Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

How would the Premier League table look if matches were only 60 minutes?

Posted on 8 May 2020 by Emily Salley

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Earlier this week, the PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor suggested 45-minute halves could be cut when football resumes after the season was ground to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

If the 2019/2020 season is to be salvaged, in all likelihood, there will be more matches in a shorter period. Taylor’s suggestion of less game time could ease the intensity and limit the chances of players picking up injuries or experiencing fatigue.

However, the Premier League has since announced that they will not be making Taylor’s suggestion a reality for the remaining 92 fixtures. 

But it leads one to imagine, what would the football world be like if matches were cut short of the 90-minute mark?

Here’s a look into what this season’s Premier League table would look like if football games were 30-minutes each way:

How the Premier League table would look if matches lasted 60-minutes. Sports Gazette.

And for comparison, here is the current Premier League table:

Current Premier League table

Liverpool remain untouchable at the top with 15 points separating them from Manchester City. However, the would-be champions would have suffered a few more losses, and fans of Aston Villa, Manchester United or West Ham would all possess a smugness knowing they had beaten one of the Premier League’s all-time greats.

The real shocks come from Watford and Wolves, who have traded places with each other at opposite ends of the table.

Watford have shot up the table, from the verge of relegation in 17th to having a shot at one of the European qualification spots. In a world where football matches only lasted 60-minutes, the Hornets would be winning. In fact, they would have almost doubled their number of wins, from 6 to 11, which just goes to show how many goals they concede in the final third of matches.

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Wolves, on the other hand, have plummeted into the relegation zone. While Watford are experts on conceding in the last 30-minutes, Wolves are the masters of scoring late goals. Of the 29 matches they played, twelve would have changed for the worse and they would have only picked up four wins, the fewest from any club.

Pre-pandemic, Newcastle United looked as if they had done enough to stay in the Premier League for another season. However, their new prospective owners might have had second thoughts if the club was confined to hour-long matches which would have made them a likely candidate for dropping into the Championship.

Sadly for Norwich fans, the Canaries are among the four teams who have retained their position but unlike the three others, Norwich remain very likely to be relegated.

Meanwhile, West Ham will be content with their new position in the table. The East London club would have got an extra 12 points and moved up five places if matches were cut short. Perhaps, Karren Brady would have changed her “null and void” position if this were the case.

Bournemouth, too, would have been thankful for 30-minutes less game time. Eddie Howe’s side would have moved up four places, five points above the bottom three where they currently sit.

On the losing side of things, Leicester have slipped a costly two places and might be out of a Champions League qualifying spot, to the benefit of Man United and Chelsea, while Arsenal drop to 12th, which would be their lowest table finish since the 1994/95 season.

Clearly 30-minutes less of playing time does have an impact, and some teams are better suited to it than others. Do you think football would be better off with shortened games?