The clean sheet king of the Premier League

The 2023-24 Premier League table if you got an extra point for a clean sheet

They say attack wins games but defence wins titles. Is that true, though?

What if defence really was the single most important thing, and you got an extra point for every clean sheet you kept? First of all, football would be awful — the results would be littered with tactical nil-nils.

We wondered if it would make an actual tangible difference to the Premier League table. We’ve taken the current PL table and added a point for every clean sheet each club has kept. SPOILER ALERT: Arsenal fans might be clamouring for a rule change after reading this.

Everton would already be celebrating Premier League safety.

In terms of actual league positions, nothing changes in the Premier League basement.

However, Everton and Brentford are all but safe with only 12 points plus a bonus four clean sheet points available to Luton in their remaining fixtures. Jordan Pickford has kept an impressive 10 clean sheets for the Toffees this season — that’s the second most of any goalkeeper in the league.

Brentford have kept the opposition out six times, meaning they just about stay ahead of Everton by the skin of their teeth. Unsurprisingly, Sheffield United have kept the fewest clean sheets — just one all season.

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Fulham would be the big winners in the mid-table battle.

Chelsea’s season would be looking a little bit less diabolical if clean sheets were rewarded with points — they’d leapfrog West Ham on goal difference.

The big winners here, however, are Fulham. Bernd Leno has been excellent between the sticks for the Cottagers, keeping nine shutouts so far. They hope from 12th position to 10th.

Wolves, on the other hand, have been leaky. They’ve kept just five clean sheets, meaning they drop two places to 13th.

Wolves have actually conceded one fewer goal than Fulham so far, suggesting that the Cottages suffer the occasional battering but then manage to get their act together. Wolves are more of a slow drip.

Party time at the Emirates.

Up at the summit of the table, nothing changes in terms of position, but Arsenal would really benefit rom those extra clean sheet bonus points.

The Gunners would be six points clear of Liverpool, and their fate would be in their own hands as Manchester City would be a minimum of three points behind them, even if they won their game in hand without conceding.

Elsewhere, Newcastle would close the gap on Tottenham, and could find themselves within six points of Aston Villa after playing their games in hand, setting up an exciting race for European places.

Manchester United would be two points further adrift than they presently are — they’ll keep the current rules, thank you very much.

David Raya has kept more clean sheets than any other goalkeeper, this season,  playing 13 of Arsenal’s impressive 15 games without conceding. Arsenal have kept five more clean sheets than any other team, which is staggering, really.

It’s perhaps also quite shocking that Everton have kept more clean sheets than both Manchester City and Liverpool, this season. Tottenham find themselves in joint 11th on the list of PL clean sheets but, to be fair, they are the all-out-attack kings of entertainment in 2023-24, so they’re allowed.

By Andrew Martin