On Neb's 28 pt improvement, UPDATED 09/30/2013 ETBEST!

One of our number has unabashedly shared his quite optimistic (read: delusional) view of a 28 point improvement for our beloved club this season. I for one am obviously rooting for this 28 point improvement, though I personally think we're going to fall somewhere between a 15-18 point improvement myself (good for 2nd or 3rd last year). But, I love to dream, so I find myself thinking... why can't we do a 28 pt improvement? We've gotten better players in, deadwood out, and are exhibiting a budding toughness and mentality that is a pleasure to watch. We certainly had our fair share of bad luck last season with regards to posts, crossbars, penalty decisions, and just generally not being able to translate our awesomeness on the pitch into maximum points. And while our love affair with the woodwork seems to have continued early on into this season (/shakes fist!!!), we seem to have shaken (at least temporarily) our struggles with the other two. And no, I'm not going to knock on or touch wood... the lads did enough of that against Notts Landing County last week, we should be safe.

First, the bad news... a 28 point improvement from our total of 61 last year, would put us at 89 points, which just happens to be the league winning point total for both of the last 2 years, and the most since Man U hit 90 during Liverpool's awesome 08/09 season. With the stacked rosters at Man City and Chelsea (not to mention Man U, Tottenham, and Örzenal), I'm not sure even Neb would say we're going to win the league.

Being that I compulsively alternate between looking at the table, then the schedule, then the table, and back to the schedule again... I thought I'd take a look at our fixture list this year and compare it to last year and see where those 28 points could be found. The table below has our schedule with the results from last year's corresponding home or away fixture. I correlated the results for the relegated teams with the corresponding promoted team, 18:1, 19:2, 20:3, and if that is clear as mud, then look below the schedule in the table. The Total Diff column, is dedicated to Neb, may it reach a positive 28 ... and stay there through the end of the year.

Fixtures Results Neb
Pts by week
Week Date Opponent 2012/13 Pts 2013/14 Pts Diff Tot Diff Proj. 2012 2013
1 08/17/13 Stoke City (H) D, 0-0 1 W, 1-0 3 2 +2 63 0 3
2 08/24/13 Aston Villa (A) W, 2-1 3 W, 1-0 3 0 +2 63 1 6
3 09/01/13 Man U (H) L, 1-2 0 W, 1-0 3 3 +5 66 1 9
4 09/16/13 Swansea City (A) D, 0-0 1 D, 2-2 1 0 +5 66 2 10
5 09/21/13 Southampton (H) W, 1-0 3 L, 0-1 0 -3 +2 63 2 10
6 09/29/13 Sunderland (A) D, 1-1 1 W, 3-1 3 2 +4 65 5 13
7 10/05/13 Crystal Palace (H) W, 1-0 3

62 6
8 10/19/13 Newcastle (A) W, 6-0 3

59 9
9 10/26/13 West Brom (H) L, 0-2 0

59 10
10 11/02/13 Arsenal (A) D, 2-2 1

58 11
11 11/09/13 Fulham (H) W, 4-0 3

55 12
12 11/23/13 Everton (A) D, 2-2 1

54 15
13 12/01/13 Hull City (A) D, 0-0 1

53 16
14 12/04/13 Norwich City (H) W, 5-0 3

50 16
15 12/07/13 West Ham (H) D, 0-0 1

49 19
16 12/14/13 Tottenham (A) L, 1-2 0

49 22
17 12/21/13 Cardiff City (H) W, 3-0 3

46 22
18 12/26/13 Man City (A) D, 2-2 1

45 25
19 12/28/13 Chelsea (A) D, 1-1 1

44 25
20 01/01/13 Hull City (H) W, 1-0 3

41 28
21 01/11/13 Stoke City (A) L, 1-3 0

41 31
22 01/18/13 Aston Villa (H) L, 1-3 0

41 31
23 01/28/13 Everton (H) D, 0-0 1

40 34
24 02/01/13 West Brom (A) L, 0-3 0

40 35
25 02/08/13 Arsenal (H) L, 0-2 0

40 36
26 02/12/13 Fulham (A) W, 3-1 3

37 36
27 02/22/13 Swansea City (H) W, 5-0 3

34 39
28 03/01/13 Southampton (A) L, 1-3 0

34 42
29 03/08/13 Sunderland (H) W, 3-0 3

31 45
30 03/15/13 Man U (A) L, 1-2 0

31 45
31 03/22/13 Cardiff City (A) W, 4-0 3

28 48
32 03/29/13 Tottenham (H) W, 3-2 3

25 49
33 04/05/13 West Ham (A) W, 3-2 3

22 50
34 04/12/13 Man City (H) D, 2-2 1

21 51
35 04/19/13 Norwich City (A) W, 5-2 3

18 54
36 04/26/13 Chelsea (H) D, 2-2 1

17 55
37 05/03/13 Crystal Palace (A) W, 3-0 3

14 58
38 05/11/13 Newcastle (H) D, 1-1 1

13 61

13 4

Cardiff == Wigan

Hull == Reading

C. Palace == QPR

The projected column indicates our final point total if all future fixtures end with the same results as last year. (ignore the projected column past the existing week)

Obviously, we're off to a flying start... couldn't get any better (though I would've loved hanging a 4 spot on the mancs). We're already +5 on the way to Neb's +28. Looking over that schedule though, there are some tough spots that'll be difficult to outpace or even keep up with last year's results, especially the last 8 weeks. We may need to reach our +28 before week 31 as I'm not sure we're going to be able to outdo our haul of 18 pts out of 24 with games against Spurs, Chelsea, and Man City (to go with a few potentially tricky away fixtures at Cardiff, Norwich, and Crystal Palace which could all be battling for safety when we face them). December looks an awful awful month as well, with away trips to Chelsea, Man City, and Tottenham in a span of 2 weeks. But, all that being said, we could conceivably hold serve with our results from last year, we obviously didn't overachieve against teams in the top half of the table, and we're supposed to beat those other teams below us.

As has been said many times, we were flat track bullies last year... winning 8, drawing 3, and losing only once against the bottom 6 (27 pts), but only taking 10 points from the top 6. We'll have to drastically alter the latter while still bettering the former to get to that + 28 point number, and that will be a tall task. Man United reached 89 points on the back of taking maximum points against the bottom 6, and we'll have to come close to that mark to hit our +28.

2012/13 Points against bottom 6

36 : Man United
32 : Arsenal
31 : Man City
27 : Liverpool
26 : Chelsea
26 : Tottenham

Definitely the best stretch of games for earning a big jump on last season falls in weeks 21-25 ... last year for those 5 fixtures we secured a grand total of 1 ... measly ... point! Against the likes of Stoke, Aston Villa, Everton, and West Brom we need to do better, and Arsenal at home is a game we need to get points from. I think we could pick up a solid 9 pts here... 3 wins and a draw... would give us +9.

West Brom no longer has Lukaku, and I don't think they're going to foil our offense quite like they did last year, I think we can pick up another 3 pts from the other WBA fixture. +3

I'd like to think we'll get a win against each of the other top 5 teams as well, which would be at least a point improvement from our haul against Chelsea and Man City, as well as 3 from Arsenal (let's ignore the possibility that said win may have occurred 2 paragraphs up). +5

With how awful Newcastle has been... we have to be able to move that home draw into the win column. +2

Southampton handed us our last loss of the season last year, they won't do it again this year. +3

We are not dropping points to Hull, period. +2

Combine those with our current +5 status... and you have +29??? Maybe Neb wasn't optimistic enough... I guess we are going to win the league!

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