It’s an old adage in football that you can’t take the league table seriously until ten games are played and while we are a bit behind the Championship reached that milestone at the weekend. So with no games this weekend it’s a good time to take stock on how we are doing.
If this was Facebook then the answer to that question would go something like “We’re doing terrible, we should be in the top two. Yeung out!” but I’d like to offer a more realistic analysis. The answer is probably that it’s a case of us doing as well as can be expected considering the upheaval over the summer.
Blues currently sit 17th with eleven points from eight games. If both of the games in hand were won then we could be 5th. Of course games in hand are not always won but with both of those games being at home it’s not unreasonable to expect four points that would put us 11th. That would still leave us seven points of the top and five from second but we could hardly be considered to be adrift. We are a long way from the relegation that people were predicting all summer. This is despite the fact that our fixture list has seen us travel to the current top three.
I’m not saying that we are in any way doing really well. You could argue that the points total might even flatter us as while we have gained four points from our last two games we have probably only played well for a combined twenty-five minutes. In both games we only really woke up in the last quarter. The team have still not settled and the Europa Cup is having a negative effect on performances immediately following. Jordon Mutch’s injury was a big blow and he has not really been replaced. Other than Chris Burke on the right there doesn’t seem to be a first choice midfield. The experiment of using Wade Elliot as a second striker should be sent to the same tactics graveyard as Heskey on the left and Alex Bruce as a holding midfielder.
One thing that gives me encouragement is that a lot of the early pace setters have started to falter and other than Southampton nobody is putting together a good run. In the last two weeks most of the top six sides have dropped points to those below them. It really is a league when anybody can beat anybody. In the last five years the average points total for automatic promotion has been eighty-four and to make the playoffs seventy-three have been needed. This year it might be less so maybe just seventy points would be enough for sixth. I see a playoff position as being our realistic target this year and that means getting an average of just over one and a half points a game. That would mean a current total of twelve so we are only just below par.
I also expect us to get better as the season goes on as the team that had been built from variety of spare parts starts to gel. With a little investment in January and most likely no European distraction the second half of the season may well result in more points that the first. At least when we are creating only a few chances we now have the strike force to take advantage. It’s a big boost that Chris Wood will be staying until January as long as Shane Long and Peter Odemwinge don’t get crocked before then. Hopefully the financial situation will be clearer by the end of the year as well.
So there are reasons to be cheerful after all. What does everybody else think? I’m particularly interested from hearing from those who commented over the summer saying how we would be in administration by October and in League One in May. What do they think now?
You can also comment via Twitter (@Aylesbury_Blue) where you can swear without Kev deleting the bad words.