United post 22-game record
United’s response to losing the title in cruel circumstances last May has, thus far, been emphatic.
While everybody realises that no trophies are handed out at the start of the calendar year, completing the double over Liverpool enabled Sir Alex’s team to post a Barclays Premier League record points haul for the club after 22 games.
The 55-point tally is a new high and gives the Reds a seven-point advantage over champions Manchester City, who proved they will still be a tough nut to crack with an away success at Arsenal.
We decided to compare 2012/2013 with other campaigns when United collected more than 50 points at the same stage of the campaign. It’s also worth noting that the lowest tally, in the inaugural season of the Premier League, still did not prevent the Reds from going on to win the title.
1993/94: 53pts. FINISH: 1st
Long reckoned by some to be the manager’s best-ever XI, the Double winners had completed 22 games by Boxing Day, racking up a 14-point lead over nearest challengers Leeds. With only one defeat, the Reds were going to prove hard to catch and ended the season eight points clear of Blackburn with Leeds slipping to fifth.
2006/07: 54pts. FINISH: 1st
United’s previous best tally was a classic response to the bar being raised by Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. A year earlier, the Reds had trailed the Blues by 16 points at this stage but were determined to bring the trophy back north. After only two losses, a six-point advantage was held over the Londoners and that was the margin of victory in May too.
2007/08: 51pts. FINISH: 1st
The pressure was on the champions to maintain a strong pace and top spot was secured after 22 games, albeit only on goal difference from Arsenal. With three defeats at the time, United would lose only twice more to retain the title by two points, with Chelsea second, one place ahead of the Gunners. European glory would also follow in Moscow.
2011/12: 51pts. FINISH: 2nd
In the other seasons when United had posted more than 51 points after 22 matches, the title would follow. In the seven campaigns when a half-century total had been amassed, only once (2003/04) did the trophy not wing its way to Old Trafford. Even despite an 89-point finish in 2011/12, Sir Alex’s team lost out on goal difference when Sergio Aguero struck in stoppage time for Manchester City against QPR on a dramatic final day. The Reds had been three points adrift at the 22-game stage.
Premier League record after 22 games
92/93: 38 pts; second behind Norwich.
93/94: 53pts; 14 points clear of Leeds.
94/95: 46pts; trailing Blackburn at the top.
95/96: 41pts; 4 points behind Newcastle.
96/97: 41pts; 2nd to Liverpool by 2 points.
97/98: 49pts; 5 points ahead of Blackburn.
98/99: 41pts; vintage year but sitting 3rd.
99/00: 50pts; a win ahead of Leeds at top.
00/01: 50pts; an 11-point lead over Arsenal.
01/02: 42pts; above Newcastle on goal difference.
02/03: 41pts; 5 points adrift of Arsenal.
03/04: 50pts; 4 defeats but a point above Chelsea.
04/05: 44pts; trailing Chelsea and Arsenal.
05/06: 45pts; a huge 16-point gap Chelsea.
06/07: 54pts; 6 points clear at top after only 2 defeats.
07/08: 51pts; Top by virtue of goal difference.
08/09: 50pts; One win ahead of Liverpool.
09/10: 47pts; 3rd behind Arsenal and Chelsea.
10/11: 48pts; Top, unbeaten but only two away wins.
11/12: 51pts; 3 points adrift of City.
12/13: 55pts; Ruling the roost by 7 points