/2010 :  Comments (9) :
Is it mathematically still possible to reach 4th place in the league? Well.. of course, yes ? if we win our next 34 games ? but let's get realistic and see what history has shown us.

Back to the question I set. Being the geek many of you will recognise from previous articles over the years, I started by looking at the likely points you need to get to finish 4th. Over the last 6 years the number of points required to finish 4th together with the total stats for Wins Draws and Loses for the 4th-placed team were as follows:

 
2005	 Everton	  61pts		W 18, D 7, L 13 
2006	 Arsenal	  67pts		W 20, D 7, L 11 
2007	 Arsenal	  68pts		W 19, D 11, L 8 
2008	 Liverpool	  76pts		 W 21, D 13, L 4 
2009     Arsenal	  72pts		 W 20, D 12, L 6 
2010	 Spurs		  70pts		 W 21, D 7, L 10 

If you remember last season, three teams ? Spurs, City and Aston Villa ? were either not in Europe at all or were knocked out after the earlier rounds, and the competition for 4th was intense until late on. Well, this season, I suspect the likes of Spurs, City and Liverpool will do well in Europe and therefore none of them will be clear favourites for 4th (assuming Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal tie up first three places) and the number of points required is likely to be 70 ? 72 points in a good competitive league. Going in hand with the stats, you can probably assume the maximum number of games you can afford to lose is about 8 and draw about 10.

So, with 34 games to go, can Everton get another 70 points or so to compete with the others for 4th place? Well, one good piece of news is that City, Spurs and Liverpool have also screwed up their start, all with only 5 points to date. I think we can forget Villa as I really don?t see them competing, with the squad they?ve got, together with the management changes... I mean, we really should have battered them two weeks ago.

To get 70 points, the easy way would be to win 24 games, and we can afford to lose the other 10 games or even draw some and get more than 70 points! Is this possible? I really don?t know... but, looking at history, to win 24 games is the form for the team in 2nd/3rd place in the league and I don?t think we?re there yet. The minimum number of games we have to win is 18 games provided we draw the other 16 games and lose 0 ? highly unlikely!

So, realistically and basing the following on at least some previous facts for 4th place, the range of scenarios is as follows:- Wins Wins Wins Wins Wins Wins Wins 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 Draws Draws Draws Draws Draws Draws Draws 0 1 4 7 10 13 16 Losses Losses Losses Losses Losses Losses Losses 10 10 8 6 4 2 0

If you take the above comment about 8 games maximum to lose, and likely 10 games to draw then with our current league situation of W 0, D 2, L 2 then the likely scenario for the remaining 34 games is the mid-point box of Wins 21, Draws 7, Losses 6.

Can we restrict the losses to six more games? ? We have at least five tough away games against the top teams, Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool and with four of them also at Goodison... We are bound sometime to get done by a mid-table team or two, the like of Fulham, Birmingham, Stoke, or Man City (although I just can't see them challenging this year for a Top 4 place).

Some might say (me included) that to earn 4th place you should be demonstrating that you?ve arrived by beating United, Chelsea et al at home. With 17 games at Goodison to come, I really do think we need to target at least something like 14 wins and 2 draws and lose 1 (probably bloody Liverpool or Spurs knowing us). This will leave us with 7 wins away (again stats show the 4th team normally only wins 7 games away), 5 draws and 5 losses (United, Arsenal, Chelsea, and a couple more).

Can we do it? Well... yes, I think at this stage it's still possible... JUST ? especially as our main rivals have also slipped up to date and, as stated, all are in Europe, which should affect their League performances (I hope). What we can?t do is lose to the likes of Newcastle on Saturday; our homes games are crucial to our chances, as also is the need to actually WIN when we dominate the likes of Villa. An extra 5 points to our current total would have made our chances so much rosier...

Howard Kendall has just penned at article in the Echo stating that Saturday?s game against Newcastle is a big game for Everton, but he states it's not crucial; well, I think it's absolutely crucial ? in fact, drawing or losing this game not only would make the future schedule very difficult re points required from games, but I just don?t see us having any confidence to take on the already tough away games at Fulham and Birmingham.

After all the pre-season hype, we have once again made things difficult for ourselves but it is not impossible. Of course things might get easier if some of our main rivals slip badly, but one of them will surely still manage some form ? enough to make us target 70 points. We just might be lucky and find a scrappy mid-60s total being enough for 4th place... just look at our total for 2004-05 ? a magnificent 61 points!!

Reader Comments

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Charles King
1   Posted 17/09/2010 at 18:51:08

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Yes, it is possible; in a similar vein, it's possible the Pope will arrive in Birmingham for Mass on Vespa.
Jon Cox
2   Posted 17/09/2010 at 19:32:12

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Charles, would that be Birmingham, via Damasus? Dont forget, await the knock on the door around 4.30 am. LoL

But back to the acting, does anyone honestly believe that even if we finish 43rd that anyone will not continue to love and support our club.

Believe me i've thought about it several times but in the end all roads lead to Goodison.

Now then, in times past i'd always had a certain respect for the fans and the geography of Newcastle. I even like Cathrine Cookson, but when reading on this site about the spitting from the Newcasle fans on our lads at Sid James park, I now loath and hate these guys.

Obviously for another thread but what does everyone think the team should be.

For me, it's

Howard,

Hibbs Jags Heitinger Bains

Coleman Fella Arteta Pienaar

Becks Yakubu

4-1

COYB
Mike Green
3   Posted 17/09/2010 at 21:13:33

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100% - WE CAN DO IT!!!
Stephen Kenny
4   Posted 18/09/2010 at 08:39:59

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Iwould say it's possible, but slightly improbable. If the Yak were to get fit and Moyes brought back the defensive solidity we were known for a couple of season's ago, I would say highly likely. COYB
Mike Allison
5   Posted 18/09/2010 at 12:04:37

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The formatting has gone weird so I haven't read every word of your theory, but that's probably just as well.

Is it possible? Of course it is. With 34 out of 38 games to go it is possible that we win the league or finish bottom. Maybe you'll just accept that 'possible' is the wrong word but it is the one you used. It is very, very unlikely that we finish above Chelsea this season, and, I would argue, even more unlikely that we finish below Blackpool, West Brom and probably a few others.

But how likely is a Champions League place? I accept its probably odds against, but none of the rivals, by which I mean last year's top 7, are looking special with the exception of Chelsea, and I think we're now in a position where, if form and confidence start to build, we go into games against them anywhere feeling we can get a result, if not three points.

If Yakubu becomes a footballer again, Distin is dropped and some solution is found to the right hand side debacle (there are possibilities within the squad done to death on other threads) then its far more than possible, we have a decent chance.
Martin Faulkner
6   Posted 18/09/2010 at 13:05:48

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what's with the text on this article?
Liu Weixian
7   Posted 18/09/2010 at 13:34:52

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It's possible if Moyes shows some pluck and orders his team to ATTACK!
Charles King
8   Posted 18/09/2010 at 19:31:28

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Call the police. someone's stole the typeface
Peter Raynor
9   Posted 22/09/2010 at 09:31:06

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This was never going to happen. Or did you think a league one striker was going to make the difference this year?

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