One of our absolute favourite stats, this. Very simple: how many points each team has won after falling behind. We love it because being near the top of this list is both good and bad; good because you’re overturning deficits, bad because you keep facing deficits.
It’s not a perfect indicator, but generally speaking the nearer the team is to the top of this list the more fun they are to watch. Liverpool leading with Spurs third offers some support for this hypothesis, but just look at that Manchester City chaos.
20) Burnley – 1 point
18 deficits, 1 draw, 17 defeats
What we knew about Burnley from last season is that they were very, very good at beating Championship-standard teams. What we have learned about Burnley this season is that they are very bad at beating Premier League-standard teams. Sure, they can still beat Your Lutons and Your Sheffield Uniteds and nab a point at The Nottingham Forests Of This World, but in almost all games against better teams they have fallen behind and failed to salvage a single bloody thing out of it. Until Fulham caved in.
18=) Everton – 2 points
13 deficits, 2 draws, 11 defeats
They got off the mark with a point at Sheffield United in a game they led 1-0 and trailed 2-1. Have managed not to fall behind quite so often more recently, but when they do it’s still generally curtains. Still, though: recovering a 10-point deficit in the space of four games is a comeback nobody else on this list can claim. Pegging back Tottenham in added time will certainly help with that.
18=) Newcastle United – 2 points
12 deficits, 2 draws, 10 defeats
Not ideal when world domination is the name of the game. Took Newcastle 29 games to suffer a third league defeat last season, but got there in four games this time around. Finally secured a first point of the season from a losing position in a 2-2 draw at West Ham, but they were minutes away from victory. That was also the case against Manchester City, who sodding well beat the Magpies after leading and then trailing. Since then they have been going behind an awful lot and never really coming back. Bizarrely would appear to be much better off if they could simply play Aston Villa every week.
17) Sheffield United – 3 points
20 deficits, 3 draws, 17 defeats
They got off the mark with a point against Everton in a game they trailed 1-0 and led 2-1, which seems to be a thing that has happened to a lot of teams this season. Were generally hopeless after going behind, until they clawed a draw back at the Amex after Brighton’s early goal. Never looked likely to recover at any point while going 3-0 down to Bournemouth or 5-0 at Burnley, a honking great turd of a defeat that spelled the end for Paul Heckingbottom. That late, late goal v West Ham shows they still have some gumption at least, but defeat at Palace in a game they led twice must sting.
16) Fulham – 5 points
14 deficits, 1 win, 2 draws, 11 defeats
Led early and trailed late at the Emirates before emerging with a commendable draw that definitely belongs in the ‘one point gained’ pile rather than ‘two points lost’ in Yet Another 2-2 Draw Where Both Teams Led. Grabbed another point at Brighton to remain mid-table in all the leagues, in accordance with the prophecy. Then inflicted a first come-from-behind defeat on Arsenal in absolutely ages in a New Year’s Eve belter, which means four of these five points have come at the Gunners’ expense.
15) Nottingham Forest – 6 points
17 deficits, 1 win, 3 draws, 13 defeats
Had a decent go at Arsenal, spaffed a huge opportunity against Man United. Have beaten Sheffield United and Chelsea, though. So that’s alright. Picked up draws v Burnley and Brentford from behind before finally coming from behind to win when Chris Wood went full Mbappe on Newcastle. Then had another good but ultimately futile attempt at clawing back a deficit against Arsenal. Grabbed a point v Bournemouth that keeps heads above water. Found two equalisers in the return clash with Newcastle but couldn’t locate a third.
14) Luton – 7 points
18 deficits, 1 win, 4 draws, 13 defeats
Nearly got something off West Ham and picked up their first point of the season by coming from behind to draw at home to Wolves. Then they did the same at Forest from 2-0 down. Definitely have more fight than Burnley. Came from behind v Arsenal twice and that takes some balls, even if it was for nought in the end. Trailed then lead at Sheffield United thanks to a couple of quickfire own-goals. Almost scrambled something from 3-0 down against Chelsea. Did grab a point at Burnley; this team has gumption. Have now hit upon a strategy of not picking up points from behind by simply beating European contenders like Brighton 4-0 instead. Fair enough. Losing at home to Sheffield United is an unusual choice, mind.
13) Brentford – 8 points
16 deficits, 2 wins, 2 draws, 12 defeats
Took the lead against West Ham and spaffed the lead against West Ham, which has been something of a Brentford trait this season. What was out of the ordinary was how they went on to win that match. And then they did it again v Nottingham Forest.
