The Premier League is amongst the best football leagues in the world and has produced some outstanding teams since its inception in 1992. However, there are not necessarily stellar teams in every season of the competition.
Even some teams who have won the Premier League have done it by collecting a relatively small number of points compared to their contemporaries. Here are the teams that claimed the Premier League title with the lowest points tally:
Manchester United in season 1996-97, 75 points
The Red Devils take the prize for the team who has claimed the title with the least points. Despite their squad containing the likes of David Beckham and French enigma Eric Cantona, in his final season as a player, they were the least impressive winners of the title.
Summer signing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer impressed in attack, though, finishing as his team’s top goalscorer by grabbing 19 league goals in his debut campaign in the English top flight. Those goals helped the Red Devils to rather coast to the title in the end, as second-place Newcastle United finished seven points adrift of the Men from Manchester.
Arsenal in season 1997-98, 78 Points
Just a season after United recorded a record-low points tally for champions, Arsenal claimed the crown by just two more points. The title was the Gunners’ first of the Premier League era and the first under little-known French head coach Arsene Wenger, who was enjoying his first full campaign in charge of the north London club.
A team containing Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit and Marc Overmars had to fight hard to win the title, finishing just a point ahead of Sir Alex Ferguson’s United in the title race.
Manchester United in season 1998-99, 79 Points
United’s second entry on this list came in season 1998/1999 when the Red Devils wrestled the title back from Arsenal, having lost the crown to the Gunners in the previous campaign.
It was also the season that United made a bit of history as they claimed the treble of the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup. They were the only modern-day English team to do that particular treble until city-rivals Manchester City achieved the feat in season 2022/23.
Once again, it was a close title race with Arsenal, and the Red Devils prevailed courtesy of just a solitary point. Despite the perceived low title-winning points tally, the season will always be remembered for that treble triumph.
Manchester United in season 2000-01, 80 Points
Yet another entry for United on our list, this time for their 80 points tally in season 2000-01, when they claimed a third straight English top-flight title. The points tally is somewhat misleading, as the Red Devils controlled the Premier League for much of the season. However, they lost their final three league games of the season, as they had little to play for, having already clinched the title.
The title was inspired by the form of veteran striker Teddy Sheringham. The forward scored 15 goals in 29 appearances, making him the Red Devils’ top goalscorer. His displays were also enough to see him win both PFA and FWA Player of the Year awards. The 2000/01 season proved to be the England international’s last at the club, as he re-joined former club Spurs in the summer of 2001.
Manchester United in season 2010-11, 80 Points
In season 2010/11, United again matched their points tally from 2000/01. The team were in a slight transitional period, as the likes of Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes were seeing less action.
The two-star players for the Red Devils that season were strike pair Dimitar Berbatov who top-scored with 20 league goals, and Javier Hernandez. Ferguson’s team won just 23 of their 38 league games, drawing too many games along the way.
However, the title triumph in 2011 was significant as it saw United overtake Liverpool as the most successful club in the English top flight, claiming 19 titles compared to the Merseysiders’ 18.
Leicester City in season 2015-16 – 81 Points
The 2015/16 season saw one of the biggest fairy tale stories ever seen in European football history. Just a season after narrowly avoiding relegation to the Championship, Claudio Ranieri’s Foxes claimed the English top-flight title against all odds.
The men from the Midlands made themselves hard to beat, as the Foxes suffered just three defeats all season while also drawing 13 league matches during the campaign. Despite what looked like a slightly low points tally, Ranieri’s team still finished ten points ahead of runners-up Arsenal.
Manchester United in season 1995-96, 82 Points
The Red Devils have yet another entry on our list. The 1995/96 season was an important one, as it saw the emergence of many of United’s academies as regular first-team players.
After a 3-1 gameweek one loss at Aston Villa, former Liverpool defender and legend Alan Hansen, working as a pundit on Match of the Day, stated, “You’ll never win anything with kids”. United’s title win that season made a mockery of the Scot’s statement and has gone down as one of the most famous football quotes of all time.
Despite being seven points behind league leaders Newcastle United at the turn of the year, United claimed the title, having recorded 25 wins, seven draws and six defeats, finishing four points ahead of Newcastle, who finished as runners-up.