Stats: Which clubs have topped the Premier League table for the most number of days?
24 seasons, five different champions - but who stayed top the longest?
The Premier League has been around since 1992 and we are currently in its 24th season. Along the way, only five teams have lifted the title to be crowned the champions of England.
But over the course of a 38-game season (42 games till the 1994/95 season when there were 22 teams in the top division), a number of teams have topped the table. Most have gone on to win the title with a few topping the table from Matchweek 1. But many have fallen along the way and ended up either as runners-up or finishing in the much coveted top four with Champions League participation just a mere consolation (albeit a lucrative one).
No surprise then that 13-time champions Manchester United are top of the pile. Under Sir Alex Ferguson, the Red Devils won the very first Premier League title in the 1992/93 season. They would also win the title three years in a row twice. Initially winning with the core consisting of the famous Class of ‘92, the squads in the 2000s would also see stars such as Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney come to the fore.
In all, the Old Trafford club have topped the Premier League table for a combined total of 2294 days. The next best is four-time champions Chelsea – with 1326 days at the summit. After Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought the club and splurged in the transfer market to bring in the best players and a Champions League winning manager in Jose Mourinho, they became a force to reckon with over the last 12 years.
Arsenal come in third with 978* days at the top. The Gunners are currently top of the table and have won the title three times under Arsene Wenger, including an unbeaten Invincibles season in 2003/04. Moreover, they have finished runners-up five times – the same as Manchester United. Other champions include Manchester City (301) and Blackburn Rovers (238).
Newcastle United have topped the table for more days than Manchester City but have never won the title. It also explains how City have managed to rein in on the leaders and eventually win games when it matters most at the end of the season. Perennial underachievers Liverpool fell agonisingly short in 2008/09 and 2013/14.
Among the top 10, Blackburn and Leeds have not been in the Premier League for quite a while. An interesting stat also shows that Leicester City have topped the table for the same number of days as Tottenham Hotspur! And the Red Devils have topped the table for almost the same number of days as Chelsea and Arsenal combined.
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*As of 22 January 2016 before Matchweek 23 (Stats courtesy Opta and Sky Sports)