The Premier League season finally concluded at the end of July and now allows for a full post-mortem. Here we analyse and present some of the most salient, interesting and downright bizarre statistics from the season gone by and how they relate to the final standings at the top of the table.
Liverpool, despite winning the league by an enormous 18 points, did not score the most goals this season (although they did register a highly respectable 89) and finished way behind Manchester City’s tally of 102. City equalled their tally from the 2013-14 season, scoring the third most goals in a single season in Premier League history.
Their relatively poor points total (81) in the Premier League is a combination of inconsistency (their goals were spread unevenly – they scored 4 or more goals on 11 occasions including eight in one game against Watford) and defensive frailties as they conceded 35 goals at nearly a goal a game.
There is significant sentiment, however, to suggest that Manchester City have been somewhat unlucky to post a low points total given the standard of their general play. Indeed, they are favourites to regain the Premier League title next season at odds of Evens on betting sites like Funbet.
Liverpool’s dominance, given that they only conceded two fewer goals than City and scored far less, may appear difficult to explain on the surface but is testament to their ruthless efficiency. The side won 14 games by a one-goal margin and of their 16 points dropped, 8 were lost when the Premier League title had already been secured. The anomaly of Liverpool’s inferior goal difference is partly explained by the side taking their foot off the gas following title victory – conceding four times to City as well as three times to Chelsea and twice to Arsenal.
Man Utd & Chelsea
The gulf between the top two becomes a chasm further down the table, with the other two top four sides Manchester United and Chelsea finishing 33 points off the top. In other words, they were closer to the relegation zone than the title. Despite this Solskjaer’s Manchester United will be encouraged by their third-placed finish having been in a lowly 8th place at Christmas.
Critics will point to the fact that they finished on exactly the same points as last season (although 3 places higher) and scored fewer goals; also relying on a Premier League record of 14 penalties awarded. An unbeaten run of 14 consecutive games to close the season, however, is a clear sign of significant progress for their young squad.
Equally, a transfer ban and the loss of the mercurial Eden Hazard meant a fourth place finish represented a success for an inexperienced Chelsea squad led by an equally inexperienced manager in the shape of Frank Lampard. Twenty-seven of their goals were scored by players aged 22 or under, including seven from the impressive Mason Mount, which indicates a bright future ahead for the West London side.
Statistics certainly never tell the full story on their own and this has never been more apparent given the final standings at the very top of the table. They do, however, illuminate the momentum with young squads like Chelsea and Manchester United as well as the key weaknesses of sides like Manchester City. Next season’s statistics will illustrate if the top clubs are able to learn the lessons of this season and maintain their strengths.