12) Chelsea – 8 points
14 deficits, 2 wins, 2 draws, 10 defeats
Fighting back to get a point from a goal down against Liverpool: quite good. Getting the runaround from David Moyes’ 10-man West Ham or losing at home to Nottingham Forest or being beaten at home by Villa: not good. Coming from behind to win at Burnley: better. Coming from behind to win at Spurs: it really did happen to them. Coming from behind to draw with Man City: What an extraordinary mess. It’s a very apt collection of happenings for this iteration of Chelsea.
11) Bournemouth – 8 points
14 deficits, 2 wins, 2 draws, 10 defeats
That opening-day draw against West Ham looks better and better in hindsight, while defeats against Liverpool, Spurs, Brighton and Arsenal shouldn’t be enough to undermine what Andoni Iraola is trying to implement at the Vitality just yet. A heavy loss at Everton might, but a come-from-behind win in a six-pointer at Burnley helped hugely, as you would think will a last-gasp, come-from-behind win over Forest.
10) Arsenal – 8 points
8 deficits, 2 wins, 2 draws, 4 defeats
Trailed for barely a minute against United before leaving it late to snaffle all three points in the latest blockbuster instalment of that particular rivalry. Presumably mildly less chuffed to emerge from the 2-2 draw with Fulham having ‘won’ a point in this feature but lost two in its cousin. Looked set for defeat at Chelsea before coming back from the dead, a feat they could not repeat against Newcastle. They were behind for only three minutes v Luton but the manner of the victory was hella impressive. Pretty meek and mild in the defeats to West Ham and Fulham that rounded out 2023, mind. Overall numbers may place Arsenal only mid-table here but the key number for the Gunners is really the eight for overall deficits. Everyone else is into double figures now.
9) Crystal Palace – 9 points
16 deficits, 2 wins, 3 draws, 11 defeats
Last year’s scrambling champions finally got themselves a come-from-behind win by giving themselves 88 minutes to achieve it against a Brentford side in even worse form then themselves. Then beat Sheffield United 3-2 in an enormously fun game having found themselves both 1-0 and 2-1 down inside the first 20 minutes.
8) Manchester United – 9 points
12 deficits, 3 wins, 0 draws, 9 defeats
Managed to make the best of falling 2-0 down inside four minutes at home to Nottingham Forest, but it’s not really a policy we’d necessarily encourage others to follow. Never remotely looked like overturning the deficit at Tottenham, which arguably is a more meaningful pointer for United’s season as a whole, had precious little time to do so at Arsenal, were battered by Brighton at home and lost with a whimper to Crystal Palace. It looked to be heading the same way at home to Brentford but Scott McTominay popped up with a quick double in injury-time to snatch victory, while a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle was enormously flattering for a woeful United effort. Might the come-from-behind win over Villa spark United into life?
7) Wolves – 11 points
15 deficits, 3 wins, 2 draws, 10 defeats
Thrashed by Brighton, but will forever argue – and with some justification – that they should have had a late, late chance to get a point at Old Trafford from the penalty spot after Andre Onana’s pugilistic madness. Could definitely have got something out of a 3-2 defeat at Palace. Leading after a great first half at home to Liverpool, Gary O’Neil’s side could not deal with the Reds’ attacking prowess and lost again. Then they were made to cling on against Luton before beating Manchester City just like everyone predicted. Then they capitalised on Bournemouth capitulating and hit back twice to draw a fun game against Newcastle. And then beat a stodgy, distinctly un-Ange Tottenham side with a pair of very late but very deserved goals. They have some gumption, this Wolves side.
Thrashing Chelsea despite the Blues taking an early lead must have been particularly sweet.
6) West Ham – 11 points
13 deficits, 3 wins, 2 draws, 8 defeats
West Ham did well to match Manchester City as the only sides not to go behind for the first month of the season. That was the case until they went behind to the champions on matchday five. They also went ahead on the day, thus ending every side’s unblemished record on that front. Then they went behind to Liverpool, brought it back to 1-1 and still lost 3-1. Nabbed a first point from a losing position with a late show against Newcastle in a game they led 1-0 and trailed 2-1. But since then they have lost to Aston Villa and Everton with little fight, before trailing, leading and losing to Brentford. Much better in recent weeks, though: They pulled the reverse Brentford trick on Forest before staging a late Tomas Soucek-inspired fightback at rank-bad Burnley. Then they let Spurs shoot themselves in the foot. Twice.
