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2011-12 – The Only Season Premier League Was Won On Goal Difference. Will The History Repeat Itself?

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Premier League

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On the 13th of May 2012, matchday 38 of the 2011-12 Premier League season, Manchester United had won their final game of the season against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light courtesy of a Wayne Rooney goal.

The result took them to the top of the table having secured 89 points, but the Manchester City – Queens Park Rangers game wasn’t finished yet. And just like United, City had entered the final match day with 86 points and were actually topping the table on goal difference, with +63 to United’s +55.

While United’s game ended with the scores at the Etihad at 2 – 1 in favour of QPR, almost everyone was waiting for the Red Devils to get presented with the trophy. City had 5 minutes added after 90 minutes, and Dzeko temporarily raised hopes with his 92nd-minute equaliser.

In unbelievable circumstances, and with less than half a minute to go to wrap up the game, Balotelli laid a pass into Aguero’s path in the box, and the Argentine unleashed a low drive into the net, sending the Etihad into a frenzy.

At the very end of the 2011-12 season, Manchester City had secured their first ever Premier League title and emerged champions of England for the first time in 44 years. And all that happened because of a difference in goals, with the champions 8 better than the runners-up.

Can we have a repeat of that in 2016-17? 5 years ago, scoring 89 goals and shipping 33 as opposed to the winner’s 93 goals for and 29 conceded became Manchester United’s undoing. Despite winning (28), losing (5) and drawing (5) the same number of games as Manchester City.

With another keen challenge for the top prize ongoing, and just only a point separating the top 3 sides, while 4th-placed Arsenal is hot on their heels with only 3 points adrift league leaders Chelsea, we are sure that this year we will not going to have a clear winner until the very end of the campaign.

Since 1992, the Premier League has only been won once on goal difference. Indeed, in the history of the top flight, the last matchday of the 2011-12 season is the first time such has ever happened. And we are just seeing the signs again. Can history repeat itself?

Since the start of the new season, only at the end of matchday 6 has there been a huge gap between the 1st and 2nd placed teams. Manchester City were on top with 18 points, while 2nd placed Tottenham had 14 points. Since and before then, the most difference we’ve seen between top 2 is 2 points. On match week 4 and 5.

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On 3 separate occasions after the 2nd round of games (week 3, 9 and 10), we have had the top 3 teams tied on same points, with goals difference separating them. 4 times, the top 2 have had only goals judging who is atop the table, and we have already had 3 different teams top the table this season at different times.

Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool have established themselves as early frontrunners, while Arsenal and Tottenham closely follow them. Manchester United are in 6th position, some 11 points behind the Blues. Without no doubt, the title is between 1 of these 6, and the table for the next 25 games should have the top 3 spots shared between them.

2016-17 has been one of the most competitive starts to a season in a long while, and the chances of having some drama akin to the 2011-12 season’s last matchday are very high. It’s going to be a very close call till the last ball is kicked.

This is the English Premier League!!!