We seem to have negotiated the various existential crises that come with Oxford United and a successful season; it’s March, so its surely too late for a post-Christmas slump, the transfer window shut with minimal damage, we seem to have strength in depth when we thought we looked a bit flimsy and we’ve exited from a sequence of Saturday/Tuesday games comfortably in second place.
The club continues to set new standards in the ways it markets itself and the idea of Plymouth being a fans’ weekender want another top notch intiative. It wasn’t without its risks of course, Plymouth might be a nice seaside location and an obvious candidate for a weekend away but had the result gone against us then the panic of a collapse might have set in.
As it turns out, the 2-2 draw could be the signal that – whisper this – we might have actually done enough to seal promotion.
As if to illustrate that the internet’s almost endless capacity for trivia the Experimental 361 blog did some analysis on teams’ remaining fixtures. I confess, it was something I thought about doing myself; I had a hunch that things would look pretty good from the analysis and it turns out I was right.
Wycombe have 5 fixtures against teams in the top six, Orient have four, Plymouth three, anyone expecting a Chris Wilder implosion will be disappointed to hear that Northampton have just two… but we have none.
Which then got me thinking; what would happen if you applied some kind of points system to these fixtures to come up with a difficulty score? So, I tried it with 5 points for a top six fixture down to 1 for a bottom six. It turns out that not only do we not have to play anyone in the top six, we have the easiest run-in amongst the top teams. Which got me thinking some more; what about the rest of the division? What is the highest place team with an easier run than us? By the time I got to Dagenham and Redbridge I found out; nobody. On paper at least we have the easiest run-in in the whole division.
Eight points clear and the easiest run-in in the division? You would have to say even by our standards, screwing it up now would be impressive. The Plymouth game appears to have been the final test before we head for home. Of course, maintaining our focus and applying the high standards that have got us here in the first place is easier said than done but with no sign that we will let up only Wembley, perhaps, could be distraction enough to knock us off course now.