A study has shown that last season in the Premier League, Manchester United were the luckiest team and Liverpool the unluckiest.
Research via a study conducted by ESPN, Intel and the University of Bath showed that as a result of wrong decisions, such as incorrect penalties or disallowed goals, the Reds dropped 12 points in matches, while Man United gained six points.
As per the study, former Premier League referee Peter Walton analysed footage of the season, looking out for such things as:
- Goals that should have been disallowed
- Incorrectly disallowed goals
- Incorrectly awarded penalties (that were scored)
- Penalties that were not awarded but should have been
- Incorrect red-card decisions
- Red-card incidents that were missed
- Goals scored after injury time overran
- Deflected goals
These incidents were then rectified and the correct points were handed out based on these decisions. The tables of those results are below
|Premier League table 17-18||'Luck Index' simulated table 17-18|
|Manchester City||100||Manchester City||97|
|Crystal Palace||44||Crystal Palace||42|
|West Brom||31||West Brom||33|
Man United would have finished fourth in the table and Liverpool as runners-up. Instead of Swansea City getting relegated, Huddersfield would have faced the dropped after just a season in the top tier, while Brighton would have leapfrogged into the top ten and Stoke City would have survived.
Assistant Professor Thomas Curran from the University of Bath said via the BBC the study was "one of the most detailed pieces of research we have ever conducted", and that the simulation was carried out "thousands of times to model how it should have turned out".
Referee Walton said: "The results demonstrate the impact and importance of refereeing decisions on a game.
"With the Premier League deciding not to introduce VAR for the coming season, it is interesting to see how much luck plays a part in the way the league unfolds."