At the time writing, Arsenal are sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League having just beaten title rival Manchester United 3-2 in a thrilling game at the Emirates. At the halfway stage of the top-flight season, Mikel Arteta’s men have amassed a very impressive total of 50 points from their 19 games.
That is the Gunners’ best halfway points tally in the Premier League era (and five more than they had earned at that stage of their ‘Invincibles’ season in 2003/04). But 50 points is not the most a Premier League side has chalked up at the halfway stage.
So let’s take at a look at the four sides who’ve earned more than 50 points in the Premier League by the halfway stage.
Manchester City 2017/18: 55 points
- Won: 18
- Drawn: 1
- Lost: 0
- Goal Difference: +48
- Final Premier League Position/Points: Champions, 100 points
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City were on fire during the 2017/18 campaign and were already a whopping 13 points clear of nearest rivals Manchester United at the halfway stage of the campaign. They dominated from start to finish and their only disappointment will have been that they could not claim the UEFA Champions League as well. They ended the season on a record-breaking total of 100 points and having scored more goals than any other team in a Premier League season (106).
Given that Arsenal still have 57 points to play for, they could in theory better Man City’s points record, though it will be a tough ask, not least because they still need to play City home and away in the league. Mind you, given their current form anything looks possible, especially as their very young squad only looks set to get better.
Liverpool 2019/20: 55 points
- Won: 18
- Drawn: 1
- Lost: 0
- Goal Difference: +34
- Final Premier League Position: Champions, 99 points
Under Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool finally and deservedly won their first Premier League title in the 2019/20 season, and they did so in some style. At the halfway stage, the Reds had matched Man City’s record of 55 points from a couple of years earlier. They, too, were well clear of the chasing pack, with Leicester on 42 points and Man City on 41, both of whom had played a game more than Liverpool.
Indeed, such was Liverpool’s dominance during the campaign, they looked well on course to break City’s 100-point record for the season. But it was Arsenal who spoiled things for them when – in Liverpool’s 36th game of 28 – the Gunners beat the Reds 2-1. Liverpool had to settle for a total of 99 points, which isn’t too shabby. And their fans weren’t too bothered given that it was their first top-flight title for 30 years.
Chelsea 2005/06: 52 points
- Won: 17
- Drawn: 1
- Lost: 1
- Goal Difference: +32
- Final Premier League Position: Champions, 91 points
Having guided Chelsea to their first top-flight title in half a century the season before, the self-styled Special One Jose Mourinho proved it was no fluke when his side did the business once again a year later. They started the campaign in ludicrously good form, winning their first nine matches. They stuttered to a poor away draw at Everton in October and went down 1-0 to Man United in early November. But the Blues were still 11 points clear of Man United at the top of the table by the halfway mark.
Chelsea, in common with all the teams on this list, were not quite so effective in the second half of the season and suffered shock defeats to the likes of Middlesbrough, Fulham, Newcastle and Blackburn. But they did enough to win the title with a total of 91 points, eight more than Alex Ferguson’s Man United.
Liverpool 2018/19: 51 points
- Won: 16
- Drawn: 3
- Lost: 0
- Goal Difference: +36
- Final Premier League Position: Runners-ups, 97 points
Liverpool were top at the halfway stage and looking good value for it too. They were unbeaten and there was a lot of talk of them emulating Arenal’s Invincibles and maintaining that throughout the entire season. They had built up a tidy six-point cushion over their nearest rivals Tottenham (yes, you read that correctly!) and Pep Guardiola’s Man City were a further point adrift. Alas, for Liverpool, things went somewhat pear-shaped in the latter stages of the campaign and they somehow contrived to finish second… despite clocking an excellent total of 97 points.
The problem was not that they lost too many games, as they only lost one all season (although, crucially, that was to eventual champions Man City). It was that Liverpool drew too many matches: seven in total and four in the back-half of the campaign. They dropped points against Man United, Chelsea and Arsenal, which is fair enough, but less easy to take were the draws against West Ham and – particularly – local rivals Everton. As it was, Liverpool lost out to City by a single point and in the process, they earned the unwanted record of amassing the most points in a Premier League season without winning the title! That their 97 points would have been enough to win the Premier League in most seasons was scant consolation, as their long weight for a title continued.
Halfway Point Conclusions
As we have seen, in most cases, if a team has amassed 50 or more points by the halfway stage of a Premier League season, they go on to win the title. This bodes well for Arsenal, but they shouldn’t get too ahead of themselves and should certainly take note of what happened to Liverpool in the 2018/19 campaign. It should also be noted that their current five-point lead (albeit with a game in hand), is smaller than many of the other teams who hot the 50-point barrier. And with City the team doing the chasing, the Gunners will be aware that they are facing an opponent with far more experience when it comes to squeaky-bum time in a title duel.
Whether Arsenal do go all the way – and even break City’s 100-point record – remains to be seen. But at the halfway stage, they’ve certainly given themselves a darn good chance of landing their first Premier League title since the Invincibles season of 2003/04. Even the most optimistic of Arsenal fans would not have predicted they would be sitting pretty at the top of the table at the end of January.
They have a young, exciting squad but they are inexperienced in terms of challenging for the title. However, we believe their experience of losing out in the fight for a top-four finish last term will help them and expect them to go on and win the 2022/23 Premier League.