Most Premier League points
First up, we all understand that top-flight football existed before 1992-93. Secondly, we also get that every league season is its own, self-contained thing.
Still, it’s fun to look back on who’ve been the successes, surprises and flops of the Premier League era, especially as six clubs hit 1,000 games this term. 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.
Points: 457 (from 380 games)
Goal difference: -127
A crumb of comfort for Stoke, relegated from the actual top division this term 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 the Potters with just 380.
That said, Stoke's haul of only 398 goals in those 380 games – while conceding a still relatively miserly 525 – shows they haven’t exactly been Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle in the entertainment stakes.
19. West Brom
Points: 464 (from 456 games)
Goal difference: -221
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 Alan Pardew’s reign.
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. Compared to those days, being a Prem yo-yo club is a major step up.
Points: 555 (from 460 games)
Goal difference: -98
The lowest-placed team to have actually won the Premier League. Which, to be fair, most Foxes fans would have willingly accepted three years ago.
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.Well, it's not been dull.
Points: 575 (from 494 games)
Goal difference: -170
There’s nothing surprising about Bolton – Premier League stalwarts for 11 consecutive seasons from 2001 to 2012 – earning enough points to sit in the division’s elite. What’s surprising is that many recall the Trotters as an obdurate, defensive unit, but the 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 – and scored 575.
By way of comparison, that’s more than Fulham scored in the same number of matches, despite the Cottagers picking up more points.
Points: 586 (from 494 games)
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 was a dizzying climb. It also explains why most fans tolerated the owner’s, erm, odd statue-related eccentricity.
Fulham liked the Premier League 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 to return to the top tier very soon.
Points: 618 (from 608 games)
Goal difference: -292
By a distance the worst goal difference of any Premier League side – and if you thought the 2016-17 season was poor by the Black Cats, they’ve actually had two far worse top-flight terms. In 2002-03 and 2005-06, Sunderland finished bottom without even reaching the 20-point mark.
From 608 Premier League games, they’ve won just 153. Having been hit by back-to-back relegations and now facing a season in the third tier, a record fifth Premier League promotion must seem a long way off.
Points: 661 (from 574 games)
Goal difference: -146
Boro were one of the Premier League’s original 22 in 1992-93, but finished 21st and suffered demotion in that debut campaign. Second-bottom is a spot they enjoy so much they’ve finished there four times (i.e. every time they’ve been relegated).
Yet it’s not all bad: around that, they had an 11-year unbroken spell between 1998 and 2009 – and finished as a high as seventh under Steve McClaren in 2005 – which explains their comfortable position in lower mid-table here.
Points: 692 (from 468 games,
Goal difference: +68
The club that entered the Premier League as defending league champions have suffered the most dramatic of falls. Leeds finished in the top five every season between 1998 and 2002 – but spent lots of borrowed dosh on exotic luxuries such as tropical fish and Seth Johnson, so had to sell off their young stars and were relegated in 2004.
Leeds fans won’t need reminding of the various agonies on and off the pitch since. Yet it’s a testament to how strong the club were in their first dozen Premier League years that they’re still as remarkably high as 13th.
Points: 889 (from 734 games)
Goal difference: -130
A whopping 197 points above Leeds in 13th, yet still over 80 points short of 11th spot, the Saints have 12th place on lockdown. They do sit sixth on the list of most Premier League defeats with 303, but that’s a legacy of having been present for 19 of 26 seasons.
Those seven seasons away from the Premier League saw Southampton dip briefly into the third tier, but – despite this term's struggles – the club's form is strong over the last half-decade. Until 2017-18, the Saints had finished in the top eight in four consecutive seasons.
Points: 970 (from 696 games)
Goal difference: +20
After just three Premier League seasons, Blackburn sat second in this overall table having finished fourth, second and – in 1995 – first. Yet without former owner Jack Walker’s leadership (and crisp banknotes), the club has slipped out of the all-time top 10.
The ownership of Venky’s has been rather less popular than that of Walker’s, what with them guiding the club out of the Premier League and into the third tier. Promotion in 2017-18 at least puts Rovers back in the Championship and within sight of the 30 Premier League points they need to reach the 1,000 mark.
10. West Ham
Points: 1,046 (from 844 games)
Goal difference: -202
Hammers’ fans joy at besting Tottenham at the end of 2016-17 wasn’t gloating in effectively ending their fellow London club’s title bid (perish the thought!) but rather in pushing past the Premier League’s 1,000 points total.
Of course, West Ham’s cumulative -202 goal difference (the third worst among all clubs to have played in the Prem) also speaks to the dodgy times the club has faced. Relegated twice, but having finished as high as fifth in 1999 under Harry Redknapp, it’s been a rollercoaster existence.
9. Aston Villa
Points: 1,223 (from 924 games)
Goal difference: -69
Villa finished runners-up in the first ever Premier League. Yet despite flickers of a resurgence under Brian Little, John Gregory then Martin O’Neill, it’s been a slow decline since.
