Arsenal are the top team of the century

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The Independent Online

FORGET Manchester United's historic Treble-winning success of last season. The Old Trafford side might dominate English football, but when it comes to the leading clubs of the last 100 years, it doesn't even make the top three.

FORGET Manchester United's historic Treble-winning success of last season. The Old Trafford side might dominate English football, but when it comes to the leading clubs of the last 100 years, it doesn't even make the top three.

According to an exclusive statistical analysis prepared for The Independent, Arsenal top the League of the Century, followed by Liverpool and Everton. Manchester United, despite all its success, can only manage fourth. The analysis is based on performances since 1900, and calculates the average finishing position in the league for the century's 89 seasons (11 were lost to the wars). Arsenal, who have won the Championship title 11 times and have spent 83 of the 89 seasons in the top division, have an average finishing position of 8.5.

Liverpool, overwhelmingly dominant in English football in the Seventies and Eighties (and with 18 titles), have an average position of 8.7.

The team ranked "worst of the century" (of those still playing) is Hartlepool. They have finished, on average, just below 72nd spot, for 72 years.

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