Study Shows Manchester United Are The Luckiest Premier League Team And Liverpool Are The Unluckiest Team

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 City100Manchester City97
Manchester United81Liverpool87
Tottenham77Tottenham77
Liverpool75Manchester United75
Chelsea70Arsenal71
Arsenal63Chelsea70
Burnley54Burnley50
Everton49Newcastle48
Leicester47Brighton46
Newcastle44Everton44
Crystal Palace44Crystal Palace42
Bournemouth44West Ham41
West Ham42Watford41
Watford41Leicester40
Brighton40Southampton40
Huddersfield37Bournemouth38
Southampton36Stoke37
Swansea33Huddersfield37
Stoke33Swansea34
West Brom31West Brom33

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."

Jacque Talbot

Jacque Talbot is a journalist and sports writer at SPORTbible. He graduated from Manchester Metropolitan with a BA in English and Film. He is a football, snooker, and basketball enthusiast and has been published in the Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Set Pieces, Planet Football and the Morning Star. He’s the greatest thing to come out of Essex since Nick Frost.

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