Points Per Game Examined

(Courtesy Graham Burrell)

The points per game model has been suggested as a possible end to the season, with this article from a month ago putting forward possible league tables.

I’m not suggesting this is how the season will finish, I don’t know and I certainly won’t be putting sensationalist headlines like ‘this is where your club could finish’, but I’ve done a little bit of work around the PPG model this weekend. Well, it’s still too wet to do the first treatment on my log cabin, so what else is there?

Firstly, why? If it isn’t speculation, then why? I firmly believe the season has to come to a conclusion, rather than being voided. Joe Morrell did play for Lincoln City, we did beat Ipswich 5-3; these things matter. We can’t just go ‘f*ck it, we’re done’, no matter how much Manchester United fans would love to see that happen. We have to finish and even if there are no play-offs and just promotion and relegation in automatic spots, so be it.

I can’t see games happening in front of crowds and being honest, I’m not sure even behind closed doors will happen. Imagine the strain on NHS staff required at games, just to cover in case a player got injured. How bad would the tabloids take that, football stealing from the pandemic just to get games played? Also, where do you stop? Do you not play dead rubbers? Are they all played at a neutral ground? How far into June or July do we go, disrupting next season?

That’s why PPG has appealed to me from the start, but it seemed unlikely a month ago. I think it feels more like a solution now, which is why I’ve put this work in. I retweeted The Real EFL article I wrote earlier today for context, but someone pointed out on Twitter that the flaw in the PPG model is that it doesn’t account for home and away games. That’s quite correct, which is why I’ve worked out the PPG for each of the clubs in our division, home and away, and then worked out a total based on their remaining games. I shall contrast this with the PPG model that simply awards based on the number of games currently.

Team P W D L F A GD PTS PPG PPG1
 Coventry City 34 18 13 3 48 30 18 67 1.97 87
 Rotherham 35 18 8 9 61 38 23 62 1.77 78
 Wycombe 34 17 8 9 45 40 5 59 1.74 76
 Fleetwood 35 16 12 7 51 38 13 60 1.71 75
 Oxford Utd 35 17 9 9 61 37 24 60 1.71 75
 Portsmouth 35 17 9 9 53 36 17 60 1.71 75
 Peterborough 35 17 8 10 68 40 28 59 1.69 74
 Sunderland 36 16 11 9 48 32 16 59 1.64 72
 Doncaster 34 15 9 10 51 33 18 54 1.59 70
 Gillingham 35 12 15 8 42 34 8 51 1.46 64
 Ipswich Town 36 14 10 12 46 36 10 52 1.44 64
 Burton Albion 35 12 12 11 50 50 0 48 1.37 60
 Blackpool 35 11 12 12 44 43 1 45 1.29 57
 Bristol Rovers 35 12 9 14 38 49 -11 45 1.29 57
 Shrewsbury 34 10 11 13 31 42 -11 41 1.21 53
 Lincoln City 35 12 6 17 44 46 -2 42 1.2 53
 Accrington 35 10 10 15 47 53 -6 40 1.14 50
 Rochdale 34 10 6 18 39 57 -18 36 1.06 47
 Milton Keynes 35 10 7 18 36 47 -11 37 1.06 47
 AFC Wimbledon 35 8 11 16 39 52 -13 35 1 44
 Tranmere 34 8 8 18 36 60 -24 32 0.94 41
 Southend Utd 35 4 7 24 39 85 -46 19 0.54 24
 Bolton 34 5 11 18 27 66 -39 14 0.76 22

Assuming the top two go up, we’d say goodbye to Coventry and Rotherham, with Tranmere, Southend and Bolton going down. I have read somewhere that they may make way for no relegation and increase the number of fixtures, but that wouldn’t really be fair. Southend and Bolton have been doomed all season and remember Tranmere do have a big win against Bolton kids in that total, so have less grounds for claiming things are not ‘fair’.

We’d finish 16th, a half-decent finish given the turbulent season, four wins clear of the bottom three. Also, notice that by this model Peterborough wouldn’t finish in a top-six spot, which Darragh MacAnthony said would cause him to resign. He might be a bit happier with a system that took home and away games into consideration though; his side would finish fourth under that model.

