Premier League the most competitive in the world? You must be joking

The top five clubs have played the bottom five 19 times this season and won every one. There is nothing to celebrate in the top flight’s great divide

Amid all the gloom enveloping those at the wrong end of the Premier League table, where Fulham, Cardiff, Huddersfield, Newcastle and Southampton have conceded 108 goals between them, suffered 36 defeats and registered only one victory each, there is a ray of hope. On the basis of the results so far, only 22 points will be needed to stay up this season.

Although 11 fixtures is not much of a sample size from which to calculate a points-per-game ratio, the numbers do not lie and there is no getting away from just how poor the standard is in the lower reaches of the Premier League this season. The fact that this is the first time in 27 Premier League seasons that five clubs have seven or fewer points from their opening 11 matches says it all.

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