How to win the Premier League part 2: beating the top 6, winning by Xmas

This is part two of the review of how clubs have won the Premier League over the years.   Part one is here.

How to win the Premier League Part 2

By Tjekem



Let us look at the past Champions of the modern era vs. the top 6/bottom 14

Vs. Top 6   The table is presented in descending order of the number of points.

Season Champions W D L Pts Pts/Game
2007/08 Man U 8 1 1 25 2.50
2011/12 Man City 8 0 2 24 2.40
2005/06 Chelsea 8 0 2 24 2.40
2004/05 Chelsea 7 3 0 24 2.40
2003/04 Arsenal 7 3 0 24 2.40
2006/07 Man U 6 2 2 20 2.00
2013/14 Man City 6 1 3 19 1.90
2009/10 Chelsea 6 0 4 18 1.80
2010/11 Man U 5 2 3 17 1.70
2012/13 Man U 4 2 4 14 1.40
2008/09 Man U 3 4 3 13 1.30
AVERAGE 6.18 1.64 2.18 18 2.02


VS. Bottom 14

Season Champions W D L Pts Pts/Game
2008/09 Man U 25 2 1 77 2.75
2012/13 Man U 24 3 1 75 2.68
2004/05 Chelsea 22 5 1 71 2.54
2006/07 Man U 22 3 3 69 2.46
2009/10 Chelsea 21 5 2 68 2.43
2005/06 Chelsea 21 4 3 67 2.39
2013/14 Man City 21 4 3 67 2.39
2003/04 Arsenal 19 9 0 66 2.36
2011/12 Man City 20 5 3 65 2.32
2010/11 Man U 18 9 1 63 2.25
2007/08 Man U 19 5 4 62 2.21
AVERAGE 21.09 4.91 2.0 68.18 2.43

Another small sample, but the league has been won twice by teams with a losing points total against the top 6.

1: Man U [2012/13] accumulated 14 points out of a possible 30 points against the top teams, but accumulated 75 points out of a possible 84 points against the bottom 14 teams.

2: Man U [2008/09] accumulated 13 points out of a possible 30 points against the top teams, but accumulated 77 points out of a possible 84 points against the bottom 14 teams.

P.S. When the analysis was done for the PL Champions vs. Top 8/bottom 12; only one [1] team  [Man U, 2008/09] had a losing points total against the top 8.

In the modern era, no team has won the Premiership with a losing points total against the top 10 teams.




Year Team Final Position
2013/14 Liverpool 2
2012/13 Man U 1
2011/12 Man City 1
2010/11 Man U 1
2009/10 Chelsea 1
2008/09 Liverpool 2
2007/08 Arsenal 3
2006/07 Man U 1
2005/06 Chelsea 1
2004/05 Chelsea 1
2003/04 Man U 3
2002/03 Arsenal 2
2001/02 Newcastle 4
2000/01 Man U 1
1999/00 Leeds 3
1998/1999 Aston Villa 6
1997/1998 Man U 2
1996/1997 Liverpool 4
1995/1996 Newcastle 2
1994/1995 Blackburn 1
1993/1994 Man U 1
1992/1993 Norwich City 3


Ten [10] of the last twenty two [22] Champions have been first on Christmas Day. In the modern era though seven [7] of the last eleven [11] Champions have been first on Christmas Day!

P.S. No team has ever won the Premiership from a position lower than 6th on Christmas Day.
The only team to have won the Premiership from 6th position on Christmas Day was our own double winning team of 1997/98.

Only once has a team that was first on Christmas Day did not finish in the top 4.

We can now make some fairly accurate statements about what a team must do, what they may need to do and what they definitely don’t have to do to win the Premiership!


  1. Have a goal difference greater than +40
  2. Must be top in one of the following; offence, defence or goal difference
  3. Must have no more than six [6] losses
  4. Combined losses and draws must be fifteen [15] or less
  5. Must be first on Christmas Day [this at least guarantees CL qualification]


  1. Teams don’t need the top goalscorer
  2. Teams don’t need to have top defence
  3. Teams don’t need to beat the top 4
  4. Teams don’t need to beat the top 6

15 August – the anniversary of one of the greatest ever starts to the season


The books

The complete Arsenal Anniversary series is to be found on the Arsenal History Society site.

