It’s funny how the opinion of the Premier League table being able to tell us nothing to it being all-important swings around the turn of November every season.
The early weeks of the campaign are often a bedding-in process for teams up and down the division, but with eleven games gone, we’re now entering the main body of the campaign – which is prompting talk surrounding title and relegation fights.
Middlesbrough are a side widely expected to be battling in the latter mini-league, with the newly-promoted Teessiders among arguably the six weakest teams in the division.
However, Football FanCast have been impressed with Aitor Karanka’s side thus far, so we’ve done some digging and unearthed THREE stats that really do hint that they’ll be a top tier team this time next season.
Since the 1995/96 season, the 18th placed team in the Premier League has averaged 0.9 points-per-game, with 17th staying up on 38.4. Boro, as things stand, are averaging a point-a-game with eleven from eleven, which will put them, albeit narrowly, in the window of safety. Granted, Bolton slipped through the trapdoor with 44 points in 2002/03, but that was very much an anomaly, with Newcastle (37), Hull (35) and Norwich (33) the most recent 18th-place finishers.
(Graph via the Mirror)
Away form can often be the factor that splits those who drop and those who don’t, so Middlesbrough’s success on the road this term is encouraging. Their last-gasp equaliser at Manchester City took them to seven points from six games, a record bettered by only 11th place West Brom in terms of bottom half teams – the Baggies have eight. Boro’s record stands at one win, four draws and one loss.
Of all the teams in the bottom half of the table, Boro have conceded the fewest goals. Twelve shipped in eleven games is some going, with table-topping Liverpool having had their backline breached 14 times. Scoring goals is the issue, however, with their ten the joint second-worst record in the division – only Sunderland (nine) have been less effective in front of goal. Another interesting stats in terms of defensive solidity is Middlesbrough’s 253 tackles, which is the highest registered by any team after eleven games.