How will the Premier League title be decided if Chelsea and Manchester City finish tied at the top of the table?
We are 20 games into the current Premier League season and things have become really tight in the last couple of months with the title race now so close that the top two teams can’t be separated. Chelsea are currently tied at the top with Manchester City, both on 46 points while Manchester United sit in third position with 37 points.
Interestingly, both Chelsea and Manchester City are tied not only on points but they are also tied on goal difference as well and the Blues are occupying the top spot currently because they come first when the alphabetical order is followed.
Now, that begs the question, if the two teams had been stuck in the same situation at the completion of the season, what could've been done to break the deadlock?
According to the Telegraph, if such a situation does arise, then, the two sides will lock horns in a playoff game to decide the winner. (they did however think that United were level with Chelsea). This is what they had to say:
“After 20 games of the Premier League season, things could not be tighter at the top of the table. After the dramatic games on New Year's Day – which saw Chelsea defeated 5-3 at London rivals Tottenham and Manchester United (ahem! Wrong Manchester club guys – Ed) scramble a late 3-2 win over Sunderland – the two title rivals are neck and neck at the league summit.
“In fact, they could not be any closer. Chelsea and City have absolutely identical records, having the same number of points, the same goal difference and the same number of goals scored. It means that, for the time being, Chelsea are leading the table on alphabetical order alone.
The Premier League Rulebook confirms that in case there is such a situation where 2 teams are tied with more than just equal number of points, then they would clash in a playoff game.
"If at the end of the Season either the League Champions or the Clubs to be relegated or the question of qualification for other competitions cannot be determined because 2 or more Clubs are equal on points, goal difference and goals scored, the Clubs concerned shall play off one or more deciding League Matches on neutral grounds, the format, timing and venue of which shall be determined by the Board."
The 2011-12 season saw one of the most thrilling finishes with Manchester City snatching the title from bitter rivals Manchester United in the dying seconds, courtesy a goal from Sergio Aguero. That left both teams on the same number of points but because City had a superior goal difference, they took the title home that year.