Home Away Remaining
PPG PPG Home Away Total PPG Goal diff Total Points
1 Coventry 2.24 1.71 5 5 20 18 87
2 Rotherham 1.71 1.83 5 4 16 23 78
3 Oxford 2.12 1.33 5 4 16 24 76
4 Peterboro 2.29 1.11 5 4 16 28 75
5 Fleetwood Town 2.06 1.35 4 5 15 13 75
6 Wycombe 2.33 1.06 4 6 16 5 75
7 Portsmouth 2.33 1.06 4 5 15 17 75
8 Sunderland 2.00 1.24 3 5 12 16 71
9 Doncaster 1.84 1.27 3 7 14 18 68
10 Gillingham 1.76 1.17 5 4 13 8 64
11 Ipswich 1.35 1.53 5 3 11 10 63
12 Burton 1.53 1.22 5 4 13 0 61
13 Blackpool 1.71 0.89 5 4 12 1 57
14 Bristol Rvs 1.50 1.06 4 5 11 -11 56
15 Lincoln 1.94 0.50 5 4 12 -2 54
16 Shrewsbury 1.35 1.06 5 5 12 -11 53
17 Accrington 1.35 0.94 5 4 11 -6 51
18 Rochdale 1.19 0.94 6 4 11 -18 47
19 Milton Keynes Dons 1.56 0.53 4 5 9 -11 46
20 AFC Wimbledon 1.33 0.65 4 5 9 -13 44
21 Tranmere 0.88 1.00 5 5 9 -24 41
22 Southend 0.59 0.50 5 4 5 -46 24
23 Bolton 1.18 0.35 5 5 8 -39 22

That’s the only real change to the overall table though. We’d rise one place, not that it matters, by virtue of having a good home record and more home games left to play than away. Tranmere would still be relegated, but of course, no simulation could adequate predict the outcome of their game against Wimbledon, a game that if they won might put them in the driving seat to stay up.

The truth is this: nobody knows what will happen, but PPG is one method which could settle the season.

4 Comments

  1. I have to roll my eyes, when people like you have a knock at people like me who are fans of Manchester United. First Lincoln City are my favourite club, Live, brought up and love The City of Lincoln. Yes, I no longer attend games (practical reasons). Though I support the Imps in other ways. Why am I a United fan. As a 7.1/2 lad I remember Munich. The terrible news and those front and back pages of the Daily Mirror, Reporting the crash. My late father with tears in his eys (first time I ever saw that). The 1963, Cup final.win over Leicester City. Wembly 1968. Sir Matt’s proud face at full time easing 10 years of hurt. Yes some fans are glory hunters, There are just as many Liverpool ‘fans’. Yet its Manchester fans are the ones that get knocked. I like your articles Gary I agree with most. No matter how this season is resolved it will not please everyone. Once an Imp always an Imp. Keep safe

    • I’m not sure I knocked fans of Man United Kelvin, one of my very best friends is a United ST holder. My dog here was at the clubs wanting the season to end to stop Liverpool winning the league. I know lots of two-team supporters and whilst it is alien to me, I’ve never been one to pick on people for it. Pete would never forgive me.

  2. I’m like Kelvin but not so long, again since I was very young it’s always been Lincoln and United for me since around 1967. I remember Uniteds European Cup in 68 and being at Sincil Bank in the record attendance v Derby. One of the first times we ever went in the stands as it was a horrendously wet night, I recall the game being stopped, maybe more than once, so water could be swept out of the goalmouth so the game could continue, I was at the game when the wall behind the goal came down v Stoke as well. The game v United U21s was as near to my dream game as it could be, one day perhaps.
    In latter years I had drifted away but had my spirit rekindled 3 years ago and now attend some games when I can with family. Keep up the good work ImpsUnited !

  3. Firstly I don’t have a problem with nulling and voiding the season. Yeah we beat Ipswich and it was brilliant. I was driving home from family and going nuts in the car to the audio Ifollow coverage. If the season stops it doesn’t mean I didn’t have that moment or that the game meant nothing. This though is a philosophical thing I think and you either have to have a conclusion or you don’t and it is just a feeling you have one way or the other. Logically for me I can’t see how the season can possibly be the same, just with a massive 3 month chunk of a break, but understand arguments the other way. I just feel that it doesn’t nee concluding.

    For the PPG, and with respect, I think it is a nonsense idea. You have to play all the teams twice for it to be a league or else it is completely imbalanced and largely disadvantages those suffering from quirks of the fixture list. A good example of another reason it would be harsh is the premiership. Spurs are a point a head of Arsenal, and currently hold the last European spot. They have though played a game more. By points per game Arsenal go ahead of Spurs because they have fewer games to divide the total by. These are of course the harsh realities of having to do something etc etc. However the game in hand is away to Man City.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Points Per Game; How Would It Have Looked Last Season? – The Stacey West
  2. Imps To Favour Ending Season Under These Circumstances – The Stacey West

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