So Pardew is saying four wins will be enough for Charlton to survive - the implication being 39 points and a lousy goal difference, so at least one other team is expected to fail to reach 39. Trouble is, this is out of our hands. We could win four - including the obvious three 'key' games (Wigan, Man City, Sheff Utd) - and still go down if nobody falls apart. Everyone knows that 40 points is usually enough, but not always. To be truly confident of staying up we need 42 points, so for me it's five wins or four wins and three draws to guarantee safety; just four wins and it's fingers' crossed.
The rough calculations I did a month or so ago saw us finish with 45 points under an optimistic scenario and 35 on a pessimistic one, suggesting around 40 as the midpoint. I had Man City going down (with West Ham and Watford, they are doomed) with 35 points, with Wigan ending well clear and Sheff Utd surviving by winning home games. But this did not take account of Middlesbrough handing over three points. With the adjustment Man City now finish on 38 points, taking only five points from their last nine games. And leaving it to the last day if we end on 39.
Pardew was sensible enough not to identify the four games we need to win. It doesn't require much imagination to suggest that Wigan (h), Man City (a), Reading (h) and Sheff Utd (h) are the obvious candidates, with anything we pick up from Everton (a), Blackburn (a), Tottenham (h) and Liverpool (a) seen as a bonus. But it's never that simple. And the only 'six-pointer' we have is against the team we end up above (hopefully).
My inclination is that a failure to beat Wigan would not be terminal (they are bound to be happy with a draw), but we simply have to beat Man City. If we do, goal difference could start to come into play. We are on -21, City on -12. If we were to beat them by two clear goals the gap comes down to five - and if City end with 38 points they will have lost maybe six of their remaining nine games, so their GD is bound to have deteriorated further.
Enough of this. Let's just win all eight remaining and party into the summer.