Liverpool would be top if Premier League reverted to two points for a win - and Everton doomed

·7-min read

Crystal Palace's 0-0 draw with Leeds United on Monday night edged the West Yorkshire side a point closer to safety. However, despite three points being on offer for a victory, Leeds' approach, and that of Everton at Liverpool the previous day, suggested one point was still the sum total of their ambitions.

So, does that mean three points for a win has not had the transformative impact on the game it was meant to? Planet Sport crunches the numbers and also looks at how the current Premier League table would shape up if it was only two points for a victory.

Prior to three points for a win

Pat Jennings Martin Peters Apr79
Pat Jennings Martin Peters Apr79

In the ten Division One seasons preceding three points for a win, draws averaged out at 28.7% a season, with the 1973/74 campaign seeing 149 of the 462 games (32.2%) ending in stalemates. The 1978/79 season also featured 144 draws (31.2%), with Norwich City setting a record, with 23 draws from their 42 games - they finished 16th of 22. Goals per game averaged out at 2.57 across the period.

The most common scorelines were 1-0 and 1-1, though 1979/80 saw 0-0s hold sway with 57.

Season

Matches

Draws (%)

Goal average

Most common

1971/72

462

27.9

2.51

1-0

1972/73

462

28.1

2.51

1-1

1973/74

462

32.3

2.4

1-1

1974/75

462

26.8

2.63

1-1

1975/76

462

27.5

2.66

1-1

1976/77

462

29.7

2.56

1-0

1977/78

462

28.6

2.66

1-0

1978/79

462

31.2

2.63

1-1

1979/80

462

29.0

2.51

0-0

1980/81

462

25.5

2.66

1-0

Immediately after the introduction of three points for a win - 1981/82 to 1991/92

Surprisingly, the first season after the introduction of three points for a win saw draws actually increase from 25.5% in 1980/81 to 26.2% in 1981/82. Goals per game also dipped from 2.66 to 2.54, while 1-1 was again the most popular scoreline.

However, in the 11 seasons between the introduction of three points for a win and the inaugural Premier League, draws dipped on average from 28.7% to 26.6%. Meanwhile, goal output increased from 2.57 per game to 2.65. And in a rare break from 1-0s and 1-1s, a 2-1 home win proved the most prevalent in 1990/91.

Season

Matches

Draws (%)

Goal average

Most common

1981/82

462

26.2

2.54

1-1

1982/83

462

24.0

2.74

1-0

1983/84

462

25.5

2.71

1-1

1984/85

462

23.2

2.79

1-1

1985/86

462

23.8

2.79

1-0

1986/87

462

26.6

2.63

1-1

1987/88

420

31.4

2.5

1-1

1988/89

380

29.5

2.53

1-1

1989/90

380

26.1

2.59

1-1

1990/91

380

27.1

2.76

2-1

1991/92

462

29.2

2.54

1-1

The start of the Premier League - 1992/93 to present day

Eric cantona Man Utd Premier League trophy May93
Eric cantona Man Utd Premier League trophy May93

The first seven seasons of the Premier League saw an upturn in draws, with averages topping 30% in three of the campaigns to push the average for the period to 28.6% - on a par with pre three points for a win levels. The 1998/99 season even saw 0-0 proving the most popular scoreline with 49 of the 380 matches ending goalless.

Season

Matches

Draws (%)

