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New Beesotted contributor, and long-time Bees fan, Jonny Ross-Tatam, puts on a calm head and looks into the team’s points-winning form so far this campaign and asks the important question… are we on track to better last season’s third place finish and achieve automatic promotion?

Life as a Bees fan, or of any football team, is (if you excuse the cliché) an emotional rollercoaster. One Saturday, after a win, ecstasy. Another week, depression. One week you are certain that the Bees are going to get promoted; the next you are bemoaning an inevitable mid-table finish. This may not be the case for every fan, but it’s how I often feel and it’s certainly true on social media.

So, to try and get some perspective (and stay calm), I’ve been thinking about the form Brentford need to beat last year’s points tally and, hopefully, secure automatic promotion. Rather than get too obsessed by the table (which changes so frequently), I’ve been looking at how many points the Bees need to win, on average, over every 5 game period.

So, if the Bees win an average of 9 points in every 5 games, they will get between 82 and 83 points this year, beating last year’s points tally of 81. Last year, this could have pushed us over the line in the race for 2nd spot. But would this be enough to secure automatic promotion?

Possibly, but not necessarily. West Brom’s tally of 83 points was the lowest points tally for a 2nd placed team over the past 6 seasons. Watford (89), Borough (89), Brighton (93), Cardiff (90) and Sheff U (89) all got a significantly higher points tally in coming 2nd.

That said, if the Championship is as competitive as last year, and early indications suggest it may be, then a form of 9 points every 5 games (and beating last year’s points tally) could be enough to squeeze us over the top into 2nd. But this would almost certainly mean that the promotion race goes down to the wire.

If we want to guarantee a top-two finish, and saunter comfortably into the Premiership by the final game, then averaging 10 points every 5 games (i.e. 2 points per game) would leave us with 92 points, just behind Leeds’ 93 last year. 92 points would have been enough to finish 2nd in every year since 2014/15, except for 2016/17. That season, Brighton got 93 points in 2nd and were 8 points clear of Reading in 3rd.

Given how tight the top of the Championship looks this year, 92 points (10 points every 5 games) will almost certainlyguarantee a top-two spot and 82/83 points (9 points every 5 games) could get us over the line.

So, it is very likely that the Bees will need to average somewhere between 9 points in every 5 (82/3 points) and 10 points in every 5 (92 points) to reach ‘the promised land’ of automatic promotion – with 9 in 5 giving us a chance and 10 in 5 essentially guaranteeing our spot. In this Championship season, I’d wager that averaging 9.5 in every 5 games, and picking up 87 to 88 points, would make it very likely (though not quite guaranteed) that we secure automatic promotion.

So, how are the Bees doing so far?

After 15 games and nearly 1/3rd of the season, the Bees are on 26 points. That’s an average of 8.7 points per every 5 games, not far off the 9 in 5 average we need to beat last year’s points tally. Out of the first 15 games, we picked up 7 points in the first five, 8 in the next five and then 11 points in the five most recent matches.

If we maintain this points per game average for the remaining 2/3rds of the season, we will be on about 80 points. So while there’s been much talk of the Bees’ ‘stuttering start’, we were  only an extra win or two away from reaching the points-per-game average we need to secure automatic promotion.

So, if we lose or draw a game don’t despair.

The question I keep asking myself is, ‘are we hitting our target of between 9 to 10 points in every five games?’ To do this, we don’t have to win every game. In the last 5 games, we disappointingly drew 0-0 against Borough and Wycombe, but we quickly made up for it by winning the following three matches and ultimately got 11 points over the last 5 game period – a championship winning return.

We are very close to being where we want to be after the first 15 games. I know football matches are full of ‘ifs’. But, still, if Norwich didn’t score that lucky 87th minute goal from a deflection to nick a 1-1 draw against us, then we would be on 28 points, averaging above the 9 points in every 5 games we need and we’d also be top of the league. It’s fine margins in football.

So, my messages are, 1. the Bees are very close to where we want to be; 2. don’t despair if we draw or lose a game, keep looking at our average form; and 3. if we get an average of between 9 and 10 points every 5 games, then we will not only get our highest ever Championship points tally, but will also stand a very good chance of securing automatic promotion to the Premiership.

Jonny Ross-Tatam