Averaging two points per game over a whole season guarantees automatic promotion.
It’s incredibly rare for three teams to do this.
In the last ten seasons there have been just two occasions when two teams have averaged two points per game and five occasions when no teams have averaged this.
In those ten seasons the lowest total to win the title was 87 points (Cardiff City, 2012/13) and the lowest to finish second was 79 (Hull City, same season).
The highest total not to finish first or second was Brighton with 89 (2015/16). This tells us that 90 points will almost certainly be enough for second place.
The lowest total to make the play-offs in the last ten years was 68 (Leicester, 2012/13) and the highest total not to make the play-offs was 78 (Wolves, 2014/15).
It was an unusual season in 2016/17 when six teams got 80 points or more (Leeds were seventh on 75). This tells us that 80 points will definitely make the play-offs, and apart from 2016/17, 75 points always has done.
This season United have 50 points from 28 games, an average of 1.785 points per game.
Over 46 games this makes 82 points, which is almost definitely top four but only once in the last ten years has that been enough for top two.
To get 90 points United need 40 from 18 games (2.22 points/game), which is the equivalent of a 102-point season.
That’s tough, but the way things are going mid-80s might be sufficient for top two this season.
To get 75 points United need 25 more from 18 games, or 1.39 per game, or as good as Birmingham, QPR, Forest and Villa.
That shouldn’t be too hard, should it?