Once a legendary Sir Alex Ferguson said, “Attack wins you matches but defence wins you titles.” The quote has been seen in reality many times during a campaign when excellent and inspiring defending has led a team to silverware. Defenders often go unnoticed and underappreciated as compared to attackers, but they play a crucial role for a team to win.
With the Premier League starting its new season this week, we decided to take a look at the 5 teams who conceded the fewest goals in a Premier League season.
1. Chelsea – 15 goals (2004/05)
Leading the list with the fewest goals conceded are Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. The rock-solid Chelsea’s 2004/05 season is considered one of the best defensive performances in history as they conceded only 15 goals. The Blues lost only 1 game on their way to winning the title. They also managed a League Cup trophy in the same season.
Petr Cech was outstanding throughout the season keeping 25 clean sheets. The defence too, led by John Terry was considered one of the best going around at that time. No team has come closer to breaking the record and with the current generation of attacking football, the record is there to stay.
2. Arsenal – 17 goals (1998/99)
The only season to feature in this list from the ‘90s is Arsenal’s 98-99 season. The rivalry at that time between Manchester United and Arsenal was one of the best and it was witnessed in that season as well. Arsenal was at their defensive best and their resilience resulted in only 17 goals conceded. However, they finished the season 1 point behind United to lose the title.
The watertight defence included Lee Dixon, Martin Keown, Tony Adams, and Nigel Winterburn. Behind them the goalkeeper David Seaman kept 23 clean sheets throughout the season.
3. Manchester United – 22 goals (2007/08)
The 2007/08 season was one of the most memorable for the United fans as the Red Devils finished with a Champions League and Premier League double. In the Premier although they finished with 80 goals, they also had one of the meanest defences as the team only conceded 22 goals.
Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, arguably one of the greatest centre-back pairings of all time, led the team brilliantly from the back. Edwin Van Der Sar kept 21 clean sheets in the Premier League to lead United their 10th title in 16 years.
4. Chelsea – 22 goals (2005/06)
Celebrating the club’s 100th anniversary that year, Chelsea made it memorable with a Premier League title. Chelsea’s team from that period was considered one of the best of all times with superstars filled in every position. The Blues only conceded 22 goals throughout the season on their way to defend their Premier League title.
The fact that Chelsea’ 2004/05 season tops this list and the 2005/06 season also has a mention here, says a lot about the defence that they had during those years. 2 titles in 2 seasons with a combined low of 37 goals conceded is a mark of one of the best defensive performances.
5. Liverpool – 25 goals (2005/06)
The 2005/06 season is the only season that has 2 mentions in this list. The Liverpool team though missed out on the title finishing 3rd behind Chelsea and Manchester United. However, the then Champions League defending champions conceded only 25 goals throughout the season in one of the best defensive performances.
Pepe Reina led the charge from the back with 21 clean sheets in the Premier League. Liverpool finished the season FA Cup and UEFA Super Cup.