Manchester United became the first side to reach 2000 Premier League points, and also +1000 Premier League goal difference in their 2-0 win over Watford on Saturday. Juan Mata’s 32nd minute opener put United on +1000 goal difference and set them on course to claim the three points required to rack up the two-tonne points tally.
It should come as no surprise that it is Manchester United who are the club that have claimed both of these milestones first. Since the Premier League’s (PL) inception in 1992, they have won more than 50% of it’s titles (13/24), and have a PL lowest finish of 7th (2013/14) – better than any other side. In this post we will look closer at the breakdown of how the Red Devils have achieved these feats in their 949th PL match.
Manchester United’s Premier League points and goal difference
It has not escaped the footballing world that Manchester United have slumped since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, which came at the end of their last title winning season, 2012/13. In each of United’s 21 PL seasons with the Scot at the helm, he guided them to a top three finish – something United have not managed in any of the three full seasons since his departure. In addition to this, United have recorded their three lowest PL points and goal difference tallies in the three most recent complete seasons, and at the two-thirds mark of this season, are on course to make that four. This, despite having brought in three time PL winning manager Jose Mourinho last summer. Had Manchester United maintained their metronomically high Ferguson-form beyond his retirement, then United could be projected to have hit 2000 points at the end of last season (2015/16), and reached +1000 goal difference during the 2014/15 season.
Manchester United PL points and goal difference by opponent
|Opponent||Pl||F||A||GD||Pts||GD / game||Pts / game|
|West Ham United||42||87||37||50||89||1.191||2.119|
|West Bromwich Albion||21||47||18||29||46||1.381||2.191|
|Queens Park Rangers||14||31||9||22||38||1.571||2.714|
|Milton Keynes Dons||16||37||15||22||36||1.375||2.250|
Looking at Manchester United’s points and goal difference by opponent pulls up some interesting finds. Aston Villa are the team who have contributed most to United’s points and goal difference tallies, and significantly in the goal difference category – ten more than any other team. There are three teams who United have taken maximum points against – single PL seasoners Barnsley and Blackpool, and also four-out-of-four wins against Bradford City. The Bradford goal record in those four games is an impressive 17 scored without reply, a fractionally worse average to the Barnsley nine-for-none from two games.
Without much surprise, it is Chelsea who United have taken the worst points per game (1.18), and by a distance over the next side, which is unexpectedly Burnley (1.6). United have only beaten Burnley twice in five attempts, suffering a shock 1-0 defeat in the first PL encounter the two sides had. Manchester United have an overall positive PL goal difference against all sides except for Chelsea, who they have shipped seven more goals than they have scored. The 4-0 loss earlier this season, and a 5-0 defeat in 1999 heavily contributing to the overall goal difference, with United’s best PL winning margin over Chelsea at just three.
The race to 2000 points and +1000 goal difference
Arsenal are the closest team to United in both the overall PL points and goal difference categories, yet the north-London side are over 200 points and goal difference behind. However, Chelsea are closing the gap up to Arsenal, despite a poor start to the PL era which saw them have a total negative goal difference up until 1997. Should the two London sides current form persist further, it won’t be too long before Chelsea displace Arsenal for second place in these tallies. However both clubs have a massive task to reel in Manchester United as the leaders of these statistics. It will require Chelsea or Arsenal to experience a long run of form similar to that of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, coupled with United to continue to not feature in the PL top three. So for the foreseeable future, it seems that Manchester United will head both of these leader-boards.