Friday 20 October 2017

Question nobody asked: Does best goal difference win the league?

Since the Premier League began in 1992, no team has won the title on goal difference. Yet with Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal still in the hunt, goal difference could be, effectively, worth an extra point.

And history shows that teams with the best goal difference have ended up as league winners in 10 of the last 15 seasons.

Last year was the first time for six years that the team with the best goal difference (Liverpool on +50) didn't win the league as they finished four points behind United (who were six goals worse off).

The previous year, United had the best goal difference of any team in the last 15 years when they ended on +58, although Chelsea (+39) were still just two points behind them.

In 2003 and 1997, United won the league despite not having the best goal difference as they finished ahead of Arsenal and Newcastle respectively.

However, United were on the wrong end of the stat on two occasions. In 1995 they were eight goals better off than Blackburn yet managed to lose the league to Kenny Dalglish's men.

They were also on the wrong end of the biggest goal difference discrepancy when, in 1998, their tally of +47 wasn't enough as Arsenal (+35) came with a late surge to snatch the title by a point.

Irish Independent

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