In this simulation, we will predict the outcomes of the remaining fixtures of Newcastle United’s season to evaluate what needs to happen in order to avoid relegation. Before we can decide what games United must get points from, we must calculate a projected point total for safety.
In past seasons, the club in 18th place was relegated with this many points:
34 (Hull) in 2016-17
37 (Newcastle) in 2015-16
35 (Hull) in 2014-15
33 (Norwich) in 2013-14
36 (Wigan) in 2012-13
36 (Bolton) in 2011-12
39 (Birmingham) in 2010-11
30 (Burnley) in 2009-10
34 (Newcastle) in 2008-09
36 (Reading) in 2007-08
38 (Sheffield United) in 2006-07
35 (Birmingham) in 2005-06
33 (Crystal Palace) in 2004-05
The average number of points collected by the 18th place team in the last 13 Premier League seasons is 35.1 points. This means that any team which earns 36 points in a Premier League season should be safe more than 50% of the time. Two standard deviations from the average number of points by the 18th place team puts the total at 39.6 points. This evaluation states that any team that earns at least 40 points in the Premier League should be safe any year.
The magic number for Newcastle is 40 points. Here is how we can get there.
There are 11 games left in the season and Newcastle need 12 points to essentially guarantee safety.
@ Bournemouth ~ Win - An away win here would be great. A point would be fine
@ Liverpool ~ Loss - Can’t expect to beat one of the scariest teams in Europe
vs Southampton ~ Win - Most important game. Cannot drop points to teams below
@ Tottenham ~ Loss - Too much class in that side, would be a massive away point
vs Huddersfield ~ Win - The lads need to take care of business at home
@ Leicester ~ Draw - Leicester is a tough fixture, especially on the road
vs Arsenal ~ Draw - Newcastle shows up in these types of games
@ Everton ~ Loss - A win here would energize the team to win two more
vs West Brom ~ Win - This has to be a win. Against the last place team at St. James’
@ Watford ~ Loss - Could be discouraged by poor displays vs Everton and WBA
vs Chelsea ~ Loss - Depends on whether Chelsea are playing for a UEFA spot
If these results happen, then Newcastle has 42 points and they are soundly above the relegation zone. Four wins would do the trick, but three wins and three draws would as well. The wins against Southampton and Huddersfield at home are the most irreplaceable results because a night of cold finishing against West Brom could mean that Southampton or Huddersfield move above United into safety. If Newcastle beats Southampton, Huddersfield, and West Brom, I think that they can get away with only managing one point from all the other fixtures and avoid relegation with 38 points. Newcastle’s goal differential is at least six goals higher than five of the teams below them, so they are well-equipped for a photo finish.