Whilst no one can argue that one point is better than nothing in such a combative game as the English Premier League, for the top sides and title contenders, draws are regarded as two points lost rather than a point gained.
For the relegation candidates, the old cliché of “a point away from home is a good result” remains in use but for the top four clubs, a win in what’s expected even in tricky away fixtures, and is mandatory at home.
Last season Premier League winners Manchester City recorded only 5 draws from 38 games, an admirable tally matched by their rivals Manchester United and, on the final day of the season it took an injury time winner from Sergio Aguero to snatch the title from the holders.
In that instance, a draw with QPR would have seen the champions fall short to United, who had already won their game at Old Trafford. Those two little points made all the difference, as they saw City equal United points tally, edging them in to the lead with their superior goal difference.
The Premier League has become a game of fine margins – long gone are the days when the teams could seal the title weeks in advance of the last game of the season as Manchester United did in the 1999/2000 season, finishing with 91 points, a staggering 18 points clear of Arsenal.
It’s a testament to the strength of the Premier League as a whole that even teams in and around the relegation zone can present a threat to the teams in the top four and the old adage “there’s no such thing as an easy game” really does ring true as the quality of competition improves season by season.
The relegated Wolverhampton Wanderers who finished the season bottom of the table lost 23 games in total but managed to hold on for 10 draws, equalling the number of draws notched up by Champion’s League champions Chelsea, who staggered in at 6th place in the league.
Had they have lost the Champion’s League final, Chelsea wouldn’t have qualified for their lucrative Champion’s League place this season and might not have been able to attract the top talent in Europe like summer acquisitions Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Brazilian starlet Oscar.
This season, it remains to be seen who will be able to sustain their form over the course of 38 games but I would bet my house (rented studio flat) on the winners being the team with the fewest draws.