Although as many as 5 teams failed to find the net in gameweek 25 of the Premier League there was still plenty of goalmouth action, particularly in the games featuring sides at the bottom of the table.
The late comeback was a common trend over the weekend, and while it brought adulation for the likes of Newcastle, Everton and Wigan, there was a familiar air of despair for Villa and Southampton, while bad feeling towards Rafa Benitez continues to mount at Chelsea.
As many as 17 of the 26 goals (65.4%) scored this weekend came in the second half of matches, with 9 (34.6%) coming in the final fifteen minutes of action. Indeed 8 of the 10 games saw goals scored after the 75th minute, including stoppage time strikes for the aforementioned trio of sides on the right side of comeback results.
In turn we felt the time was right to analyse those that have managed to pick up plenty of points from behind and those that wish the final whistle would come sooner. As the two often go hand-in-hand we'll also be looking at each teams' respective records at both scoring and conceding late goals to identify those with good and bad battery lives.
At the top of the pile in terms of points won from losing positions, league leaders Manchester United have relied heavily on their ability to come back from the brink this season. Unbelievably they haven't gone behind to later draw a game this season but have won as many as nine matches from losing positions, recouping 27 points in the process. Add to this the fact that they haven't lost a match from a winning position this season, only letting points slip in draws against Spurs and Swansea, and it is immediately apparent why they sit clear at the summit.
Second in the list of teams to have retrieved the most points having gone down at one stage or another in a match are Everton, whose comeback from 3-1 down to Villa this weekend was the latest in a long line of heroics. The Toffees have picked up a hefty 21 points from behind this season, and in building a side that never know when they're beaten David Moyes may have the best chance of taking his side into the Champions League since they were denied a place back in 2005.
Up next it's Man City, whose 16 points from losing positions is 11 fewer than their neighbours, and the fact that Mancini's side are 9 points behind shows just how vital the Red Devils' tendency to win from behind has been this season. The reigning champions did manage to avoid defeat at the weekend after a late Sergio Aguero goal ensured a share of the spoils against Liverpool, but while City turn defeats into draws (as they have on 4 occasions this season), United have bulldozed their way to all three points.
Another team well worth a mention here given a recent surge of last gasp victories is Reading, whose late shows have kept the fans glued to their seats well into injury time. The Royals are one of only seven sides to achieve a tally in double figures for points won from behind and are the only team outside the league's top 6 to have done so. The fact that 7 of their tally of 12 points from losing positions have come since the turn of the year has lifted a side deemed by many as shoe-ins for the drop out of the relegation zone.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Paul Lambert's Villa side have only picked up 2 points from behind, with 1 of those coming against Swansea in a game that they had also led deep into injury time. The fact that their tally is so measly would support those who say that the Scot has assembled a team that are inexperienced at such a level, which has seen heads drop among the young side when they've fallen behind.
The fact that the Midlands outfit rank third worst in terms of points dropped from winning positions (18), including 2 at Everton on Saturday, not only strengthens those views but makes for a perilous combination for a side looking to fight against relegation. The team seems to lack the nous to close out games having conceded late goals to cost them victories in each of their 3 away matches since the turn of the year.
Having featured among the best sides at retrieving points, Reading rank second worst for losing them (20), though they have done so just once since defeat to United on December 1st. While McDermott's side seem to have matured to the Premier League of late, Villa have failed to so, and the two have traded places in the drop zone.
The worst team in terms of letting leads slip this season is Southampton, sacrificing a massive 24 points in the process. It is a trend that started on the opening day at the Etihad and despite abating slightly, the Saints have dropped points in each of their last two games against United and, more recently, in the dying minutes at Wigan. Having won just 7 points from losing positions, the difference between their tallies here is the worst (-17).
Meanwhile, though United, City and Arsenal (all 4) rank equal second for fewest points dropped from winning positions, it is Michael Laudrup's Swansea that have dropped fewer than any other side (2). Ironically, their game against Villa (who have won the fewest from behind) is the only game that they have thrown away a lead. Nevertheless, in that match a Danny Graham goal in added time eventually rescued a point for the Welsh outfit.
A quick look at the late goals figures for each side gives a good indication of why teams are generally placed as they are. Only Midlands rivals West Brom (11) have conceded more goals after the 79th minute than Aston Villa (10), while bottom club QPR have scored the fewest goals in that time frame (1). Although the bottom two both have goal differences of -6 in the final 10 minutes, there is one side that have fared worse.
Andre Villas-Boas' Tottenham have conceded 10 late goals and only struck 3, giving them a goal difference of -7 in that period and going a long way to show the work they still have to do to bridge the gap to the top two. In comparison, City (+8), Arsenal (+8) and United (+7) have all ensured that they are the side to end matches strongly and, in the case of the two Manchester clubs in particular, that is what champions do.