Stoke City have an 11 per cent chance or thereabouts of automatic promotion and a near one-in-three hope of a play-off spot.
That’s according to the numbers men at Infogol who are trying their best to put a predictable spin on one of the most unpredictable divisions in world football.
Mark Taylor, the Stoke-supporting leading analyst, says the statistics show that Stoke have the fourth best attacking unit in the Championship to go with an above average defence.
In a guest column for StokeonTrentLive, he said: “It’s testament to how Michael O’Neill has worked with the players available, made shrewd investments and begun to restructure the club towards a sustainable model, underpinned by both youth and experience, that currently 11 seasons out of 100 ends in automatic promotion and just once do we suffer relegation.
“There’s much to look forward to and little to fear.”
Subs change unlikely
The fourth official is unlikely to be holding up a board to change the substitution rule in English football this season.
Clubs had been allowed to make five in-game swaps during the re-start to 2019/20 – and Michael O’Neill had joined Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp to call for the same this time around to help cater with a mad rush of fixtures.
But Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: “There’s a real issue there and it has been discussed at length. I don’t foresee it changing in the foreseeable future.”
Tyrese Campbell is loving his reinvention under Michael O’Neill
Tyrese Campbell’s reinvention as an outside forward has come as a no bigger surprise than to himself.
The 20-year-old had come through the ranks with a prolific scoring record at Manchester City and then Stoke, with flashes of his potential at senior level.
But if 2020 is his real breakthrough year, it has come as Michael O’Neill – who persuaded him that staying at Stoke was best for his development – has found him a new role.
O’Neill wanted to protect him from the physical battering he might expect Steven Fletcher or Sam Vokes to handle – but still wanted him in his front line.
So Campbell has come into his own particularly on the right – “Not a winger, a wide forward,” says O’Neill – and he has five assists to his name as well as four goals in the first chapter of this season.
Stoke’s January transfer priority and the three players who could scupper it
A look forward 50-odd days at Stoke’s plans for mid-season, including a hole in the squad, an element of surprise and proven quality.
What do you think?