With the title race and relegation spots confirmed, the only remaining race left in the Premier League is the coveted fourth place spot.
The Champions League place is still being fought for, with Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United all with a chance to sit at Europe’s top table next season.
While this campaign has been somewhat underwhelming in comparison to Leicester’s incredible triumph last year, the race for fourth has been a constant source of much speculation, not least for those who want to see Arsene Wenger continue the banter narrative.
But how many points does a team ordinarily need to make the top four of the Premier League? We’ve looked back on the last 21 seasons to see how the seasons have panned out, worked out the average and calculated where this season’s points tally sits in amongst it all.
First up, we looked back at every Premier League season from 1995/96, not the very first Premier League season of 1992/93.
The first three seasons of the ‘new’ Premier League had 22 teams (look it up if you don’t believe us) before reverting to 20 in 1995, so to include data from the first three seasons would slant any figure that would be relevant to the current 20-club format.
We then took the number of points earned by each club that finished fourth in the Premier League in each season, and divided it by 21 to get the figure.
We should also add here that we’ve included the times where a Premier League team has finished fourth but not qualified for the Champions League – for example Tottenham Hotspur finished fourth in the 2011/12 season but weren’t given a place in the tournament due to Chelsea winning the European competition (a rule which has since changed).
Having calculated all this, the average number of points a fourth placed Premier League team is 68.24 (round down to 68 for ease).
Looking at the graph, you can see that 68 points would either guarantee you, or get a team equal on points, in 13 out of the 21 seasons we’ve examined.
While it obviously doesn’t guarantee a team to get into the top four, what it does highlight is how competitive the 2016/17 season has been for the top six clubs.
Manchester United could still finish the season on 71 points, three points higher than the 68 point average, and finish sixth in the table, while Arsenal have already surpassed that figure with two games remaining and still don’t look set to reach fourth place – a real shame, as Wenger won’t be able to lift that special fourth-placed trophy for a 21st consecutive year.