United lack finishing power

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The Independent Football

During the last five seasons, while becoming champions twice, Manchester United have not gained more than 17 points from their last eight games; Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool have on average accrued a couple of points more. Last season Chelsea led the way with 20 points from the last 24, yet they still finished second to Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

Three seasons ago Liverpool recorded a "perfect" 24 point finish – in fact winning their last nine – but the Merseyside outfit still finished third behind Chelsea and United.

Only twice in Premier League history have there been better finishes over the last eight matches. In 1999-2000, Man United won the last 11 games to win the title, while in 2001-02 Arsenal outdid even that, winning the last 13 games of the season to secure the first part of a Double.

Everton, Man City and Wigan, all currently in the top half of the table, will hope for improved finishes on recent seasons. But should Middlesbrough and Newcastle replicate their form of the last five seasons they will be relegated (should surrounding clubs also replicate theirs).

The worst finish to a season in Premier League history belongs to the Sunderland team of six seasons ago, who lost their last 15 games.