After a last-day "houdini" act and the bonus of Middlesbrough having 3 points deducted kept Coventry up in the 1996-97 season, manager Gordon Strachan was determined to avoid another season of struggle. He achieved it, and an 11th-place finish was Coventry's highest in four seasons. However, even though they only suffered 10 defeats all season (the fourth least amount, after Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool), they staggeringly drew 16 games which ultimately prevented them from finishing any higher. Their secure finish was helped no end by the loyalty of striker Dion Dublin, who pledged his future to the club after turning down an offer from Blackburn Rovers. Right up to the final day of the season, the Sky Blues were within a shout of a UEFA Cup place, but they were beaten to it by local rivals Aston Villa. The two places above them were occupied by two other local rivals - Derby County and Leicester City.
Updated to games played on 10 May 1998. Source: Premier League Rules for classification:
1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored 1 Chelsea qualified for the Cup Winners' Cup as defending champions and were the League Cup winners. 2 As Arsenal qualified for the Champions League, their Cup Winners' Cup place as FA Cup winners defaulted to Newcastle United, the losing finalists. 3 Despite being relegated, Crystal Palace qualified for the 1998 Intertoto Cup. (C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (E) = Eliminated; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round. Only applicable when the season is not finished: (Q) = Qualified to the phase of tournament indicated; (TQ) = Qualified to tournament, but not yet to the particular phase indicated; (RQ) = Qualified to the relegation tournament indicated; (DQ) = Disqualified from tournament.