By Chris Myson
If the Premier League was decided purely on results from the calendar year of 2012, Manchester United would be champions, Everton would be in the Champions League and Liverpool would have to settle for a 14th-place finish.
The 2012 table gives us a fascinating look at performances based on the last 12 months, with some surprising results recorded based on how well teams fared at the end of the 2011-12 season and the start of the current 2012-13 campaign.
Amongst what is most notable from the statistics – which were provided by Infostrada Sports – is the gulf between Manchester United and Manchester City to the rest of the division over the last year.
United racked up an impressive 93 points during the year, while City picked up 86 from a game more, reflecting both the current gap between the two teams in the table and how close they were last season.
That puts United and City a massive margin – 25 and 18 points respectively – ahead of nearest challengers Chelsea, who finish the year in third in the table following their win over Everton, who scoop fourth.
The fact David Moyes’ men have been in Champions League form for the last year will give them hope that they can sustain a top-four challenge in the latter part of this season as they battle the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham, who round off our top six.
Impressive years for West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City are recognised with top-eight places, while the scale of Newcastle United‘s slump since the start of the campaign is emphasised by their own finishing position.
After recording an excellent finish in fifth in 2011-12, their poor form in the first half of the current season sees them slip to ninth on the overall 2012 table.
The size of the task facing Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool is highlighted by the Reds’ record being just the 14th best in the top flight, with 17 defeats to just 12 wins in the calendar year despite their victory against QPR on Sunday.
Horrendous years for Aston Villa and QPR are summed up by their position at the bottom of the standings when we don’t consider the newly-promoted clubs.
West Ham, who have only been back in the top flight since August, have recorded just seven points less than Harry Redknapp’s new team over the last year.
Combined, Villa and QPR won just 13 of the 78 games they played during 2012 in what can hardly be considered a vintage year for either club.
Wigan Athletic lost more games than anyone else in the division – 19 over the course of the 12 months – while Stoke City had the most draws with 18.
In terms of goals scored, Manchester United (90), Manchester City (78) and Arsenal (78) led the way.
When it comes to leaking goals at the other end, QPR (69), Villa (68) and Norwich City (64) were the worst offenders. After such poor defending over 2012, they will all be looking to improve those records in the New Year.
* Asterisks designated to teams who were promoted in the summer and subsequently only played half the calendar year in the top flight.
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