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Every Premier League team top at Christmas and where they finished each season


A lot of significance is placed on a team finishing the year at the top of the Premier League table.

No trophies are handed out in December but the mental advantage it gives clubs scrapping it out at the top is famous in England. However, not every side is able to convert its half-season dominance into league silverware come the end of the campaign. In fact, sometimes it can all go horribly wrong in the new year.

So who are the teams who have refrained from getting too stuck into big Christmas dinners to achieve their title dreams after being top at the end of the year, and who couldn’t shake off their hangovers and ended up slipping down the table?

Here’s every team to finish a Premier League year at the top of the tree.

William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus

Arsenal were top at Christmas 2022 before the World Cup / Visionhaus/GettyImages

On 16 occasions, the Premier League leaders on December 25 have gone on to win the title. Manchester United and Chelsea are the most successful converters with five apiece. The Blues in particular have a 100% record of being top on Christmas Day and taking home the championship, last doing so in 2016/17.

In 2022/23, it was Arsenal who sat at the top of the pile. The scheduling of the 2022 World Cup means they have the strange quirk of achieving that feat in mid-November, but Mikel Arteta’s troops couldn’t hold off a resurgent Manchester City who quickly woke up and overpowered their rivals.

It’s a trick Pep Guardiola has repeated frequently during his time in England. In 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21, Liverpool led but only in 2019/20 did they manage to see the job through. In both 2017/18 and 2021/22, no team could displace the Cityzens from their number one ranking.

Man Utd have been top of the Premier League the most with seven, only failing to go on and scoop the silverware under Sir Alex Ferguson on two occasions – 1997/98 and 2003/04.

Season

Top at Christmas

Where they finished

Title winners

1992/93

Norwich City

3rd

Manchester United

1993/94

Manchester United

1st

Manchester United

1994/95

Blackburn Rovers

1st

Blackburn Rovers

1995/96

Newcastle United

2nd

Manchester United

1996/97

Liverpool

4th

Manchester United

1997/98

Manchester United

2nd

Arsenal

1998/99

Aston Villa

6th

Manchester United

1999/00

Leeds United

3rd

Manchester United

2000/01

Manchester United

1st

Manchester United

2001/02

Newcastle United

4th

Arsenal

2002/03

Arsenal

2nd

Manchester United

2003/04

Manchester United

3rd

Arsenal

2004/05

Chelsea

1st

Chelsea

2005/06

Chelsea

1st

Chelsea

2006/07

Manchester United

1st

Manchester United

2007/08

Arsenal

3rd

Manchester United

2008/09

Liverpool

2nd

Manchester United

2009/10

Chelsea

1st

Chelsea

2010/11

Manchester United

1st

Manchester United

2011/12

Manchester City

1st

Manchester City

2012/13

Manchester United

1st

Manchester United

2013/14

Liverpool

2nd

Manchester City

2014/15

Chelsea

1st

Chelsea

2015/16

Leicester City

1st

Leicester City

2016/17

Chelsea

1st

Chelsea

2017/18

Manchester City

1st

Manchester City

2018/19

Liverpool

2nd

Manchester City

2019/20

Liverpool

1st

Liverpool

2020/21

Liverpool

3rd

Manchester City

2021/22

Manchester City

1st

Manchester City

2022/23

Arsenal

2nd

Manchester City

Surprise winners Blackburn Rovers and Leicester City both sat in first place in their historic 1994/95 and 2015/16 campaigns respectively. However, things aren’t always rosy when it comes to being top on Christmas Day.

Arsenal have proven to be more effective hunting other teams in Premier League title races as opposed to maintaining a lead. The Gunners have led the English top flight at Christmas in its current guise on three previous occasions but each time were unable to turn their dominance into winners’ medals.

Aston Villa suffered a horrific drop-off after an inspired start to 1998/99. Things went terribly with 1999 proving to be a reality check of a year – the Villans could only win two of their remaining 14 games and ended up finishing sixth, 24 points behind champions Man Utd.

Newcastle looked set to add to their four league titles in 1995/96, boasting a ten-point advantage heading into Christmas. That lead would later increase to 12, but Kevin Keegan couldn’t avoid Sir Alex’s mind games – even with his famous rant – and the Magpies ended up coming second to the Red Devils.

Jurgen Klopp

Klopp has helped Liverpool to top spot at Christmas three times during his stay at Anfield / James Gill – Danehouse/GettyImages

Football, of course, was not invented in 1992, the year the Premier League was founded. League football in England has been going on a little longer.

It’s Liverpool who have led at Christmas most often in English Football League history, being perched at the summit on a whopping 20 occasions. Man Utd are ranked second with 18, last doing so in 2013, with Arsenal and Everton tied for third with nine each.

Man City’s relative lack of success in the olden days compared to the modern behemoth they have become means they have only been top on 25 December six times – they won’t add to that tally in 2023 following a damaging run of one win in six games.

Team

Number

Last top

Liverpool

20

2021

Manchester United

18

2013

Arsenal

9

2023

Everton

9

1970

Manchester City

6

2022

Aston Villa

5

1999

Chelsea

5

2017

Newcastle United

5

2002

Sunderland

5

1937

Wolves

5

1958

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