Premier League’s biggest bottlers revealed with West Ham leading way and Chelsea could have been pushing for title


A LOOK of disgust spread across David Moyes’ face as he watched his West Ham side’s 2-1 lead at Newcastle evaporate after just two minutes when Jonjo Shelvey found the net.

But this sinking feeling, while immensely frustrating, is nothing new for the East Londoners this season.

In fact, yesterday’s missed opportunity took their tally of points squandered from winning positions this term to a staggering 24 – more than any other Premier League side.

So high is this tally that if they, as Liverpool have managed, held on to all of their leads this season – they would be level with Manchester United on 55 points and in the hunt for Champions League football.

Instead, however, they find themselves languishing in 16th position – four points above the dreaded drop zone with five games left to play.

Unsurprisingly, Moyes’ side aren’t the only strugglers to have thrown numerous winning positions away this season, with relegation zone-dwellers Bournemouth and Aston Villa having dropped 20 and 19 points respectively.

The latter, managed by Dean Smith, have been particularly guilty of late collapses, losing 2-1 against Liverpool at Villa Park despite having lead with 86 minutes on the clock.

The Midlanders also squandered a 2-0 lead against Tottenham in February, dramatically losing 3-2 after Son Heung-min, nursing a broken arm since the first five minutes of the match, drove home a dramatic stoppage-time winner.

Speaking of Spurs, they too have been guilty of often giving away leads – with 17 points having slipped through their fingers in their miserable season.

Of top-half teams, only Chelsea have thrown away more winning positions than their London rivals and the extra 18 points, had they held out, would have put them nine points clear of Manchester City in second.

But frustrating defensive lapses, the like of which featured only last week in the 3-2 defeat at West Ham, have undermined what has been a fairly impressive debut season in the Blues hotseat for Frank Lampard.

Strugglers Watford have, like Spurs, dropped 17 points from positions of scoreboard superiority – while underachievers Arsenal and Everton are next up on the list with 16 and 15 respectively.

Next up come a cluster of six teams in the middle of the giving-away-leads pack.

Brighton, Norwich, Leicester, Southampton, Newcastle and Manchester United have all dropped between 14 and 12 points – with some of these teams, namely Norwich, evidently having not had many leads to lose in the first place.

Somewhat surprisingly, Manchester City have dropped just nine points from winning positions – suggesting that many of their failures have come from having conceded first – as they did in their shock loss against Southampton over the weekend.

Burnley have also been miserly in this respect with the same figure as Pep Guardiola’s side – while they are both bettered by Sheffield United and Crystal Palace with six apiece.

In fact, only two teams have conceded fewer goals this season than the 33 by Chris Wilder’s impressive side in their maiden season back in the top flight, following 12 years away.

Wolves, very much still in the Champions League hunt, have dropped only two points from winning positions – with their trademark back three proving a stern proposition for any team to get through.

And of course they are bettered by just Liverpool, who amazingly haven’t dropped any points from winning positions – proving that they’ve had resilience to match their undoubted flair on the way to their first title of the Premier League era.


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