Back on the 6th March before the Dagenham & Redbridge match, Town stood on 67 points with 13 matches remaining. At that time Paolo Di Canio looked ahead to what points tally might be needed to secure automatic promotion…
“Obviously I want to finish top and I want to win 12 from 13. My brain says 13, but five and 15 points can be enough. If you have 82 points, in my opinion, you go up.”
So will 82 points see Swindon – or any other team for that matter – promoted automatically from League Two?
The standard of League Two has been stronger than recent seasons with the top 7 pushing each other along since early October. While Wycombe finished third with 80 points last season and Rochdale secured automatic promotion with 82 a year before; with a maximum points tally of 95 to 86 available for the chasing pack from Torquay to Cheltenham, 82 to finish third does seem slightly on the low side.
With this in mind, I’ve spoken to Mystic Meg and had a go at ‘predicting’ the remaining results in League Two. I know from previous comments that some of our readers couldn’t give two hoots about predictions, but nonetheless carrying out the exercise gave some food for thought. The outcome of each match has been calculated on the basis of points won per game on a home and away basis AND on the data collected on defensive and attacking efficiency; as explained below.
Here’s what the table probably won’t look like at 5pm on the 5th May…
Swindon are ‘predicted’ to drop 4 points – away at Aldershot and Gillingham – to finish on an unlikely, yet fantastic if it were to be true, final points tally of 99. I can’t see it happening, particularly the 11 from 15 points on our travels as we’ve just not been that strong at securing the points away from the County Ground.
If this were true…Town’s total will be 9 points clear of Crawley and Shrewsbury who will need goal difference to separate them for runners up, which will be very close considering there is just a goal between the two at present.
The top three are ‘predicted’ to be well ahead of Oxford and Torquay who are both on 84 points. This is just ahead of the 82 points Paolo indicated would be enough to secure promotion without another trip to Wembley.
So, if these predictions turn out to be true, which they won’t because football isn’t played in a spreadsheet, Swindon will need an extra win to reach 85 and stand a good chance of finishing 3rd. That’s 9 points and 3 wins in a row, which makes Good Friday and the away match against Morecambe THE match to attend…
As for the League Two title, if everything goes to plan with 5 successive wins, which it won’t, the home match against Plymouth could be a match at which to celebrate… although mathematically it may not be an absolute certainty on that day…
Our rivals Oxford United are likely to finish the strongest of the chasing pack, making up 7 points and catching Torquay to finish in 4th with 84 points. The Us run is thanks to a favourable remaining 7 games, seeing them face lower placed sides and fellow promotion chasers Torquay and Southend at the Kassam, with wins predicted for the hosts in both crucial games. Torquay will draw at home to Southend and only win one of their four away games – at Hereford – to see them fall away from the top.
Southend drop to 7th following a likely home defeat by Cheltenham and dropped points at Oxford and Torquay, but are still predicted to maintain a reasonable gap to Gillingham in 8th.
Crewe have recently surged up the table but I see they’ll stutter and drop points at home to Aldershot, Rovers, Cheltenham and a resurgent Northampton. With two tricky trips to Torquay and Crawley they won’t have enough in the bag to secure 7th.
The ‘prediction’ suggest Hereford won’t pick up a single point in their 7 matches. You might think that’s a load of codswallop and you’re probably right…
How many points do you think will be required to see a team secure 3rd place or the League Two title?
The win, lose or draw result for each match has been generated on the basis of applying two assessments.
Firstly, the points won per game difference for each match is calculated using the home vs away form to date for each team. A positive result equals a win and so on.
Secondly, our rankings – see earlier post - are used to calculate which team wins each match in a comparison between the efficiency battle in attack vs defence. Again separate home and away data is used. A positive result equals a win and so on.
Then thirdly, the sum of the two results then provide the overall ‘prediction’. A score of 6 or 4 suggests a victory, 3 or 2 indicates a draw and a score of 1 or 0 suggests a defeat.