In the 17 Premiership Seasons to date, the average number of points secured by the team in 4th place has been 67.9. Over the first 10 Seasons (92-02) the average was 68.3 and in the past 10 Seasons (99-09) the average was 67.7, so it doesn’t appear as if time is changing the average number of points achieved by 4th place much, if at all.
However, the average hides a wide variation of 16 points between particular Seasons. The highest number of points earned by 4th was 76 (Liverpool, 07/08). The lowest was 60 (Liverpool, 03/04). Meanwhile, in 12 out of 17 Seasons, the team coming 5th has secured more than 60 points, so enough to have come 4th in 2003-2004. On average 5th place has gained 63 points since the Premiership began (thus it could be argued that only an average of 64 points is required to ‘secure’ 4th, ie. 1 point more).
Harry apparently said that we needed 19 points before beating Blackburn, so 16 more at the time of writing this, which would give us a final total of 68 points. That looks correct. Since 1995, no team coming 5th has got more than 66 points. Statistically we’d be very unfortunate not to come 4th with 68 points.
We have 52 points with 9 games left: Stoke, Sunderland, Man U, Man C and Burnley away, and Portsmouth, Arsenal, Chelsea and Bolton at home. By far the easiest way for us to secure the 16 points necessary is to win 5 out of 9 games. If we could win at Stoke, Sunderland and Burnley and beat Portsmouth and Bolton, we would only require a single draw from the other four games.
Wins are crucial. Even if we managed to go undefeated and draw all 9 games left, we would still fall 7 points short of the target. Even 4 wins would leave us needing to draw 4 others and only lose 1 match to finish on 68. While 3 wins and 6 draws would earn us 15 points and even that unlikely, unbeaten run would leave us only on 67 points.
So all the numbers boil down to this. If we win 5 out of 9 matches, we’ll come 4th. If we win 4 out of 9 matches, we have a chance. If we fail to win 4 matches, we won’t achieve CL qualification.