The Statistics: Fergie’s boys shut up shop

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Manchester United's surpassing this week of Chelsea's Premier League record for minutes without conceding a goal highlights the importance of a tight defence to a side with title pretensions.

In the first eight seasons of the Premier League only once did the club conceding the fewest goals become champions – and that was in the very first season, when Manchester United ended up top, having conceded 31 goals.

In the next seven seasons the most miserly defences did not finish top, though in the last eight campaigns six title-winners have conceded the fewest – United doing so three times.

Chelsea hold the record for fewest conceded in a season – letting in just 15 in their title-winning season of 2004-05.