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Chelsea somehow one of four yet to lose from a winning position in Premier League

Chelsea somehow one of four yet to lose from a winning position in Premier League

Aston Villa were the only Premier League team to avoid dropping any points after taking the lead this season. Then they went to Manchester United…

Anyway, on we go. That other, currently Liverpool-led, ranking can be found here.

20) Brentford – 20 points dropped
13 leads, 5 wins, 4 draws, 4 defeats

Brentford dropped only 15 points from a winning position in the whole of last season and lost only once in such a situation – Arsenal were the only team to avoid that fate altogether. Thomas Frank has some work to do. But it’s tricky when you’re without your most prolific striker; they were powerless v Brighton. And then they lost their second-best forward in Bryan Mbeumo before being beaten despite leading against Aston Villa. Bloody Ben Mee.

19) Burnley – 18 points dropped
10 leads, 3 wins, 3 draws, 4 defeats

Scored an early opener against Spurs. Drew v Nottingham Forest after taking a less-early lead. Then made that Spurs mistake by scoring within a quarter of an hour against Chelsea, only to lose by three goals again. Lost after taking another early lead against Bournemouth then capitulated late on to lose at home to West Ham. Soft as sh*te. Except against Sheffield United, which barely counts.

The draw at home to Luton was particularly damaging, regardless of the nature of the Hatters’ equaliser.

18) Nottingham Forest – 16 points
11 leads, 5 wins, 2 draws, 4 defeats

Don’t go 2-0 up inside four minutes at Old Trafford is the confusing lesson here. Don’t capitulate to Luton was more straightforward and they were only in front for two minutes against West Ham. Taking a third-minute lead only poked the Brighton bear. There were two more points lost v Wolves and all three against Bournemouth, even if Nuno might reasonably blame the ref.

17) Tottenham – 16 points
18 leads, 12 wins, 2 draws, 4 defeats

Look at that number of leads, though! Eighteen! Nobody can match that. They’ve led in every single game this season except the 2-2 draw at Arsenal and 4-2 defeat at Brighton, both of which were still quite silly games anyway. Recently, of course, they’ve taken to going 1-0 up early in games and then bringing on all manner of self-inflicted misery to lose, a run they obviously snapped by salvaging a ludicrous 3-3 draw at Man City. Because, again: Spurs. And then they restarted it seamlessly at home to West Ham. Because, again: Spurs.

The multiverse theory tells us there is a universe out there in which Cristian Romero doesn’t try to remove Enzo Fernandez’s leg just below the knee while Spurs are 1-0 up against Chelsea. In that universe, Romero stays on the field, James Maddison and Micky van de Ven don’t get injured, we probably never see the four full-back defence and Spurs are currently four points clear at the top of the table. The non-Spursy universe is a strange and scary place. We’re really not sure we want to go there. Spurs have at least tweaked the ‘go 1-0 up early and lose’ tactic in more recent weeks to a far more effective ‘go 2-0 up and win’. Stick with that one, we reckon.

16) Bournemouth – 13 points
12 leads, 7 wins, 2 draws, 3 defeats

They’ve been a careless and sloppy team this season, but while that is an alarming number of leads lost it’s also a pretty respectable number of leads taken. It’s three more than, for instance, Chelsea. It’s only one fewer than third-placed Aston Villa. It is the sort of number that should produce a mid-table team not a relegation battler. And so it is, belatedly, proving.

15) Newcastle – 13 points
14 leads, 9 wins, 2 draws, 3 defeats

Don’t be 1-0 up with 10 minutes to go against 10-man Liverpool is the confusing lesson here; 1-1 against 10 or even nine is obviously fine. Trailed and led in a 2-2 draw at West Ham, and led twice before having to settle for a point at Wolves. Opened the scoring against Nottingham Forest before caving in to a Chris Wood-inspired side. Came from behind to lead Manchester City until Kevin de Bruyne’s hair and Oscar’s Bobb popped up in the closing stages.

14) West Ham – 12 points
15 leads, 10 wins, 3 draws, 2 defeats

Two more points dropped against Palace made for frustrating reading for David Moyes and Hammers fans. Post-Europa weariness would be a reasonable excuse for West Ham’s soporific second half against the Eagles, but it’s also part of the deal. They need to do better; they absolutely did against Tottenham and then Wolves. And Manchester United. And Arsenal. But not Fulham.

13) Sheffield United – 10 points
6 leads, 2 wins, 2 draws, 2 defeats

Sheffield United and Everton getting together to win their first points from behind and lose their first points from ahead in the same game was a touching moment of unity in these troubled times. It is safe to say Paul Heckingbottom was not touched after his side lost at Tottenham, despite being 1-0 up going into injury time. Scarred by that experience they didn’t take another lead for some time until facing Wolves, when they even managed to do it twice in victory. They went ahead and won v Brentford but couldn’t hang on at Villa. Shot themselves in the foot – twice – against Luton.

12) Arsenal – 9 points
16 leads, 12 wins, 3 draws, 1 defeat

Throwing away leads against Fulham and then against Tottenham was sub-optimal. Taking the lead so late at Brentford was a smarter approach, and they held on against Wolves despite it getting a bit dicier than it ought. The Luton game was absolutely mental; for the purposes of this list they ‘held on’, but that’s not really what happened, is it? Had the lead at Anfield but Mo Salah soon put a stop to that. A pretty limp defeat to Fulham after Bukayo Saka’s early goal was Arsenal’s first defeat from a winning position since the 2021/22 season. Which is ages ago.

