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Relationship between clean sheets and NUFC final Premier League position

6 years ago
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It is common sense that the more clean sheets a team picks up, the better it is for your team, but just how much of an indicator is it to determine where your team will end up at the end of the season?

Tim Krul recently kept four clean sheets in five Premier League matches, a run which saw Newcastle pick up five wins in a row – only Tottenham getting a single consolation goal in that 2-1 away win at White Hart Lane.

When you add the goalless draw at Villa earlier in the season, that makes it now five clean sheets in thirteen Premier League matches so far.

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I looked back over the last ten seasons to see just how key the number of clean sheets were to the final league position.

2005/06  7th – 12 Clean sheets

2006/07  13th – 7 Clean sheets

2007/08  12th – 8 Clean sheets

2008/09  18th – 7 Clean sheets

2009/10   1st – 22 Clean sheets (Championship)

2010/11  12th – 10 Clean sheets

2011/12  5th – 16 Clean sheets

2012/13  16th – 6 Clean sheets

2013/14  10th – 10 Clean sheets

2014/15    8th – 5 Clean sheets (after 13 matches)

Leaving aside the season in the Championship, the other nine seasons do show a dramatic split.

The two times United have managed more than 10 clean sheets, they have finished fifth (2011/12) and seventh (2006/07).

If you are a team that isn’t going to score a boatload of goals then a solid defence is probably the key way that can help you aspire to anything better than mid-table mediocrity.

In this nine season sample, it shows ten clean sheets or lower, condemns you to be mid-table also-rans or something worse.

If you only have so many goals in your team, then clean sheets are vital to turn potential draws or defeats into wins.

The fact that the five match winning run was achieved with only seven goals, shows how vital Tim Krul’s four clean sheets were in accumulating the fifteen points.

I await with interest to see if United can build on that record of five clean sheets in thirteen – the indications being that if Tim Krul and Rob Elliot can add another seven or more in the remaining twenty five matches, United could be taking a major step forward again in terms of league position.

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