Premier League stats: Will 96 points be enough for City in title race?

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Phil Foden’s first Premier League goal lifted Manchester City to 86 points on Saturday

It is as you were at the top of the Premier League after victories for Liverpool and Manchester City this weekend, but this season’s title race continues to produce plenty of talking points.

Jurgen Klopp’s team broke their own top-flight points record at Cardiff City Stadium, while City edged closer to a Premier League-best of their own.

BBC Sport takes a closer look at the weekend’s key stats…

Title holders close in on record – but will it be enough?

If Pep Guardiola’s team win their remaining games, they will become the first club to retain the Premier League title since rivals United did so in 2009.

Even if they are pipped to the post by Liverpool, City can still set a new record points haul for a reigning Premier League champion.

Saturday’s 1-0 win against Tottenham lifted them to 86 points, the highest tally for a defending champion since Sir Alex Ferguson’s United finished on 89 points in 2011-12 – only to be denied back-to-back titles by Sergio Aguero’s memorable injury-time winner against QPR.

The biggest ever points haul by the reigning Premier League title holders is 92, set by United in the 42-game season of 1993-94. Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea accrued 91 points in 2005-06 – the highest tally since the division was reduced to 20 teams in 1995-96.

If City maintain their current points-per-game ratio of 2.53, they will end the season on 96 – just four shy of their record-breaking 100-point tally from the 2017-18 season.

Highest final points haul of reigning Premier League champions
Season Reigning champions Final points
1993-94 Manchester United 92
2005-06 Chelsea 91
2008-09 Manchester United 90
1994-95 Manchester United 88
2007-08 Manchester United 87
2018-19 Manchester City 86*

Whether that will be enough to win City the league remains to be seen, particularly with Liverpool in such breathtaking form. The Reds’ 2-0 win at Cardiff on Sunday lifted them back above Guardiola’s team and on to 88 points – their best ever total in a Premier League season.

Adjusting to three points for a win, Liverpool have only earned more in a top-flight campaign in 1978-79 (98) and 1987-88 (90).

Can anyone really beat anyone in the Premier League?

While Liverpool and City continue to blaze a trail at the summit, it has been a forgettable campaign for the teams at the other end of the table – who have endured a miserable record against the division’s top sides this season.

Teams who started the day in the top six have won all 33 of their league games against sides in the bottom three – a top-flight record, surpassing 30 wins in such fixtures in the 1891-92, 1978-79, 1985-86, 2001-02, 2011-12 and 2013-14 seasons.

Perhaps as a consequence, the points gap between sixth place and third bottom in the Premier League also appears to be widening.

Manchester United, who were beaten 4-0 by Everton on Sunday, are currently 33 points above Cardiff. If they win the Manchester derby on Wednesday they will extend that gap to 36 points, which would equal the top-flight record set at the end of the 2013-14 season.

Then, Tottenham finished sixth on 69 points with 18th-placed Norwich City ending the campaign on 33 points.

Biggest points gap between sixth place and third bottom in the Premier League
Season Sixth place Third bottom Points gap
2013-14 69 (Tottenham Hotspur) 33 (Norwich City) 36
2016-17 69 (Manchester United) 34 (Hull City) 35
2009-10 64 (Aston Villa) 30 (Burnley) 34
2018-19 64* (Manchester United) 31* (Cardiff City) 33*
2017-18 63 (Arsenal) 33 (Swansea City) 30

Bacuna’s losing run goes on

If someone had told Juninho Bacuna back in July he would start 13 league games for Huddersfield in his first season in England, he might not have been too disappointed.

Unfortunately for the 21-year-old midfielder, he has ended up on the losing side on all 13 occasions – a Premier League record for a single campaign.

Bacuna, who joined the West Yorkshire club from Eredivisie side FC Groningen last summer, suffered his latest reverse against Watford on Saturday – a result that keeps the already-relegated Terriers rooted to the foot of the table.

The Dutch Under-21 international played 45 minutes of Town’s 1-0 win over Wolves in February, having come on as a half-time replacement for Demeaco Duhaney.

Former Sunderland midfielder Sean Thornton and ex-Reading defender Kalifa Cisse shared the previous record, having lost all 11 of their league starts in 2002-03 and 2007-08 respectively.

Bacuna might just settle for a place on the bench in Huddersfield’s next game – a trip to league leaders Liverpool on Friday.

Most defeats when starting in the Premier League
Season Player Starts Defeats when starting
2018-19 Juninho Bacuna (Huddersfield) 13 13
2002-03 Sean Thornton (Sunderland) 11 11
2007-08 Kalifa Cisse (Reading) 11 11
2002-03 Marcus Stewart (Sunderland) 9 9
2002-03 Kevin Kyle (Sunderland) 9 9
2015-16 Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) 9 9

Youngster Foden opens Premier League account

Phil Foden’s fifth-minute diving header earned City all three points against Tottenham at Etihad Stadium

City’s win against Tottenham was a far cry from Wednesday’s thrill-a-minute Champions League quarter-final second leg, but Phil Foden is unlikely to forget it in a hurry.

The 18-year-old achieved the latest milestone of his burgeoning career by scoring his first Premier League goal in the victory at Etihad Stadium, which saw them temporarily leapfrog Liverpool at the top of the table.

One of City’s standout performers against Spurs, Foden earned his team all three points with a superb diving header from Aguero’s cutback.

Foden is only the third player born in the 2000s to score in the top flight. Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon, 18, became the first earlier this season when he netted in the Cottagers’ 4-2 defeat at Cardiff in October, with 18-year-old Southampton forward Michael Obafemi scoring in the Saints’ 3-1 win at Huddersfield two months later.

The England Under-21 international is also the third youngest City player to score in the Premier League after Micah Richards and Daniel Sturridge.



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