Pipped at the post! Spurs and Liverpool would have reached Champions League had shots against woodwork gone in

We all know that in your typical football match fine margins can be the difference between three points and defeat, but over the season it can mean much more.

In this year’s Premier League for instance, a matter of inches would have changed the whole complexion of the Champions League spots as well as the relegation battle.

Close, but not close enough: The woodwork denied Luis Suarez's Liverpool a Champions League place
White Hart Pain: The woodwork denied Gareth Bale's Tottenham a Champions League place

Not close enough: The woodwork denied Liverpool and Tottenham a Champions League place

Source: Opta

Source: Opta

The 2012/13 Premier League table as it finished

The 2012/13 Premier League table as it finished

Instead of missing out on the top four on the final day of the season, Tottenham would have scraped an automatic Champions League spot next season – based on statistics produced by Opta showing what the table would have looked like had every shot that hit the woodwork gone in.

London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea would have missed out altogether with Liverpool snatching fourth, a point behind Spurs and a point ahead of the Gunners.

Rafael Benitez’s Blues would have only matched last season’s disappointing sixth spot.

But while the woodwork worked against Andre Villas-Boas and Brendan Rodgers, it came to the aid of Newcastle who would have been relegated had the frame of the goal not come to their aid this term.

Alan Pardew’s side would have finished a point behind Aston Villa and two points behind FA Cup winners following another great escape from the Latics.

Reading and QPR still go down well adrift of the Toon in the table, and while Manchester United still beat rivals Manchester City to the title by a comfortable margin, Sir Alex Ferguson’s team would have scored 110 goals – seven more than the record set by Chelsea in 2010.