Show us your frustrated face, Alan! - Matthew Lewis
I found the sheet on which I tallied potential point totals for the season that I used to help write the season preview. On the heels of several re-assessment posts, I nearly threw it out without giving it a second look. Instead, I took a quick tally to see where we were against my pre-season predictions.
At the time of the writing of the season preview, feelings about the club were still somewhat high - it looked like we were going to be able to "keep the band together" as it were, and even if the clearly needed reinforcements were not to be brought in, there was a sort of half-thought that we would not make a real go of it in the Europa League this time. This, of course, has not been the case as we have progressed into the group stage and look positioned to make it into the round of 32 knockout stage... but that's not important right now.
After going the first time through this year's slate of fixtures with at least some accounting for continued progress in the Europa League (insofar as the match dates were included in my list of fixtures and at least somewhat considered), I came out with a point total of Dr. Panglossian proportions. All has truly not been for the best in the best of all possible worlds, however. Fortunately, for arguments sake, I had a serious laugh at myself and went back through and predicted a point total for the worst of all possible worlds. Where are we, then, relative to these wild assed guesses?
Dr. Pangloss World
In Dr. Pangloss World, I had Newcastle United with a total of 20 points through the first 12 matches. I gained points on this total with the season opening win v. Spurs (which I had predicted a draw), lost points back for the draw with Everton (which I had predicted a Toon victory) and then of course lost the 6 point margin back to the 14 that we actually have losing out on predicted wins v. West Ham and Swansea City. Maybe the glasses weren't as rosey as I perceived them to be. 20 points were definitely attainable the way the season has played out to this point.
Worst of All Possible Worlds
If I recall correctly, my high water mark of points on the season was something around 79. Granted this was wildly optimistic and the reason that I ended up going back through with the pessimist's specs to see where we could be if things did not go well. These predictions went something like this:
Spurs - Draw
Chelsea - loss
Villa - win
Everton - loss
Norwich - win
Reading - draw
Manchester United - loss
scum - draw
West Bromwich Albion - draw
Liverpool - loss
West Ham - win
Swansea - draw
With some minor fluctuations relative to specific fixtures (we picked up 2 points on my predicted results with the victory at Spurs, but dropped them back in drawing with Aston Villa, for instance), my total predicted point total in worst-case scenario?
With the injury challenges and red-card suspensions, terrible form and more, it's hard to argue that the first 12 matches have worked out in just about worst case scenario. The rest of my worst-case scenario picks had us on 49 points at the end of the season, which is well safe from relegation if not a followup on last year's tremendous 5th place. It could be argued, however, that things will have to get better at some point, and as such there is perhaps a little glint of a reason for optimism as the season progresses.