How To Read A Soccer Table

The Ultimate Guide To Reading A Soccer Table

Last updated on August 27th, 2021

You may have seen a soccer league table before, such as the one during Leicester City’s title winning season.

Leicester City Premier League Table 201516
Source: Wikipedia

What exactly does the ‘P W D L F A GD Pts’ words mean? Here’s what you need to know about reading a league table in football.

How does a soccer table work?

A soccer table ranks teams in the league according to the number of points that they earn from each league match they play. The higher the number of points a team has, the higher they will be in the table.

If both teams are level on points, other tiebreakers (usually goal difference) are used to determine which team ranks higher.

How to read a soccer table

Here are the meanings for the 8 abbreviations that you’ll normally see in a soccer league table:

  1. Pld (Matches played)
  2. W (Games won)
  3. D (Games drawn)
  4. L (Games lost)
  5. F (Goals scored)
  6. A (Goals conceded)
  7. GD (Goal difference)
  8. Pts (Number of points)

What does Pld / P / GP / MP mean in soccer?

Pld, P, GP or MP are all abbreviations that stand for matches played. In a football league, it is usually a double round-robin competition, where each team plays all other teams twice. These abbreviations will stand for the number of matches that each team has played.

The standard leagues usually have 20 teams in them. This includes:

  1. Premier League
  2. La Liga
  3. Serie A
  4. Ligue 1

Interestingly, the German Bundesliga only has 18 teams!

For a standard 20 league team, each team will face 19 other teams.

The leagues are double round-robin competitions. This means that each team will face the same opponent twice, both home and away.

As such, there is a maximum of 38 matches a team will play!

This is why matchday 38 is the final week for most competitions.

What is W D L in soccer?

W D L represents the number of wins, draws and losses the team has in the league so far. The sum of the numbers in the W D L columns will add up to the total number of matches played (MP) by the team in the league.

This helps you to see how the team has been performing in the league. If they have a higher number of wins, they will be doing much better in the league!

This is because winning a match will allow you to receive the highest amount of points!

What does GF and GA mean in football?

GF (or just F) stands for ‘Goals For’, which means the number of goals the team has scored across all matches played. GA (or just A) stands for ‘Goals Against’, which is the number of goals the team has conceded across all of their matches.

For every goal that the team scores, it will be added to their GF tally. The goals that they concede will go to their GA tally.

Every goal you score and concede will matter when calculating your team’s goal difference!

What does GD mean in soccer?

GD, or F/A stands for Goal Difference. It is the difference between the number of goals that you scored and the number of goals you concede. A positive goal difference means you scored more goals than conceded, and vice versa.

Goal difference is usually used as the second tiebreaker in a league table. This happens when 2 or more teams have the same number of points.

A team with the larger positive goal difference will rank higher in the league table.

However, the second tiebreaker for the La Liga is the 2 teams’ head-to-head record. In this case, the goal difference may not be so significant!

What does Pts mean in soccer?

Pts stand for the number of points that a team has been awarded based on the results of their matches. Teams are awarded 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss.

The total number of points is determined by the number of wins and draws the team has.

For example, Manchester City broke the Premier League record for the most number of points (100) in the 2017/18 season.

Here is their W D L record for the season:

Manchester City 201718 Premier League Google
Source: Google

They won 32 matches and drew 4 out of a possible 38. This gives them 100 points (32*3 + 4*1).

How do points work in soccer standings?

Teams are awarded points based on the result of each match: 3 for a win, 1 for a draw, and 0 for a loss. The total number of points a team has is based on the number of games they have won or drawn. The higher number of points they have, the higher the team will be in the league table.

What is the difference between soccer points and goals?

The number of goals scored by a soccer team determines the outcome of the match, where the winner of the match would have scored more goals than their opponent. Meanwhile, the number of points the team has is based on their performance in each match, where they will earn the most points for winning a match.

How do Premier League tables work?

The Premier League table ranks the 20 teams in the league based on the number of points that each team has. The more points the team has, the higher they are in the table. If two teams have the same number of points, goal difference is used as the second tiebreaker to determine which team should be higher in the table.

Let’s look at Leicester’s record in the league table during the 2015/16 season:

Leicester City 201516 Premier League Google
Source: Google

Let’s apply what we’ve learnt so far to read all the different abbreviations in the league table.

AbbreviationMeaningNumber
MPMatches Played38
WMatches Won23
DMatches Drawn12
LMatches Lost3
GFGoals For68
GAGoals Against36
GDGoal Difference32
PtsPoints81

As you can see, you can get most of the numbers from the match details. There are only 3 numbers which you’ll need to calculate:

  1. Matches Played
  2. Goal Difference
  3. Points

The number of matches played is the sum of the matches won, drawn and lost (23 + 12 + 3 = 38).

For goal difference, it is 32 (68 – 36). Meanwhile the points that Leicester had is 81 (23*3 + 12*1).

When you lose a match, you get 0 points!

Conclusion

A soccer league table can be really confusing if it’s the first time that you’re looking at it.

After a while, you should be able to understand what all of the numbers mean in the table!

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