Eventual relegation in 2016 has had one bonus side-effect. Back then, Villa held the record for Premier League losses (333) but by taking a brief sabbatical from the top flight they’ve passed that millstone to Everton. That’s a silver lining, right Villa fans?
Points: 1,227 (from 882 games)
Goal difference: +20
During the Premier League’s first 13 years, Newcastle finished second twice (under Kevin Keegan), then had three top-five finishes (under Bobby Robson). The last 13 years have conversely yielded two relegations and just one top-five finish (in 2012).
Rafa Benitez ran a superbly tight ship to keep Newcastle afloat this season, despite a reportedly frosty relationship with a certain fireplace-bothering owner. Yet the all-time stats do bear out Newcastle’s ‘entertainers’ image: they’ve scored 1,207 and conceded an almighty 1,187.
7. Manchester City
Points: 1,271 (from 810 games)
Goal difference: +327
An abrupt change occurred for Manchester City in 2008 – it was either getting Shaun Wright-Phillips back, or possibly the sudden arrival of all the money in the universe. Who can really say for sure?
Either way, from an also-ran club just inside this top 20 in 2008, City have soared into the top 10. This season alone they have jumped two spots (above Aston Villa and Newcastle) thanks to the 100 points amassed by Guardiola's breathtaking outfit. No club outside the Premier League's ever-present clubs can boast such a high all-time points total, while City's +327 goal difference is bettered only by the top four on this list.
Points: 1,373 (from 1,000 games)
Goal difference: +38
The Toffees might hold the record for Premier League draws (287) and defeats (351), but that’s mainly because they're part of the select group of half a dozen ever-presents.
Everton also spent the early Premier League years battling relegation and pulling off a miracle escapes. While he may not quite be the rising star of a manager he once was, David Moyes brought a positive upward trend in the noughties and Everton have climbed up this table ever since. Even with the turgid football on display this season, the Toffees still finished a respectable eighth.
Points: 1,524 (from 1,000 games)
Goal difference: +213
Let’s get the 'lads, it’s Tottenham' stat out of the way first: Spurs have conceded more Premier League goals than any other club (1,267). Truly impressive, considering that they’ve had one of the meanest defences in the league over the past four seasons under Mauricio Pochettino’s watch.
This record is partly a legacy of Tottenham being ever-presents, of course, as well an entertaining side who formerly had an approach of 'you score two, we’ll score three!' Overall, however, Spurs are a club trending upwards: the north Londoners didn’t finish inside the top six during the first 13 Premier League seasons, but now they’re firmly established among the country’s elite.
Points: 1,678 (from 1,000 games)
Goal difference: +615
The highest-placed club not to have won the Premier League. Liverpool’s finishing positions are very narrow: they’ve never finishing outside the top eight in 25 full seasons and have ended up second on three occasions, which includes two of the Prem’s strongest runners-up sides: Rafa Benitez’s Fernando Torres-spearheaded side of 2008-09 and Brendan Rodgers’ 2013-14 entertainers.
Liverpool’s stats are strong: a win ratio of 50%, 1,604 goals and a 228-point gap on Tottenham in fifth. Yet still one fewer league title in the last 25 years than Leicester or Blackburn. Damn.
Points: 1,859 (from 1,000 games)
Goal difference: +744
For three of the first four Premier League seasons, Chelsea finished 11th. Yet the Blues are the team of the second half of the Premier League era; over the past 14 seasons, they’ve won five Premier League titles (the same number as Manchester United) and have scored the most points in that time: 1,115 against the Old Trafford club’s 1,113.
Major investment has played a big part, first from lifelong Chelsea fan Matthew Harding, then to an even greater extent from Roman Abramovich. The capital club have generally invested wisely when it comes to players and, crucially, getting the best managers.
Points: 1,885 (from 1,000 games)
Goal difference: +810
Second-most wins (544), second-highest goals scored (1,772), even the most second-place finishes (six): Arsenal have more seconds than Augustus Gloop at dinner time.
That might sound like damning with faint praise, but it really isn’t. Being the second-most successful Premier League club, only one spot behind the trophy hogs at the top, is an impressive achievement. Especially when you consider Arsenal spent their first five years in the Prem doddering between 12th and third – until Arsene Wenger’s methods kicked in and the club won three Premier League titles in a seven-year span.
1. Manchester United
Points: 2,102 (from 1,000 games)
Goal difference: +1,049
Try to conceal your surprised face. Yep, the team that's won half of all Premier League titles (13) sit atop this table with a 217-point lead. Thing is, we don’t remember David Moyes, Louis van Gaal or Jose Mourinho (so far) doing that well, so the bloke before must have been some kind of trophy-hoarding emperor.
Critics might point out the fact that Manchester United have regularly been the biggest spenders of the Premier League era – and oh, look, they’re top of this table. But it’s to Alex Ferguson’s credit that, for the most part, he kept United on top even when Chelsea and Manchester City began waving bigger wads of cash around.
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.