Date: 12th March 2010 at 8:45am
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Wigan Athletic boss Roberto Martinez has targeted 38 points as the watermark for Premier League survival this season following Latics win over Liverpool on Monday night and he feels that this figure could become the norm instead of the magical 40.

After 28 games Martinez` team are sitting on 28 points and with ten games to go until the end of the season the Latics will simply need to carry that form through to May to meet the bosses target.

Speaking to the press Martinez said: ‘I think 38 points is going to mean safety – maybe even less than that.

‘There are a lot of games between the sides who are involved down there, there are eight of us trying to avoid those three places.

‘I believe 38 will be the ’40’ we all talk about. The standard has improved in the top half and that is also why it is lower.’

Looking back through the past few seasons it would appear that Martinez` theory is backed up by fact, rather than see who finished 17th with what points it is better to look at who went down in 18th and what their tally was so that you can see how many points were actually needed for survival.

Over the previous 9 seasons 35.6 points is the average for the 18th placed team, so obviously 37 points could be a realistic target for safety though as with any average there are always anomalies that would make that target the wrong one, twice in fact, 2006/07 when Sheffield United reached 38 points and got relegated and back in 2002/03 when West Ham went down with a whopping 42 points.

So is Martinez right in targeting 38 points as the safety mark, I believe so, with the fixtures left to play of the clubs involved in the relegation scrap 36 points could quite possibly bring safety this year, but there is nothing like a bit of breathing space and although I`d prefer 40, 38 would easily do.

A quick look over the last nine seasons at who finished 18th:

2008/09 Newcastle 35
2007/08 Reading 36
2006/07 Sheff United 38
2005/06 Birmingham 34
2004/05 Crystal Palace 33
2003/04 Leicester 33
2002/03 West Ham 42
2001/02 Ipswich 36
200/01 Manchester City 34

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