Recapping the Premier League season

Posted by Paul Carr, ESPN Stats & Information

Little changed on the final day of the Premier League season, as Arsenal held off Tottenham for fourth place and the final Champions League berth. With the season in the books, here's a supersized dose of Five Aside, with a note on the seasons of all 20 clubs.

• Manchester United won the English title for a record 20th time, including its 13th championship in the Premier League era, five more than all other clubs combined. All 13 of those titles came under Sir Alex Ferguson, who finished his United career with an even 1,500 games managed.

• A year after winning its first league title in 44 years, Manchester City finished a distant second place, 11 points back of Man United. City had the league’s best defense this season, allowing 34 goals. But the problem was offense, as City scored 66 goals, 27 fewer than its league-leading 93 a season ago.

• Chelsea finished third and earned a berth in the Champions League group stage for the 11th straight season. Only Manchester United (18 straight) and Real Madrid (17) have reached more consecutive group stages.

• By finishing fourth, Arsenal enters Champions League qualifying and could leap Chelsea with its 16th straight Champions League group stage. Of the previous 21 English teams in qualifying, 19 advanced to the group stage. The most recent team to fail was Everton in 2005.

• Tottenham finished fifth with 72 points, which would have been enough for Champions League qualification in 10 of the previous 11 seasons. The 72 points are the most ever by a fifth-place team in a 38-game Premier League season.

• Everton finished sixth, two points ahead of Liverpool. This marks the first time Everton has topped Liverpool in consecutive first-division seasons since a three-season run from 1935 to 1937.

• Liverpool finished seventh, and the Reds have finished no better than sixth for four straight seasons. The previous time Liverpool had four such campaigns in a row was a seven-season stretch that ended with relegation in 1954.

• West Brom’s eighth-place result is the club’s best finish in the top flight since coming in fourth in 1980-81.

• By coming in ninth, Swansea City earned its second-ever top-half result in the first division. The other was sixth place in 1981-82.

• Last season, playoff-winning Swansea survived its first Premier League season. This year, 10th-place West Ham did likewise, marking the first time in 10 years that consecutive playoff winners stayed in the Premier League.

• Norwich City’s 11th-place finish is the club’s best top-flight result since its highest league finish of third place in 1992-93.

• Fulham finished in the top 12 for the fifth straight season after doing so only twice in its first seven Premier League seasons.

• Despite only 42 points, the club’s fewest in the Premier League era, Stoke City ended the season in 13th, finishing between 11th and 14th for the fifth straight season. Arsene Wenger is the only Premier League manager with a longer tenure than Stoke’s Tony Pulis, who has helmed the Potters since 2006.

• In its first Premier League season since 2004-05, Southampton finished 14th. Before being relegated eight years ago, Southampton had finished in the top 15 in four consecutive seasons.

• Finishing 15th, Aston Villa conceded 69 goals, third-most in the league. That’s the most goals Villa has allowed in a season since its previous relegation in 1986-87.

• Newcastle allowed 68 goals, the club’s most in a top-division season since 1985-86. Only one of Newcastle’s 45 league goals was scored by an Englishman, as the Magpies became the seventh team in the Premier League era to have one or fewer goals scored by players from England.

• Sunderland survived in 17th place, and the Black Cats will play in the Premier League for the seventh straight season, the team’s longest stretch in the first division since 1958.

• Wigan became the first FA Cup champion to be relegated in the same season, going down for the first time after eight Premier League seasons. Wigan was the only club that had never been relegated after reaching the English top flight.

• Next-to-last Reading finished with 28 points, its fewest-ever Premier League points. Reading won only eight road points this season, fewest in the league.

• And last-place Queens Park Rangers scored only 30 league goals, fewest of any team in all four divisions. QPR set a club record for fewest goals in a league season with seven fewer than the club had in 1925-26.

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