11) Luton Town – 8 points
7 leads, 4 wins, 1 draw, 2 defeats.

They were ahead for three glorious minutes v Arsenal and longer v Manchester City. The Hatters held on for 65 minutes against Newcastle.

10) Crystal Palace – 8 points
8 leads, 5 wins, 1 draw, 2 defeats

Held on for a 1-0 win at Sheffield United on the opening day, eventually saw off Wolves after being pegged back to 1-1, lost to Aston Villa after Odsonne Edouard’s opener and then Hodgsoned all over Old Trafford yet again. Led v Liverpool but that is rarely a good idea. Led again v Brighton and were inevitably pulled back.

9) Manchester City – 8 points
17 leads, 13 wins, 4 draws, 0 defeats

Three times they got their noses in front v Chelsea but each time they were dragged back in an astonishing game. Then they paid for failing to kill off Liverpool.  Then they really paid for failing to kill off Tottenham in a game they led twice, as well as Crystal Palace in a game they led 2-0. They are fallible. For now. Enjoy while it lasts. Newcastle did not.

8) Wolves – 7 points
11 leads, 8 wins, 2 draws, 1 defeat

Simply missed all their many, many chances when it was 0-0 at Old Trafford, thus avoiding the trap into which Nottingham Forest stumbled so foolishly, and then got thrashed by Brighton. When they did finally take a lead, they made sure to do so a) very late in the game and b) against an Everton side who at that time simply didn’t score any goals.  Liverpool was a very different story. Wolves led early; missed a sitter before half-time; then caved in the second half. They then gave Luton their first point of the season by throwing away a one-goal lead. They looked like predictably doing the same against Manchester City but simply scored again after the champions equalised. Cleverly defended their lead against Spurs by simply not taking it until the last kick of the game. It is frankly a mystery why more teams don’t adopt this foolproof strategy more often.

7) Everton – 7 points
11 leads, 8 wins, 2 draws, 1 defeat

If there’s one thing Sean Dyche typically knows how to do, it’s keep a lead. Unless it’s against the Treble winners.

6) Brighton – 6 points
11 leads, 8 wins, 3 draws, 0 defeats

Pretty much flawless for the first two games of the season. Less said about the West Ham game the better. Then demolished Newcastle, Man United and Bournemouth. Less said about the Aston Villa game the better. Liverpool game somewhere in between the previous feast and famine offerings, but did cost them their flawless record here. Then threw away leads against Fulham and, unforgivably, Sheffield United at home. Overturned a deficit at Forest, couldn’t do so against 10-man Chelsea and have on the quiet become quite a silly, albeit still good, football team. Silly but good was definitely a good description of the win over Spurs.

5) Fulham – 5 points
9 leads, 7 wins, 1 draw, 1 defeat

On balance, they’re probably taking that point at the Emirates even after becoming the latest in a bafflingly long line of teams to score in the first minute against Arsenal this year. They twice tried to throw away two points v Wolves but eventually scored too late for the Midlanders to equalise for the third time. Lost for the first time after taking a lead in that very silly game at Anfield. Presumably thought they were pretty safe after scoring in the 80th minute to go ahead for the first time, but the Barclays is the land of the late goal this year and Liverpool its absolute masters. Made sure they didn’t throw away any points v Forest and West Ham by smashing them both for five. Held on pretty cosily to beat Arsenal after a run of three straight defeats in which Fulham not only never led but never even scored.

4) Manchester United – 5 points
12 leads, 10 wins, 1 draw, 1 defeat

Nobody dropped fewer points from winning positions last season than United, who won 23 of the 26 Premier League games in which they led. The Arsenal silliness has put them on the back foot early doors this time around but the overall numbers are still solid despite general struggles. They were probably glad to only drop two points v Tottenham.

3) Chelsea – 4 points
11 leads, 9 wins, 2 draws, 0 defeats

Should have seen out a two-goal lead against Arsenal. Did not. Did hold on to their lead against nine-man Spurs so that’s something. They were leading once against Manchester City so technically dropped two points but it definitely felt like a point gained when the injury-time equaliser went in. Held on diligently with 10 men against Brighton.

2) Liverpool – 4 points
15 leads, 13 wins, 2 draws, 0 defeats

The 3-0 win over Aston Villa marked the first time this season Liverpool have gone on to win after scoring the first goal of a game, four matches into their season. The first time they scored first was at Stamford Bridge, where it ended 1-1. The Spurs defeat was the first fixture in which the Reds failed to take a lead this season; bloody significant human error. Trailed and led in an entertaining and fair enough 2-2 draw at Brighton. Since then have been ruthless when in front.

1) Aston Villa – 3 points
14 leads, 13 wins, 0 draws, 1 defeat

The opening-day aberration at Newcastle is forgotten, but at least that kind of thrashing does you no damage in this particular table. Subsequent comfy wins over Everton, Burnley, Brighton, West Ham and Fulham never really looked like doing so either. Coming from behind to beat Palace was a nice change as well, while they gratefully accepted the generous gifts offered by Spurs’ centre-backless wonders. Manchester City and Arsenal have both been vanquished 1-0 at Villa Park, although Sheffield United predictably proved a tougher nut to crack. They were cruising at Man Utd but their sloppiness coincided with some rare character from the Red Devils to see the Villans drop points for the first time this term. Almost blew it against Burnley too.

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