What Happens if Man City, Arsenal End Level on Points and Goal Difference in Premier League Race?

What Happens if Man City, Arsenal End Level on Points and Goal Difference in Premier League Race?

Rene Otinga
updated at May 15, 2024 at 7:03 AM
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  • The Premier League title race will be decided on the final day of the season
  • Manchester City lead the standings after the win against Tottenham Hotspur
  • A possible outcome could see Arsenal and City end level after the final round

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Going into the final day of the season, the Premier League title race has little margin for error.

Manchester City’s 4-0 win over Fulham on May 11 effectively knocked Liverpool out of the race, leaving just two sides to battle for the ultimate prize.

Pep Guardiola, Mikel Arteta, Arsenal, Manchester City, Premier League
Pep Guardiola could beat Mikel Arteta to the Premier League title if Manchester City win their remaining two games. Photo by Visionhaus.
Source: Getty Images

Despite Arsenal claiming a crucial 1-0 win over Manchester United on May 12, the defending champions reclaimed the summit with their 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur on May 14.

How Arsenal and City can end season level

Because of the tight nature of the Premier League title race this season, it is not hard to fathom a scenario where Arsenal and Manchester City end the campaign level on both points and goal difference.

If the Gunners win their final game against Everton on May 19, they will have 89 points. City will also have 89 points if they are somehow held to a draw in their game against West Ham United.

What happens if Arsenal, Man City are level?

There are four possible ways the Premier League title race can be decided if two teams finish level on points, and it goes down to four different metrics which will be considered.

Goal difference

The team with the superior goal difference will ultimately be declared champions in the event Arsenal and Manchester City finish level on points. At this stage, there is only one score separating the two teams.

Goals scored

However, with the possibility of the two teams being level on goal difference, the title race could be decided by the team that has a superior record in goals scored (GF).

As it stands, City have scored 93 goals, compared to Arsenal’s 89.

Head-to-head record

Another metric that could be used to separate two teams in the title race is their head-to-head record. The team with a better record holds the advantage.

Arsenal are better off in this department since they beat the Citizens 1-0 in October 2023 before forcing a 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture at the Etihad Stadium on March 31.

Most away goals in head-to-head meetings

In the extraordinary scenario where the head-to-head record is not enough to separate the two teams, the title would have to be decided by the side with the most away goals in the head-to-head meetings.

This is what the Premier League rulebook states if two teams are level on points and goal difference, according to Diario AS:

"The team who collected the most points in the head-to-head matches, then who scored most away goals in the head-to-head will determine who will finish ahead of who in the table."

What can lead to a play-off?

According to Sky Sports, if two teams finish the season level on points, goal difference, and goals scored, and cannot be separated using their head-to-head record, the winner will be decided via a play-off.

As per the Premier League handbook rule C.17.3, the play-off match would be played at a neutral ground.

The real dilemma would be the date of the play-off since the rule book is not clear on when it should be played, presumably because no such scenario has ever been experienced in Premier League history.

Pep: City star stopped Arsenal from title win

Sports Brief also recently reported on Guardiola lauding Man City's Stefan Ortega, who made crucial saves in the game against Tottenham.

The Spanish manager singled out the German goalkeeper whose heroics might have kept the Premier League trophy out of Arsenal's control.

Authors
Rene Otinga photo
Rene Otinga
Rene Otinga is a sports journalist with over eight years of working experience in digital media. Rene's experience includes working as a Copywriter at X News Kenya and TUKO.co.ke.
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Pep GuardiolaMikel Arteta