In the early stages of the season, the most asked question to players and managers is probably what their goals for the coming season are. The newly promoted manager will tell that his team looks to maintain themselves and steady the club for future successes. The manager whose team just came off a disappointing mid table finish will tell that this year, the play-offs for European football will need to be the reward for all his team’s hard work in preseason. And last year’s Eredivisie winners will no doubt be looking to hold onto their title, or at least qualify for Champions League football.
Yet, never do you hear a reply along the line of “32 points would be nice”, or “anything above 72 goes”. However, a strategy to aim for a specific number of points to be obtained seems more reasonable, is easier to assess at various points towards the end of the season and will be a more accurate reflection of the team’s true performance.
This post will help clear up the relation between points obtained and the league result in terms of safety, European football and winning the title. It seems, from the past ten seasons at least, that there are quite clear cut-off points for each of these situations.
The data is presented in a Tableau graph, so please feel free to hover your mouse pointer over certain dots to find out the underlying information. Which teams qualified for European football play-offs despite a negative goal difference? Which team created the best goal difference by a distance, but did not win the league that particular season? And which team once won enough points to be crowned Champions in many other season, but only came away with direct EL qualification?
The most interesting find from this data are the clear cut-off points between different results.
– No team was directly relegated with 30 points or more.
– 32 points were enough to avoid the relegation play-offs in all but three situations
Europa League play-offs
– No team made it to the EL play-offs with less than 45 points
– No team with over 48 points ever missed out on at least play-offs for EL football
– Apart from a single outlier, at least 58 points were needed for direct EL qualification
Champions League places
– Less than 68 points was never enough for CL qualification
– Teams over 72 points only missed out for CL qualification on two occasions
Winning the Eredivisie
– No team below 72 points won the title
– Nineteen teams scored 72 points or more, but only 10 won the title
– Nine team scored 80 points or more, six of them won the title