How do Premier League points work?

The Premier League is one of the biggest sports leagues in the world, with every team aiming to finish the season with the most points. So how does the Premier League points system work? 

How do Premier League points work? In the Premier League, three points are awarded for a win, one point for a draw and zero points for a defeat. At the end of the season, the team with the most points wins the Premier League title. 

The way that the Premier League points system works is actually very simple. If a team wins a game then they are awarded three points. The team who loses that game will not take any points away from the game. If a match ends in a draw then both teams will be awarded one point. 

These points accumulate over a season and at the end of the season, the team with the most points will be crowned Premier League champions. The three teams with the least points will be relegated to the Championship to make room for three teams to come up from the Championship. 

The teams that finish with the second and third most points will automatically qualify for the Champions League group stage, with the team with the fourth most points qualifying for the qualifying stages of the Champions League. The teams with the fifth and sixth most points will qualify for the Europa League. The team with the seventh most points will qualify for the Conference League. 

What happens if 2 teams finish on the same points and goal difference? 

Most people know that when two teams finish a league season with the same number of points then the team with the higher goal difference will be placed higher. But not a lot of people know what happens if the two teams also have the same goal difference. 

League position is decided by goals scored if two teams finish on the same points and goal difference. Goals scored have been the tiebreaker for FIFA for quite a few years now. It was partly put in place to reward attacking teams for scoring a lot of goals. This rule is also often used in cup competitions that have group stages like the World Cup

What is a head to head tiebreaker in the Premier League?

In the Premier LeagueIf teams cannot be separated on points or goals, we look at the results in their head to head games, weighting away goals if required. If this does still not separate the teams, it moves to a special one-off play-off game at a neutral venue. Winner takes all.

This is not just for the Premier League title, but for all league places requiring separation.

This is laid out in Rule C.17 of the Premier League Handbook. (pictured below)

How are Premier League Places Decided?

Let’s make it simple. We have listed the deciding factors below in order;

  1. Points Accumulated
  2. Goal difference
  3. Goals scored
  4. Head-to-head points
  5. Head-to-head away goals scored
  6. Play-off at Neutral Venue

Has any team got 100 points in the Premier League? 

There is only one team in Premier League history to reach 100 points and that is Manchester City in the 2017-18 season, with this team being known as the Centurions. 

Having finished third in the 2016-17 season City spent very big in the summer of 2017, bringing in Bernardo Silva, Ederson and Kyle Walker as the team’s major additions. These additions seemed to reinvigorate the team and they began the season with an incredible run

After drawing their second game of the season to Everton, City would win their next eighteen Premier League games, an incredible run where they did not drop points in the league for more than four months. While this run ended with a 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace, City still finished the season with some incredible stats. 

A 1-0 victory over Southampton on the final day of the season secured the 100-point mark for Manchester City, ending the season 19 points ahead of cross-town rivals Manchester United. It was an incredible season that set countless records. 

Manchester City set the record for most points in a Premier League season (100), most away points (50), most wins (32) and most goals (106). It was a season that brought a lot of awards for City, with five of the PFA Team of the Year being Manchester City players. Pep Guardiola won Manager of the Season. 

It was the first time that a Premier League team reached 100 points and Manchester City’s 2017-18 team will go down as one of the best Premier League teams in history. It seems unlikely that another team will be able to get to the 100-point mark. 

How many points normally wins the Premier League? 

In the 26 seasons the Premier League dropped down from 22 teams to just 20, the title winner has on average finished on 87 points. It is difficult to say exactly how many points you need to win the Premier League because we have seen massive exceptions to the rules about 87 points being enough for the title. 

On one end we have seen teams win the Premier League with far fewer points than 87. Manchester United won the Premier League in the 1996-97 season with just 75 points. This may not seem a lot but United still finished seven points ahead of Newcastle United who were in second. 

On the other end, we have seen teams get more than 87 points and fail to win the Premier League. Liverpool over the last few years are a great example of that. Liverpool have finished on over 90 points three times in the last four years and yet they only have one Premier League title in that time. 

In the 2018-19 season, Liverpool finished the season with 97 points. This would have been enough points to win the Premier League in 26 Premier League seasons. Despite that they did not win the title because Manchester City finished on 98 points, one ahead of Liverpool. 

Essentially this shows that there is not a minimum point basis for winning the Premier

League, with the number of points needed to win the title varying massively over the years.

We have seen different trends in terms of the competitiveness of the league and the amount of points needed to win the league has changed. 

The gap at the top of the Premier League has widened over the last few years, particularly down to the amount the big clubs are spending. This is why we are seeing points records being set. Whereas the total for winning the Premier League was much lower in the 1990s and early 2010s due to the league being much more competitive. 

There are still exceptions but we are seeing the normal number of points needed to win the Premier League continue to increase. We can calculate the maximum number of points you can acquire and still NOT win the Premier League. This is 111. The situation could come about where you and your title rival win all matches, bar your head to heads. If you split these two games by winning one each, by the same scoreline AND you finished with identical goals scored and goals conceded, you would have won 37 games, lost 1 giving you 111 points. You would then face a tiebreaker playoff at a neutral venue. The loser would finish second in the Premier League on a massive 111 points.


Life long Portsmouth Fan and have followed football since 1993. Is there a better sport on earth?

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