For the diehard football fan the points table holds a special charm. This table is a ready reckoner of the various clubs’ performance during the week. Fans usually pore over the points table week after week to see their club’s position.
Also which clubs have moved up, which have gone down hold a special fascination for fans. Discussions over the points table among fans are often a happy distraction from a dreary Monday at work.
For the uninitiated, in the English Premier League (EPL) — arguably the most avidly followed football league in the world — there are 20 teams in the top tier.
These teams have to play each other once at home and once away through the season.
So every team has play 38 matches every season. Teams get three points for a victory, none for a defeat and one for a draw. The team that accumulates the maximum points at the end of season are the EPL champions.
But it is not just about the action in the top of the table. The teams that finish in the bottom three positions (18th, 19th and 20th) get “relegated”.
This means that these three bottom finishers will be pushed out of the EPL and will have the play the next season in the second tier called ironically ‘The Championship’.
This can be financially disastrous for these clubs as they end up losing out on lucrative broadcasting and sponsorship deals.
So the “relegation battles” are as exciting and intriguing as the fight for the champion’s spot.
For the first time in EPL history, there are only four points separating the bottom nine clubs. Which means any three of these nine clubs could find themselves relegated.
To give an example Leeds United which was 18th last week moved up to 14th, thanks to a 4-2 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
With 10 rounds of matches left, this EPL season is sure set for a fascinating finish.