5) Aston Villa – 12 points
12 deficits, 3 wins, 3 draws, 6 defeats
Twice they’ve fallen behind and gone on to lose heavily. The 2-0 defeat to Forest was similarly limp. But Unai Emery’s side have now put both Crystal Palace and Tottenham away after conceding first and recovered a point that appeared lost late on at Bournemouth. Villa rescued three points from behind at Brentford and another late on against Sheffield United, but chucked away three points at Manchester United. Never looked like getting anything against Newcastle, who have now paddled them home and away this season. Which is a weird one given the overall trajectories of both clubs’ seasons.
4) Brighton – 13 points
14 deficits, 3 wins, 4 draws, 7 defeats
After getting thoroughly Moyesed a few weeks previous, Brighton showed no lingering scars as they put Bournemouth down despite Dominic Solanke’s opener. Wisely decided to sandwich their one goal at Villa between conceding three either side. Led Liverpool 1-0, trailed 2-1, drew 2-2 in what we’ve recently discovered is our absolute favourite football match scoring pattern. Trailed early at Forest before getting their acts together, but couldn’t claw back a deficit at Chelsea despite playing the entire second half against 10 men. They did come back to beat Brentford, mind. And then to draw v Burnley and Palace. Did not make a comeback against Luton. What on earth has happened there, lads? Gave themselves desperately little time to do anything about falling behind at Spurs in a game they really, really should have won.
3) Tottenham – 16 points
13 deficits, 4 wins, 4 draws, 5 defeats
Slightly sloppy in allowing an early 1-0 lead at Brentford to become a 2-1 deficit but they were more than worth the point they ultimately left with and punished Burnley severely for their temerity in scoring an early opening goal. After two weeks off, Spurs made it back-to-back wins from behind when they beat Sheffield United 2-1 in truly absurd style, before equalising twice in a mad 2-2 draw with Arsenal. Already feels like Angeball is the very ideal kind of thing for this metric. Spiritually came from behind to valiantly beat nine-man Liverpool after Luis Diaz’s significant human error. Had an attempt to come from behind v Chelsea with nine men.
Then, as is bafflingly customary, performed a nonsense against Manchester City to draw 3-3 in a game they led 1-0 but trailed 2-1 and 3-2. The 4-2 defeat at Brighton notable for many reasons, among them it being the first time Spurs had lost a game this season without having previously taken the lead.
Grabbed a point at Old Trafford but should probably have claimed all three. Then absolutely did claim all three points v Brentford, prompting chants of ‘you should have cashed out’ to Ivan Toney. Nice. You never want to leave Spurs games early this season. Their propensity for conceding late goals is well known, but against Brighton they secured a third win of the season not just in injury time but right at the very end of it. They’d trailed for most of the first half and a good chunk of the second. Spurs’ position in this table is rendered even more impressive by the fact they are the only team that don’t get the opportunity to pick up the easy points on offer for coming from behind against Spurs.
2) Manchester City – 17 points
10 deficits, 5 wins, 2 draws, 3 defeats
It worked against West Ham but it most certainly didn’t at Wolves. And then there were a pair of frankly mental games against Chelsea and Spurs in which City both gained a point from behind but both lost two points from being ahead. Very silly, uncharacteristically chaotic antics from Pep’s City machine. And they never even looked close to coming back v Aston Villa. But they bucked the trend v Luton at least and a second-half turnaround gave them a big win at Everton before some ridiculousness against Newcastle. Became just the latest team to overturn a Neal Maupay deficit against Brentford. Apparently this now a thing that absolutely anyone can achieve.
1) Liverpool – 19 points
11 deficits, 5 wins, 4 draws, 2 defeats
Mentality monsters and chaos merchants. An absolutely magnificent combination personified spectacularly by Darwin Nunez. To put their start to the season in some form of perspective, they won only three games from behind all last season. And that’s actually a fairly decent return: only Palace, Arsenal, Spurs and weirdly Bournemouth did it more often. Four wins from behind inside their first 14 matches represents outstanding work in the field of chaotic nonsense, although the undiluted ridiculousness against Spurs finally proved too much.
Could very easily have had a fourth win from behind at Brighton, but Lewis Dunk had other ideas, but did manage a late turnaround in a gloriously fun game against Fulham. Grabbing a point in stoppage-time at Luton is not the sort of thing they’ll crow about but it’s all adding up to an astonishing overall total. Even if they were ‘horrendous’ for 76 minutes at Palace, we all knew what was coming. Arsenal led at Anfield but Mo Salah soon put that right. Without him, they could not repeat the trick at the Emirates.