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Ball - Analysis: The Big Three have never been this strong (League)

Ball – Analysis: The Big Three have never been this strong (League)

15th round of the league: Sporting: 3-0; Benfica: 7-1; Porto: 4-0. Six points to the top three and not less than 14-1 in goals scored and conceded. As the first round drew to a close, the top three lost points only on four occasions, other than what happened between them: Maritimo-FC Porto in Round 3 (1-1), Famalicao-Sporting in 4 (1-1), Benfica-Portimonense in 8 (0-1) and Estoril-Benfica at 10 (1-1). Regardless of the classics, Dragons and Lions lost two points each, and the Eagles were left without five points.

So the Big Three are extremely powerful. In fact, together, they’ve never been stronger. Compared to Round 15 of 2020/2021, Porto have six more points, Sporting two and Benfica have four more. Together, they add up to 119 points, which exceeds the previous record of 118 points in 1990/91, when Sporting and FC Porto had 40 points and Benfica at 38 (always three points per win).

Lions in 2021/2022 had their second highest score in history, only surpassed by 1946/1947 (another point). Porto club did the same, because only in 1939/1940 did they add more points (one point). Only Benfica, with four points less than their rival, is battling it out, given that those 37 points in Round 15 are just their 18 best ever (13 best until 1990/1991; 5 strongest between 2012/13 and 2019/ 2020).

The difference for fourth place is big: 9 points between Benfica and Braga. There hasn’t been such a difference between third and fourth since winning three points (1995/1996). The worst were the eight points in 2009/2010 (FC Porto/Sporting), 2013/2014 (FC Porto/Estoril) and 2015/2016 (Benfica/Braga). Last year it was only three points.

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In the Portuguese league there are the largest teams from third to fourth place. England comes next with six points separating Chelsea and Arsenal, followed by the Netherlands, five points behind Feyenoord and Twente. As in Portugal, the top three places in the ranking together had a higher average score: 2.65. England, with a score of 2.28, looks far.