20 Replies to “How to win the Premier League part 2: beating the top 6, winning by Xmas”

  1. Brilliant. I bet Wenger knows these. If only for the whiners, at least they’ll learn to keep calm.

  2. Nice work Tjekem,

    @AL 7:50am, …can’t argue with facts? Wait until the usual suspects are here. 🙂

  3. Very thorough article both parts and will help in days of poor or not such great results, but even if we fall out of sync I feel the competition in the PL is so strong now and getting stronger year by year even looking at the facts, last 5 years are the ones with the most losses against against top 6 totaling 3/5 including last season and the same against the bottom 14 again last year included.
    I mean just from my fading memory I remember a lot of times last season seeing results and say what the ….., so don’t be surprised if it continues to get worse this season

  4. Very good article. May I add: Make it counts when it matters – We did it in OT when Overmars scored the goal in 1997-98 season; Wiltord did it again when we went to OT in 2001-02; won it in the NLD in 200-04 (Though Lehman gave away a very stupid penalty). But we failed to do that(as some suggested we were a young squad then) in Birmingham in 2008 when Eduardo broke his leg, Clichy gave away a stupid penalty and a “petulant” Captain sitting on the pitch!

    We did it again when Santi Cazorla scored that equaliser (would not imagine what if the goal did not go in) in the FA cup. So make it counts when it matters!

  5. Hopefully Walter or Mr Attwood will see this post as I find it interesting for Arsenal history and anniversaries.

    Today is 38th anniversary of the match between FK Željezničar and Arsenal in Sarajevo. The game was played due to 55th anniversary of FK Željezničar (my favourite Bosnian club and the first one my palms were sweating for). The game ended with the score-line 1:1 with McDonald being on the score-sheet for the Gunners and Džemal Šerbo was the scorer for Željezničar.

    The title in the papers from the next day was: “Gunners misfire at Grbavica Stadium”.

  6. Thanks everyone!

    I got tired of pundits making statements about what was/is required to win the League and decided to look for myself. For the most part they were/are wrong!

    Hopefully, now we have facts to challenge their narrative.

  7. Well, well well, what do you know!

    In 380 matches involving 20 teams, there are bound to be countless twists during the course of the campaign which, in my opinion, makes all the bloviating and pant-crapping lame, short-sighted and ridiculous. What is always constant is that the team that does best in ALL its 38 matches ALWAYS win. Consistency, and nothing else, wins titles.

    There is a very good mathematical benefit to beating rivals and top teams but as Chelsea showed us last season, it all comes to nothing if you lose and draw games against lower oppositions. While Arsenal losing 6-0 away to Chelsea made better headline for the papers and was a bigger embarrassment to the club and us fans, losing at home to Aston Villa (irrespective of how it came about) and drawing at home to Swansea were just as bad in the long run. Or worse because these were the ‘easier’ games.

    Here is a wish for a brilliantly consistent season for Arsenal starting with a good, injury-free victory over Crystal Palace tomorrow.

  8. @Bootoomee,

    Just to reinforce your point, here is what Arsène said in his press conference this morning:

    “That means we have to take more points from the top teams, that will be our real challenge this year and also keep the consistency against the teams who do not fight for the championship.
    “We finished fourth and made 79 points. Man City won it with 86, so it was very tight in the top four, that [difference] is one or two games. If you win against them, they have three points less and you have three points more, that means it is down to one game.”

  9. Tjekem,

    There is a nuanced comment from Arsene as always but I promise you that some commenters (particularly one named Tom) would soon be here to highlight the last sentence while disingenuously ignoring the rest. We are not saying that it is unimportant to do well against the top teams but as AW wisely said, it is consistency across board that is most important.

  10. An excellent series of articles and very enjoyable.

    I very much agree with the point that it is possible to win the league without beating all the other top 4 teams.

    However, it is desirable to beat the rivals for top spot simply because by doing so they are denied points – such games effectively become 6 pointers.

    Lets hope this season, when we play against the main rivals for top spot, we don’t have to play against the worst of the PGMO(L) – as we did last season.

  11. bjtgooner

    Winning the top 4 mini league is irrelevant.

    Even a mediocre return against the top 4 is not essential.

    But you cannot do as bad as we did.

    Just 5 points from a possibly 30 against City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Utd and Everton is not enough.

    15 should be the minimum requirement, and assuming you do the more important part and dominate the rest, that would probably be enough to win the PL in most seasons.

    But the real point is you CANNOT have a poor season against the ‘rest’.

  12. We can’t beat the top four- because we were fourth- can we beat ourselves?
    The scale of defeats is important- winning 1-0 at home and losing 7-0 away from home against rivals does not leave you feeling even though you are in terms of points.

    The psychological effect of heavy defeats against rivals often outweighs the effective loss of points. Losing games 6-0 is humiliating unless there are special circumstances. That humiliation leaves a lasting memory- in the minds of players and many fans and is reinforce by the media showing endless replays-and also gives a boost to opponents and does usual result in diminished performances at least for a while.

  13. @jambug, agree. We have to improve against the top teams even if we only draw rather than lose. We then gain a point and they lose two. It’s a psychological issue too, we don’t want to play the top teams with doubts about our abilities to beat them.

    Last season if we’d just taken 13 pts from those teams we’d have won the league.

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