There are two ways to get Premier League points.
First, the sensible way, by just beating other teams mainly quite comfortably. This is the method preferred this season for, say, Arsenal and is generally better for the overall health of your supporters.
But there is another way, and that is to be rubbish, go behind as often as not, and then frequently roar back to win thrillingly. This is largely an unsustainable method and obviously far riskier, but can also be very exciting. We’ll call this the Spurs Method.
So which team has had most success scrambling points from losing positions this season, then? Well it’s Spurs, obviously. And not just in the Premier League. But what about the other 19 lesser Premier League clubs? A mixed bag…
20. Leicester City – 0pts
8 deficits, 8 defeats
The good news, though, is that they have at least stopped going behind all the time. Five wins in the last eight now for Brendan Rodgers’ no longer terrible team. They’ve just happened to score first in all of them. Holding those leads is significant, though, because they also spent the first six weeks of the season spaffing those away.
19. Wolves – 1pt
10 deficits, 1 draw, 9 defeats
Something for Julen Lopetegui to think about here. Probably second item for his in-tray just behind the related problem of “never scoring any goals”. Brentford’s failure to hold a 1-0 lead for more than a minute or two makes them the only dafties to have failed to complete the formalities after going ahead against the goal-shy Wolves.
18. Nottingham Forest – 1pt
9 deficits, 1 draw, 8 defeats
The 96th-minute own-goal equaliser they snaffled against Brentford the other week wasn’t just the first point Forest have salvaged this season, it was also their first equaliser of any kind in the Premier League this season. That seems really quite mad.
17. Newcastle – 3pts
4 deficits, 3 draws, 1 defeat
Clearly the most significant number here is the four. That is clearly a very small number of games to fall behind in, and getting something out of three-quarters of the games you fall behind is also pretty good. The absence of a win is a minor pisser here, but it’s an impressive level of spunk nonetheless. The only lead they have been unable to quash was against Liverpool, who didn’t go in front until the last minute. Newcastle are very hard to beat. As Big Boss Winty put it, they have a floor now that allows them to make the first serious case for amending the number of Bigs in the Premier League since Man City and Spurs gatecrashed the old Big Four a decade ago.
16. Arsenal – 3pts
2 deficits, 1 win, 1 defeat
Arsenal, like damn fools, have condemned themselves to a place near the foot of this table by giving themselves vanishingly few opportunities to win points from losing positions. Points per game after falling behind is solid, though. Fulham were dealt with after having the temerity to go 1-0 up at the Emirates. Manchester United were very much not dealt with after similar impertinence at Old Trafford. Arsenal have still been behind for less than an hour in the Premier League this season.
15. Everton – 4pts
9 deficits, 1 win, 1 draw, 7 defeats
Everton don’t generally get anything when falling behind, but when they do they do it fast. The equaliser against Forest came eight minutes after Brennan Johnson thought he’d won it, while the turnaround at Southampton was even swifter and more dramatic. Barely five minutes had elapsed after Joe Aribo had put the Saints ahead early in the second half before Conor Coady and Dwight McNeil had turned it all around.
14. Brentford – 4pts
8 deficits, 4 draws, 4 defeats
Avoiding defeat in half the games you fall behind is solid enough, but if we’re being greedy you’d want one of those draws to be a win to really find yourself in proper Fighting Qualities territory. That said, these were good fighting draws. From 2-0 down at Leicester on the opening day, and then equalisers in the 84th and 88th minutes against Everton and Palace in back-to-back games. Pesky fact: all that happened in August. The point gained at Forest was really more a case of two lost given both the lateness of the Forest equaliser and the fact it was Forest who hadn’t managed an equaliser all season until that point.
13. Manchester United – 4pts
6 deficits, 1 win, 1 draw, 4 defeats
Everton’s early lead became a United lead before half-time thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s long-awaited 700th club goal, while Casemiro’s late header snatched a point at Chelsea. United came close to claiming a point from the opening-day defeat to Brighton, but it’s fair to say they did not come particularly close to salvaging anything from their other defeats at Brentford, City and Villa.
12. Manchester City – 4pts
4 deficits, 1 win, 1 draw, 2 defeats
Bonus points in the ‘making life unnecessarily hard for themselves just to feel alive’ stakes for salvaging all those four points from two goals down via a 3-3 draw at Newcastle and 4-2 win over Crystal Palace.
11. West Ham – 5pts
12 deficits, 1 win, 2 draws, 9 defeats
It’s a reasonable number of points recovered from scrambling, but they’ve come from far too many deficits really, haven’t they? It’s well under 0.5pts per deficit. The draw at home to Spurs felt important – I mean, it’s always an important fixture but especially so after the Hammers had just arrested a three-game losing start – and a 3-1 home win against Fulham would have been worthy enough even without having to come back from conceding inside five minutes. Getting a point after going behind to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton is just par for everyone because losing points from winning positions is just one of the things Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side liked to do. He will be missed.
