As we enter the business end of the season, the battle to stay in the Premier League is heating up.
Right now, there are four teams that are in danger of being relegated from the Premier League alongside Southampton.
Those teams are Leicester City, Leeds United, Everton and Nottingham Forest – with West Ham having a slim, albeit not impossible, chance of the drop.
How many points to stay in the Premier League?
To secure safety in the Premier League, teams generally aim for around 38 points. This figure has been widely acknowledged as the threshold for guaranteeing survival in the top-flight. It represents an average of one point per match since the league transitioned to a 20-team division in the 1995/96 season.
This season is no different, with teams being confirmed to be safe if they have reached 38 points or more, with two games to spare! Proving that this season, the estimated points target of 38, is in fact above the required threshold for survival.
The 40 point mark
There is a common misconception amongst pundits that 40 points is the magic number to aim for in order to ensure your survival.
However, throughout much of the Premier League’s existence, the 40 point mark was often not needed to secure safety, thus why most teams internally target the 38 point mark instead.
So, when were 40 points or more needed to stay in the Premier League?
Since the Premier League became a 20-team league from 1995/96, 40 points or more has only been needed on four occasions.
In 1996/97 and 1997/98, the 18th-place teams finished on 40 points, meaning 41 was needed to guarantee safety.
In 2002/03, 18th-place would finish on 42, meaning 43 points were actually needed - this is the most any side has had to earn to ensure they staved off relegation in the history of the Premier League.
Then, in 2010/11, 18th place would garner 39 points, meaning the magic 40 mark was actually needed then.
What are the average points needed to stay in the Premier League?
Outside of the above, 34 points were needed on four occasions, 35 on four occasions, 36 once, 37 five times, 38 once, 39 twice and 31 once back in 2009/10.
This works out at an average of 35.7, so essentially 36, points needed to stay in the Premier League each campaign.
Therefore, in most seasons, teams are safe if they hit the 38 point target!