Goal average

Most common

1992/93

462

28.1

2.65

1-1

1993/94

462

30.7

2.59

1-1

1994/95

462

29.0

2.59

1-1

1995/96

380

25.8

2.6

1-0

1996/97

380

31.3

2.55

1-1

1997/98

380

25.0

2.68

1-0

1998/99

380

30.2

2.52

0-0

1999/2000

380

24.2

2.79

1-1

2000/01

380

26.6

2.61

1-1

2001/02

380

26.6

2.63

1-1

2002/03

380

23.7

2.63

1-0

2003/04

380

28.4

2.66

1-1

2004/05

380

29.0

2.56

1-1

2005/06

380

20.1

2.48

1-0

2006/07

380

25.8

2.45

1-1

2007/08

380

26.3

2.64

1-1

2008/09

380

25.5

2.48

1-0

However, over the 30 seasons of the Premier League draws are down on the two previous study groups, at 25.1%. This has been even more marked over the last nine seasons, with draws dropping to just 23.3%. Among those was the 2018/19 season which yielded only 71 draws (12 of which featured Southampton) for an average of just 18.7%. It also saw 2-0 as the most popular outcome. Goals per game are virtually unchanged since the advent of three points for a win, although there has been a pick-up since the 2009/10 season, which saw a 2-1 home win as the most popular scoreline. The 13 seasons including that one and this have seen goals per game rise to 2.75.

Surprisingly, the average number of games with three or more goals is exactly the same this season as it was in the last season of two points for a win - 52%.

Season

Matches

Draws (%)

Goal average

Most common

2009/10

380

25.3

2.77

2-1

2010/11

380

29.2

2.8

1-1

2011/12

380

24.5

2.81

1-1

2012/13

380

28.4

2.8

1-1

2013/14

380

20.3

2.77

1-0

2014/15

380

24.5

2.57

0-1

2015/16

380

28.2

2.7

1-1

2016/17

380

22.1

2.8

1-1

2017/18

380

26.1

2.68

1-1

2018/19

380

18.7

2.82

2-0

2019/20

380

24.2

2.72

1-1

2020/21

380

21.8

2.69

1-1

2021/22

331

23.6

2.77

1-1

This season

Frank Lampard Everton Apr22
Frank Lampard Everton Apr22

With 331 games played, draws average out at 23.6%, with an average of 2.77 goals per game and 1-1 again proving the most popular scoreline. However, despite draws being down on the levels prior to the introduction of three points for a win (and goals being up), the Premier League would be gearing up for a much more exciting conclusion under the old system.

Redrawing the table under two points for a win would have Manchester City and Liverpool level on points going into the final five games of the campaign. In fact, it would be the Reds who topped the table thanks to their superior goal difference.

The race for the fourth and final Champions League spot would also be far more open, with West Ham, in seventh, trailing Arsenal by just four points - they are currently eight points adrift of the Gunners.

P

W

D

L

F

A

Pts

1 (2)

Liverpool

33

24

7

2

85

22

55

2 (1)

Manchester City

33

25

5

3

80

21

55

3 (3)

Chelsea

32

19

8

5

67

27

46

4 (4)

Arsenal

33

19

3

11

52

40

41

5 (5)

Tottenham

33

18

4

11

56

38

40

6 (6)

Manchester United

34

15

9

10

53

51

39

7 (7)

West Ham

34

15

7

12

52

44

37

8 (8)

Wolves

33

15

4

14

33

29

34

9 (11)

Brighton

34

9

14

11

31

42

32

10 (9)

Newcastle United

34

11

10

13

40

55

32

11 (10)

Leicester City

32

11

9

12

47

51

31

12 (13)

Southampton

34

9

13

12

40

56

31

13 (14)

Crystal Palace

33

8

14

11

43

41

30

14 (12)

Brentford

34

11

7

16

41

49

29

15 (15)

Aston Villa

32

11

4

17

42

46

26

16 (16)

Leeds

33

8

10

15

38

68

26

17 (17)

Burnley

33

6

13

14

29

45

25

18 (18)

Everton

32

8

5

19

34

55

21

19 (19)

Watford

33

6

4

23

31

67

16

20 (20)

Norwich

33

5

6

22

22

69

16

However, while it may be good news for Liverpool and to a certain extent West Ham, the revised table would not make such good reading for fans of Everton. The Goodison Park club would need two wins just to get back on level terms with Burnley. And then they would probably still be below the Clarets due to an inferior goal difference.

READ MORE: Divock Origi, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and six other great 'super subs' in English football

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