Revealed! The points tally Sheffield United will need to reach to pull off Premier League great escape

Premier League managers often seem to reference a tally of 40 points as the threshold their teams must reach to ensure survival – but will Sheffield United actually have to win that many to secure their top flight status this season?

Thursday, 11th February 2021, 5:58 pm
EPL match balls. (Photo by Paul Ellis - Pool/Getty Images)

The Blades are undoubtedly in a very precarious position going into the final leg of the season.

Chris Wilder’s men struggled to hit their stride in the early exchanges of the campaign, and a dreadful barren run has left them with an awful lot of ground to make up on their rivals.

United are currently 12 points adrift of safety with 15 games left to play.

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There have been some causes for the occasional glimmer of optimism in recent weeks, however, with wins over Manchester United and West Brom just about keeping the dream of a great escape alive.

With that in mind, we’ve ran the numbers to see what points tally should see Wilder’s men to safety this term, and to figure out the best way that they can reach that total.

How many points will be enough to avoid relegation?

It goes without saying that there is no hard and fast rule on how many points will actually be enough come the end of the season.

No two relegation battles are the same, and the 2020/21 campaign in particular has been a topsy-turvy affair to say the least.

What we can do, however, is look back through the history books to determine a points tally that is most likely to ensure survival.

Over the past decade, Premier League clubs who have finished 18th in the table have recorded points totals of 34, 34, 33, 34, 37, 35, 33, 36, 36, and 39, stretching all the way back to the 2010/11 campaign.

As such, anything above those tallies in any of those given seasons would have been enough to secure survival.

By adding one point to each of those totals and dividing it by 10, we reach an average of 36.1.

Goal difference notwithstanding, that means Premier League sides, on average, have had to win 37 points to ensure their top flight status over the past decade.

The only two occasions in the past 10 years in which 37 points wouldn’t have guaranteed safety came in 2010/11, when Birmingham City picked up 39 points and finished 18th, and in 2015/16, when Newcastle United reached 37 points with a goal difference of -21.

What do Sheffield United need to do to reach 37 points?

The Blades are currently on 11 points with 23 games played, meaning that they need to take 26 points from their last 15 matches.

Eight wins and two draws would be a minimum requirement, meaning that they can only lose five times between now and the end of the season.

To put it another way, they need a points per game average of 1.73. Their current PPG is just 0.47.

In terms of clashes that will be earmarked as winnable, however, United still have matches against bottom-half sides Fulham, Southampton, Arsenal, Wolves, Brighton, Crystal Palace, Newcastle, and Burnley to come.