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Race for fourth

ity are just six points off equalling their best Premier League points total...with eleven games still to play!

The Blues managed 55 points in 2007/08 – the biggest haul since the Premier League reduced to 20 teams in 1995/96 – though we did finish with 57 points in the inaugural 42-match campaign three years earlier.

Nine more goals this term will set a top-flight scoring record, too, with Roberto Mancini’s side already on target to top last season’s best of 58 – all of which bodes well for the bid to gatecrash the top four and clinch a Champions League qualifying berth.


It is amazing to think that given there is a sense of underachievement in many respects about the 2009/10 season, we are on course to not only better our previous highs in both points and goals scored, but should easily shatter them.

Whilst the goals will be attainable, it is the points total that is of greater importance. With eleven games remaining (Aston Villa have twelve and Tottenham and Liverpool ten apiece) we are currently on 49 points. If two (or more) sides put runs together between now and the end of the season it could take 70 points to finish fourth, which for the strong seasons teams have had so farwould still be lower than both 2007/08 and 2008/09.

This means we will need to take 21 points from a remaining 33 possible. Although that does look very attainable, it does equate to 1.90 points per game in comparison to the 1.81 per game we have taken so far this season.

With defeating Chelsea last weekend, we now have the lowest number of defeats this season in the Premier League but what has hurt us this season is draws (we have drawn 10 in comparison to Tottenham's seven and Liverpool's six). The key to achieving fourth place will therefore not necessarily avoiding defeat, but to make sure we win the games that matter.

When we resume action on March 14th after a free weekend coming up, we have four games in two weeks - Sunderand (a), Fulham (a), Everton (h), Wigan (h).Too often we have slipped up in so called 'lesser games' this season.

Mark Hughes talked a lot about breaking the season into blocks of games, and if these four are grouped as a block we really need to take eight or nine points from them which will set us up perfectly for the final six games of the season and tougher tests ahead.

It is set to be a very tight finish indeed.