Sheffield Wednesday: What will the Owls need to avoid relegation?

It has long been the adage that if you want to survive in the Championship then you need to aim for 50 points.

Tuesday, 13th March 2018, 9:44 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th March 2018, 9:45 pm
Lucas Joao celebrates a goal

Like everything in football, you cannot take anything for granted and there are no guarantees that reaching the ‘Magic 50’ will keep you in the division.

But this season, it seems the safety mark will be set much lower than usual.

Sheffield Wednesday currently sit on 38 points with nine games remaining.

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So, how many points will they need to pick up in their last few games in order to ensure this campaign does not end in disastrous relegation?


Looking back over the last 30 seasons of second tier football, the average number of points required to avoid the drop is 47.8.

The lowest points tally needed in that time was just 41 - two seasons ago - with the highest being 55, when the Owls narrowly avoided the drop in the 2012/13 campaign.

It appears this season that the relegation line will be set lower than average.


Taking the points totals of the current Championship sides after 36 games, the total required to be outside the bottom three was just 31 points - the second lowest total in the last 30 years.

This suggests the bottom three sides are performing worse than sides in their position typically do.

Looking at the difference between the number of points needed to be outside the relegation zone after 36 games and at the end of the season, the average is 11.3.

Should this average be met this season, it would mean 43 points would be enough to stay up.

Last season saw a 16 point difference between the 36 points needed to sit 21st after 36 games to the 52 point mark needed after the final game of the season. This 16 point difference was the joint highest of the last 30 years, along with the 1993/94 season.

The lowest difference of the last 30 years was only five points, during the 2015/16 season. That season saw the bottom three cut adrift early which ensured no real relegation battle.

On the six occasions when it has required 34 or fewer points to be outside the bottom three after 36 games, the average points needed after 46 games has been 43.5.


Tracking the points of the sides towards the bottom of the table can offer a crude prediction of the totals with which they will finish. This does not take into account any upturns in form from any of those sides.

It also suggests it would require 39 points to avoid relegation, which does not match up with traditional averages.


Another hypothetical situation to examine is what would happen if teams at the bottom end of the division replicated their best ten game run from the season over the final ten games.

Birmingham, Burton and Sunderland would remain the bottom three in this scenario with 45 points required to secure safety.


The signs point to a low points tally being required - around 42 to 45 points.

If the Owls maintain their average form through the last few matches (1.07 points per game) then they should be comfortably safe.