10. Aston Villa – 5pts
10 deficits, 1 win, 2 draws, 7 defeats
Unai Emery has transformed Villa’s season in the space of two games. Danny Ings’ double at Brighton not only secured Villa’s first away win of the season, but also their first win from behind this season. Shrewd work from the Villans – if you’re going to win from behind it makes sense to concede in the very first minute to maximise the opportunity of a comeback. That’s just maths.
9. Bournemouth – 6pts
9 deficits, 2 wins, 7 defeats
The wondrously improbable second-half fightback at Nottingham Forest kickstarted the Gary O’Neil revolution, while Leicester were also beaten in a game Bournemouth trailed at half-time. Wins when you’re not just losing but losing at half-time are particularly satisfying and neat, so well done Bournemouth for that. Now to stop spaffing away two-goal leads.
8. Liverpool – 6pts
8 deficits, 1 win, 3 draws, 4 defeats
Given where Liverpool have been for the last few years, the headline figure is the sheer number of deficits; they’ve gone behind in over half their Premier League games this season, which is too many. And while their record in those games is okay by most standards, for a club forced to aim at 90 points and up every season you can’t afford to be turning only one of those eight deficits into a victory.
7. Chelsea – 6pts
7 deficits, 2 wins, 5 defeats
All or more usually nothing when Chelsea find themselves behind this season. The West Ham win was particularly satisfying for the lateness of the comeback and absurd luck they enjoyed in the closing moments, while Conor Gallagher’s late winner at Crystal Palace was positively dripping in narrative.
6. Leeds – 7pts
10 deficits, 2 wins, 1 draw, 7 defeats
The first win came on the opening day against Wolves, the second thrillingly yet to the disgust of professional misery guts Gabby Agbonlahor from 3-1 down against Bournemouth more recently.
5. Fulham – 7pts
9 deficits, 2 wins, 1 draw, 6 defeats
A pair of 3-2 comeback wins at Forest and Leeds are the headlines here, while Fulham came within a whisker of being the first team this season to take a point off Manchester United after falling behind in the final Premier League game before the World Cup.
4. Brighton – 7pts
8 deficits, 2 wins, 1 draw, 4 defeats
Thrashing early-season Leicester barely counts because early-season Leicester made something of a habit of getting thrashed from winning positions this season, but scrambling a 3-3 draw at Liverpool through a Leandro Trossard hat-trick after going 2-0 up and 3-2 down was certainly memorable. Were 1-0 up and 2-1 down against Wolves before finally taking all the points thanks to Pascal Gross’ late winner.
3. Southampton – 8pts
13 deficits, 2 wins, 2 draws, 9 defeats
Southampton are seemingly contractually obliged to drop more points than pretty much anyone else every season, so it’s probably prudent of them to develop a happy knack of scavenging some of their own. Let’s gloss over the ’13 deficits’ element of this for now and focus on the sweet, sweet nectar of eight precious points snaffled after falling behind. Winning two games from behind at this stage of the season is impressive enough for anyone, never mind a team that has only managed three wins full stop. Chelsea and Leicester the fall guys in a pair of 2-1s, if you were wondering.
2. Crystal Palace – 12pts
9 deficits, 4 wins, 5 defeats
Palace were handed arguably the toughest start of any team in the Premier League this season and it’s only in recent weeks that results and league position have started to reflect their true level. That might not have been the case had home games against Leeds and Wolves in which Palace found themselves a goal down not ended in 2-1 wins, mind. The same scoreline and a 94th-minute goal from Michael Olise did for West Ham to briefly put Palace top of this table before Spurs did another nonsense.
1. Tottenham – 13pts
9 deficits, 4 wins, 1 draw, 4 defeats
They are just starting to take the piss, to be honest. Having already won conspicuous points from losing positions by thrashing Southampton 4-1 and Leicester 6-2 as well as burgling perhaps the least deserved point of the entire season at Stamford Bridge, Spurs took their nonsense to a whole new level with an almost sarcastically bad first half at Bournemouth followed by a blockbuster closing half-hour to record their third win from a losing position. And so pleased were they with this utterly baffling gameplan that they decided to replicate it with knobs on in Europe, to further notable if inexplicable success. Tried and failed to do the same again against Liverpool but, undeterred, saved perhaps their best for last by falling behind not once, not twice, but three times against Leeds before scoring twice in the last 10 minutes to snag all the points from the baffled Yorkshiremen. No team in the Premier League has won more points from behind than Spurs. No team in the Champions League has won more points from behind than Spurs. Of their 40 points this season across the two competitions, half have come from a losing position. They are a daft and very often shit football team, but – like Jurassic Park’s dinosaurs – they find a way.
Leave a Reply