Premier League Final Day - Season Points Review
Premier League 2018/19 Final Day & Season Points Review
Man City finally prevailed in the most gripping Premier League title race in recent history when they beat Brighton 4-1 at the Amex on Sunday afternoon. Goals from Sergio Aguero, Aymeric Laporte, Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan helped Pep Guardiola’s men cruise to a 14th consecutive league victory and took them up to 98 points. That was enough for them to edge Liverpool by a single point and it made them the first team to win back-to-back titles since Man Utd a decade ago. They will now go down as one of the greatest teams in Premier League history.
It was a heartbreaking end to a sensational campaign for Jurgen Klopp’s exciting Liverpool side. Their 29-year wait for a league title continues, despite a 2-0 victory over Wolves at Anfield. They went into the final day reliant on Man City slipping up at the Amex and they were given a glimmer of hope when Glenn Murray put Brighton 1-0 up after 27 minutes. The Reds were already leading Wolves thanks to Sadio Mané’s opener, and fans prayed for Brighton to hold on. Yet Man City turned on the style and ultimately swept the Seagulls aside and roared to the title.
Liverpool ended the campaign with 97 points, the third highest tally ever secured in the Premier League. It would have been good enough to win them the title in any season apart from 2017/18, when Man City secured a record-breaking 100 points. The Reds only managed 75 points last term and they knew they would require a significant improvement in order to close the gap.
They shipped out Loris Karius – the young German goalkeeper whose blunders cost them the Champions League final – and broke the world record for a keeper to sign Alisson. A further £100 million investment in midfielders Fabinho and Naby Keita followed, while Xherdan Shaqiri’s arrival further bolstered their attacking options. The bold transfer strategy paid dividends and Liverpool came flying out of the blocks. They won their first six games in a row and signalled that Guardiola’s troops had a real title battle on their hands.
Has a Team Ever got to 97 Points and not won the Premier League?
Liverpool arguably have a tougher game against Wolves, who have climbed up to seventh in the standings after winning their last three matches. It finished 2-0 to the Reds when these teams met at Molineux earlier this season, but Wolves have improved over the course of the season and they are playing some attractive, ambitious football at present.
Premier League Points Spread: How Did Our Predictions Pan Out Across the Season?
Our traders have been busy all season predicting the amount of points each team would end up with, and it has evolved in fascinating ways during a campaign peppered with all manner of thrilling twists and turns. Before the season, we predicted that Man City would secure 88 points and that Liverpool would finish with 81.
After six games, Liverpool had 18 and Man City were still unbeaten on 16. By that point, we had Man City pitched at 90 points and Liverpool at 88, indicating how close our traders thought the title race would become. You could either buy or sell on each price in the Premier League Points Spread, depending on whether you thought we had been too ambitious or too conservative. After 15 rounds of fixtures, it had become clear that these fantastic teams were pushing one another to achieve new heights, but our traders felt City would triumph comfortably and we had Man City at 98 and Liverpool at 90.
Then Guardiola’s side started to wobble and they suffered consecutive defeats at the hands of Crystal Palace and Leicester over the Christmas period. Their air of invincibility diminished and after Week 20 we had Liverpool at 94 and Man City at 91. The champions suffered another defeat against Newcastle and Liverpool led the way in this points prediction market. But then Man City embarked on their flawless 14-game winning streak and the tide began to turn. By Week 33 they were neck and neck with 95 points predicted apiece, but Man City secured huge wins over Tottenham and Man Utd and went on to win the league by a single point, with the Citizen’s reaching 98 points.
The Finest of Margins
Liverpool only lost once all season, a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Man City on January 3, a game which saw John Stones clear the ball of the line with millimetres to spare. It is a perfect illustration of the fine margins from this pulsating title race.
The Reds had the PFA Player of the Year in Virgil Van Dijk, while forwards Mohamed Salah and Mané shared the Golden Boot with Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. They finished with a plus-67 goal difference and 97 points. That is more points than the Invincibles of Arsenal managed in 2004, and more than the best Man Utd and Chelsea teams have ever earned. But it still was not enough for them to win the title.
Man City became the first team since the marauding Man Utd side of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney to successfully defend the title. They can wrap up the first domestic treble in English history if they beat Watford in the FA Cup final.
At one point Chelsea looked as though they might make it a three-horse race after they won their first five games of the season under new manager Maurizio Sarri. Our traders were unconvinced and only moved them up from a pre-season prediction of 74 points to 79 on week 5. They soon fell away in the title battle and by Week 31 we had them pitched at 72 points, which is the tally they ended with after a 0-0 draw with Leicester on the final day.
Man Utd's Rollercoaster Season
The biggest shock on the final day was Man Utd’s humbling 2-0 defeat at the hands of already relegated Cardiff.
Jose Mourinho was sacked after presiding over a miserable start to the campaign and Man Utd went from a prediction of 75 points pre-season to just 63 points by Week 17. Yet Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came in and guided them on a long winning streak and brought the feel-good factor back to Old Trafford. By Week 29 they had roared back up to 75 points in our predictions, but they ended with just 66.
Tottenham also threatened to make things interesting at one point, but the highest they ever reached in our Points Predictor was 82 on weeks 19 and 26. Some disappointing results recently meant Spurs only finished with 71 points, claiming fourth position. Arsenal followed a similar pattern: we had them pitched at 68 points after the third week of the campaign, 76 points by Week 16 following a strong winning run, only for the Gunners to get 70 total points and miss out on a Champions League place.
Drama at the Bottom
There were also plenty of twists and turns at the bottom of the table. Fulham invested heavily in their squad after returning to the top flight and they were initially pitched at 43 points, which would have left them mid-table. That number was constantly eroded over the course of a miserable campaign and it was down to just 23 by Week 33, as Fulham were relegated with several games to spare. But then the Cottagers remarkably rediscovered how to win games once the pressure was off and ended with 26.
Huddersfield were expected to struggle and they were only predicted to gain 35 points, but the Terriers totally lost their bite this season and finished the campaign with a mere 16 points.
We pitched Cardiff at just 34 points before the season began after an underwhelming summer transfer window from the newly promoted club. Yet the Bluebirds proved far more durable than Huddersfield and Fulham and they almost secured survival. In the end though they could only manage 34, vindicating our traders. They finished just two points below Brighton and they will be playing Championship football next season.
Interestingly, we had Brighton down for 39 points before the season started, which was the third lowest points prediction of all teams. Brighton only managed a total of 36 points but still stayed up, so The Seagulls can consider themselves very fortunate to be playing Premier League football again next season.
Arguably the most interesting team of the season was Burnley. Sean Dyche’s men finished seventh last season, and we predicted them to pick up 42 points in 2018/19. However, they suffered a disastrous start to the season as they were exhausted from an ill-fated Europa League qualification campaign. At the halfway point we projected them to secure just 29 points. Burnley embarked on a strong second half of the campaign and achieved 40 points.
All in all, it was a gripping season, but it will always be remembered for an epic title race and Man City’s brilliant achievement in seeing off the most spirited challenge imaginable from Liverpool.
Stay tuned to Sporting Index over the summer for our Premier League Points predictions for 2019/20.