Analysis

After 26 Premier League seasons, where YOUR club sits in the all-time table

Six clubs ended the 2017/18 season by playing their 1,000th Premier League games. Congrats! Yet when we tot the points up, where do they sit on the all-time Premier League table?

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First up, we all understand that top-flight football existed before 1992/93. Manchester United fans weren’t going wild in 2010/11 because they built up that all-important 12-3 cushion over Arsenal and Chelsea in Premier League titles won.

No, it was because they’d edged ahead of rivals Liverpool 19-18 in the all-time league championship stakes. We’re not trying to erase history - honest. But the start of the Premier League did change things a bit. More cash, more foreign stars, a weirder trophy, far weirder kick-off times.

Secondly, we also get that every league season is its own, self-contained thing. The seasons of the Premier League don’t all add up to one big story arc like on Game of Thrones (although if they did, Liverpool would be the Starks, right? And the Lannisters would be… OK, let’s not go there).

Still, it’s fun to look back on who’ve been the successes, surprises and flops of the ‘Premier League era’, especially as the clubs at the top of this list have now hit 1,000 games. So we’re going to count down the top 20 Premier League clubs by points to see who truly are the quantifiable elite English teams of the last 26 years. Then we’ll take a quick look at the other 29 sides who don't quite make it.

So who’s the 20th best team of the Premier League era? Well, we’re glad you asked…

(Note: a big thanks to statbunker.com, who did lots of these sums so we didn’t have to)

20. Stoke

Points: 457 (from 380 games), 
Seasons: 10, 
Goal difference: -127

Premier League stat

  • Peter Crouch (45 goals) surpassed Jon Walters (43 goals) as Stoke's highest ever Premier League scorer this season

Plum last, but a crumb of comfort for Stoke, relegated from the actual top division this season after a 10-season stint. The Potters are actually punching above their weight, in that no other team in the all-time Premier League top 20 has played fewer than 400 games - and here are Stoke with just 380! Fairly impressive (right?).

That said, Stoke's haul of only 398 goals in those 380 games – while conceding a still relatively miserly 525 – tells you that the Potters haven’t exactly been Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle in the entertainment stakes.

19. West Brom

Points: 464 (from 456 games),  
Seasons: 12, 
Goal difference: -221

Premier League stat

  • Chris Brunt has the record for West Brom Premier League appearances (269). The midfielder was also the club’s top scorer in 2008/09 with nine goals

Boing-boing indeed. The Baggies bounced up and down with gusto after they were first promoted to the Premier League in 2002, with three relegations and three promotions in the following eight seasons. After 2011, West Brom finally sat still for a while – until relegation struck this season, despite the best efforts of Darren Moore to undo the mess of Pardiola's reign. 

The stats aren’t all pretty. Of all the 49 clubs to have appeared in the Prem, only one has a worse goal difference than West Brom’s -221 (and we’ll get to them shortly).

Some perspective, however: when the Premier League was christened in 1992, West Brom were in the third tier – not so much a sleeping giant as one in a coma, whose only association with the division was when people took the mick out of Frank Skinner on Fantasy Football League. Compared to those days, being a Prem yo-yo club is a major step up.

18. Leicester

Premier League stat

  • Riyad Mahrez has become the Foxes' all-time Premier League assist leader with 27, surpassing Turkish playmaker Muzzy Izzet (22)

Points: 555 (from 460 games), 
Seasons: 12, 
Goal difference: -98

The lowest place team to have actually won the Premier League. Which, to be fair, most Foxes fans would likely have taken two years ago if you’d offered it to them. Possibly with the words: “Yeah, fair enough, the lowest place team to… sorry, come again?”

Leicester arrived in the Premier League in 1994 under Brian Little's stewardship, and immediately went back down. It was Martin O'Neill who later led them to four consecutive top-10 finishes, and things went a bit haywire after he left in 2000: Leicester finished bottom in 2002, made a one-season appearance in 2003/04, then briefly dipped down to the third tier in 2008/09, before returning in 2014 to pull off a great escape and then a title win. A perfectly normal narrative.

17. Bolton

Points: 575 (from 494 games),  
Seasons: 13, 
Goal difference: -170

Premier League stat

  • Bolton’s two highest scorers are Kevin Davies (67) and Kevin Nolan (39). New transfer policy: sign anyone named Kev

Nowt surprising about Bolton - Premier League stalwarts for 11 consecutive seasons from 2001 to 2012 – earning enough points to sit in the Prem elite. Especially as the club finished as high as sixth in 2005, when Big Sam’s fleshy hand was on the tiller.

What’s surprising is that we recall Bolton as an obdurate, defensive unit. Stats tell a different tale. They’ve conceded 745 goals - the most by far of any club that's played under 500 Premier League games. However, they also scored 575.

As a comparison, that’s more than Fulham in the same number of games, despite the Cottagers picking up more points. We have besmirched Bolton’s good name! Time to watch videos of Jay-Jay Okocha and Youri Djorkaeff as “punishment”.

16. Fulham

Premier League stat

  • You may know him better as US rapper 'Deuce', but Clint Dempsey also slyly scored a club-high 50 Premier League goals for Fulham. Respect

Points: 586 (from 494 games), 
Seasons: 13, 
Goal difference: -127

Fulham were languishing in the fourth tier of English football in the mid-90s, so their Mohamed Al-Fayed-funded charge up the divisions to the Premier League in 2001/02 was a dizzying climb. It also explains why most fans tolerated the owner’s, erm, odd statue-related eccentricity.

Fulham liked the Prem so much they stayed for an impressive 13 consecutive seasons (no club outside the top 10 in this table has had a longer unbroken run). Relegation struck in 2014, but a classy Fulham side finished third in the Championship in 2017/18 and will be aiming for a Premier League return very soon.

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