London, UK -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/16/2012 -- With just seconds remaining of last years premiership, Sergio Aguero scored a fine effort that completed an injury-time turnaround against Queens Park Rangers and gave the Citizens the goal that so cruelly denied the red half of Manchester.
Both the Manchester clubs are likely to be the most popular with punters before Saturday’s big kick-off and, considering both Manchester City and Manchester United finished 19 points clear of third-placed Arsenal last time, it’s not surprising the pair head the points index.
Manchester United and Chelsea have been busy in the transfer market and, although the transfer saga revolving around Robin van Persie is still undecided, that hasn’t stopped Arsene Wenger bolstering his squad as the Frenchman looks to lead his Arsenal side to their first title since 2003-04.
Bolton, Blackburn and Wolverhampton Wanderers found themselves at the bottom of the pile last spring and the trio have sunk back into the Championship. Their replacements, Reading, Southampton and West Ham, will battle to try and secure the 38 points that has been on average enough to stay up in the last decade.
Despite winning the Championship, Reading have been tipped up by many as the side most likely to make a quick return to English football’s second tier but punters should perhaps be more wary of ‘second season syndrome’ – the moniker given to sides who struggle after an initial great first season in the top-flight. Ipswich, Manchester City, Reading and Birmingham are all examples from the last ten years of teams who were promoted to the Premier League, performed well above people’s expectations but then suffered relegation the following year.
Swansea, Norwich and Queens Park Rangers made history last term when it was the first time since the Championship was rebranded in 2004-05 that all three promoted sides had stayed up. But all three clubs have either seen players come and go, managerial changes or off the field controversy which will arguably set them up for a struggle.
In the battle for a top four finish and the lucrative prize of Champions League football, Chelsea got themselves out of jail last season by winning the European competition having only managed sixth in the league. That meant Tottenham Hotspur missed out and both London rivals will be battling with the likes of Arsenal and last year’s surprise side Newcastle for a premier European berth. 68 points has been the average mark clubs have needed since 2002-03 to secure fourth place.
Manchester United last year amassed 89 points, the highest amount ever not to have won the Premier League. The average winning points haul has been 88 points while only Chelsea (95 in 2004-05 and 91 in 2005-06) and Manchester United (92 in 1993-94 and 91 in 1999-00) have broken the 90 point barrier.
Overall Manchester United (12) have the most titles since the Premier League started in 1992-93. Blackburn Rovers (1), Manchester City (1), Arsenal (3) and Chelsea (3) are the only other clubs to have ever won it.
Players have needed to score an average of 26 goals to secure the Golden Boot Award in the last ten year period and only Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more than 30 goals. Kevin Philips in 1999-00 is the last man to win the honour outright playing for a side outside the traditional Big Four – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.
Interestingly, no side has ever won the Premier League having finished outside the top three the previous year which suggests we won’t have a new winner this year.
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