Season so far: Hull, Stoke, West Brom, Bolton and Wigan

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As anyone who's been listening to our ramblings will know, we're very big fans of Catalyst's PowerTable here at Towers (for a full explanation of the madcap world of the PowerTable, click here).

Now, using the multi-functional megatool that is the PowerTable, we're about to embark in a week long series of blogs analysing how each Premier League side has started the season, comparing their performance in the first 11 matches to the first 11 of last season and trying to gauge where they'll be come May.

First up are the four Tier 4 sides - the promoted clubs who need to prove they can survive and those hovering just above relegation. With limited funds, putting the right level of investment where it matters most is make or break for these five sides...and they probably don't want to get relegated either

You probably don’t need any form statistical analysis (other than maybe having a quick peek at the Premier League table) to see Hull City are overachieving this season, the men from the KC are putting their tag as the lowest ranked side on the start of season PowerLeague table to shame.

So far this term, the Tigers have put two Tier 3 teams (Fulham and West Ham), two Tier 2 teams (Newcastle and Tottenham) and one Tier 1 team (Arsenal) to the sword, as well as one fellow Tier 4 side.

Amazingly, Phil Brown’s side have started their debut Premier League season better than they did their Championship campaign last time out, having taken 20 points from their first 11 matches compared to 12 from 11 last season, an extra 0.73 points per game.

The next 10 matches will be crucial in deciding how Hull’s season will pan out, with six matches against Tier 1 & 2 opponents (home to Man City and Aston Villa and away to Portsmouth, Liverpool, Man City and Everton).

We reckon…
The East Yorkshire side might start to slide ever-so-slightly down the table over the next couple of months, but still have enough points in the bag come March to avoid a real relegation scrap.

Stoke have done well to pick up 13 points from their first 11 matches, given that eight of those games were against sides in Tiers 1 & 2.

The Potters have also been 67% effective at home, form worthy of a top 10 finish, although they’ve managed just one point from a possible 15 on the road so far this season.

The step up in quality between Championship and Premier League has hit Tony Pulis’s side hardest at the back. Despite scoring only two less goals in their first 11 matches of this season as they managed last year (13 compared to last year’s 15), they have conceded 5 more than last term (19 compared to last year’s 14), an extra 0.46 goals a game.

They have what should be an easier run of matches coming up, with three games against rival Tier 4 sides in the next four, although the other match is the small matter of a trip to Old Trafford.

We reckon…
Stoke need to start picking up points away from home if they’re to have any hope of staying up; and what better place to start than Wigan on Saturday?

West Brom have picked up 11 points from their 11 matches so far, which obviously puts them on target for a total haul of 38 points, just shy of the 40 seen as the minimum require for Premier League survival.

The Baggies have been handed 24 yellow cards so far this season, compared to nine in the equivalent period last term – presumably born out of the frustration of suddenly being the underdogs and chasing games rather than dominating them.

It’s fair to say that the other big difference Tony Mowbray’s side have found since steeping up a division is the difficulty of scoring goals at this level. This time last season they’d netted 23 but they’ve only managed 10 goals so far this term, a decrease of 1.18 goals a game.

We reckon…
Things will get worse before they get better for the Baggies, with back-to-back games with Liverpool and Chelsea being followed by a trip to home-specialists Stoke. The trip to Wigan a week later will be crucial.

Bolton fans are unhappy with the progress being made under Gary Megson, with the current side (the most expensively cobbled-together in the club’s history) failing to live up to those lead so valiantly by Sam Allardyce in recent years.

The Trotters have scored exactly the same number of goals as they had at this stage of last season (10), the 17th lowest in the Premier League at this point but the 18th lowest a year ago. They have, however, conceded more at the other end, three more to be precise, or 0.37 a match in PowerTable speak.

However there is a silver lining; Wanderers’ points per game average is up 82% to a round 1.00, having been 0.55 at this stage of 2007/08

We reckon…
Bolton are averaging a point a game, but that should just be enough to avoid the drop this season, with everyone taking points off of each other and no obvious whipping boy.

The worrying thing for Wigan this season is that they’ve regularly played well but not regularly got results.

With what looks like an easier run of games coming up (Stoke at home, Newcastle away, Everon and West Brom at home), they’ll need to start turning performances into points if they want to avoid getting sucked in to the Premier League’s black hole.

Much like Bolton, the Latics’ points per game average is up on last year, with Steve Bruce’s side also averaging a point a game (up from 0.73 per game a year ago).

The arrival of Amr Zaki has seen an increase in early season goal scoring from last year, up 0.27 to 1.18 per game.

We reckon…
Wigan might just be in a spot of bother, having out in some good performances, and not picked up the points, they could be in for a long winter if they don’t get some under the belt quickly, and with 100% effectiveness against Tier 4 sides, they should expect to win their upcoming home matches with Stoke and Bolton.

Tomorrow: Tier 3 - Fulham, Sunderland, West Ham, Middlesbrough & Blackburn.

For the in depth subscribers edition of the PowerTable go to and read more about the Catalyst Power Table in the December issue of FourFourTwo, out Wednesday November 5.