The greatest title fights in Premier League history often involve Manchester City for some reason. Source: Manchester City Official Facebook / Facebook @mancity
The greatest title fights in Premier League history often involve Manchester City for some reason. Source: Manchester City Official Facebook / Facebook @mancity

The tightest title fights in Premier League history

Football OlyBet 11.05.2024

With two rounds to go in the English Premier League, it is still uncertain whether Manchester City or London Arsenal will be crowned champions. Currently, just one point separates the two giants, but that’s nothing new to the seasoned Premier League fan.

Because exactly that little has separated the first and second place in history as many as six times, and once a tiebreaker was needed to determine the champion! This article recalls the closest title fights in the Premier League.

Blackburn’s luck (1994/95)

With Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton taking care of attack duties, Blackburn still had a decent eight-point lead over Manchester United with six rounds to go before the end of the season. However, they managed to win only two of the following five games, which is why United were breathing down their necks before the last matchday.

The two giants were separated by just two points, which meant that a mistake in the last round could have been fatal for Blackburn. And then it happened: Blackburn lost 1-2 to Liverpool with Jamies Redknapp’s 90th-minute goal but could still raise their hands to the sky in victory.

Namely, West Ham United’s goalkeeper Luděk Mikloško had kept United’s attackers dry at Upton Park with his super saves: a 0:0 draw meant that Blackburn was crowned champions of England with a one-point win.

Wenger-Arsenal first (1997/98)

Although that title was not decided in the last round of the season, it was still a heated battle, where Arsène Wenger’s coached Arsenal struggled to catch Manchester United, who made headway in the first half of the season.

Although United still had an 11-point lead at the beginning of March, it melted with the spring snow, and thus Arsenal managed to secure the title with two rounds to go.

United’s treble (1998/99)

Although 1998/98 is known in hindsight as the treble-winning season in Manchester United’s history – Champions League, FA Championship, FA Cup – this stardom could easily have been absent.

Their heroic comeback to the Champions League final has been widely charted, but in the Premier League too, they secured the title by just one point.

If United lost to Tottenham Hotspur in the last round – and Arsenal beat Aston Villa – the title would have travelled to London. Les Ferdinand led Tottenham to the lead, but David Beckham and Andy Cole’s goals were the ones that still left Manchester with the victory and the championship.

Chelsea smashed it (2009/10)

Carlo Ancelotti is a man who leaves nothing to chance. He also proved this in the 2009/10 season, when he needed a victory against Wigan Atheltic in the last round to secure the title with Chelsea.

And then what happened? Chelsea’s men beat up poor Wigan, crushing them by as much as 8-0. The fact that Manchester United beat Stoke City 4-0 at the same time interested no one because the Blues were crowned champions!

City beat ‘almost-invincible’ Liverpool (2018/19)

You would think that if you lose just one match in a whole season, that would be enough to become a champion. However, this was not the case in the 2018/19 season, because it was this single, January defeat to Manchester City that proved fatal for Liverpool, who ultimately missed out on the title by a point.

Why? The light blues simply did not concede once in the last 14 rounds, which is why they sailed to the end with a minimal margin.

City’s amazing comeback (2021/22)

Liverpool and Manchester City were still at each other’s throats three years later when it all came down to the final round. This is largely “thanks” to City, who drew with West Ham United in the penultimate round, which is why only a point separated the two strong teams before the last matchday.

So, what happened in the last round? Liverpool was already behind in the 3rd minute against Wolverhampton Wanderers, but they managed to equalize in the 24th minute. In other words, the opening half ended 1:1.

However, City found themselves 0-1 down against Aston Villa after 45 minutes of play. And when, in the 69th minute, another ball was hit into the City net, the Reds’ fans allowed themselves to dream: all they needed was to score one against Wolves and the title would be theirs.

A quarter of an hour later a goal, or rather two, came, but by that time it didn’t matter. Because City had turned a 0:2 deficit into a 3:2 victory with the goals of İlkay Gündoğan (2) and Rodri and still grabbed the title.

City’s last-minute save (2011/12)

2011/12 is the only season in which the top two – Manchester City and Manchester United – finished on equal points in the Premier League. Therefore, a tiebreaker was needed to determine the champion, and since the goal difference favored City (+64 vs. United’s +56), Manchester was painted light blue.

However, not much was missing for everything to turn out differently. Although City and United had the same number of points before the last round, the light blues already knew that the goal difference would (probably) be in their favor. They just had to do their thing against Queens Park Rangers.

Pablo Zabaleta took the lead in the 39th minute, but everything changed in the second half. In the 48th minute, QPR equalized, and although they were ten down in the 55th minute, they managed to take the lead in the 66th minute.

City fans were left in agony as United were leading 1-0 against Sunderland at the same time. In that game, the score remained like this in the end, but when the final whistle sounded, it was not yet clear whether it was enough…

Because the extra minutes of the match between City and QPR were still going on. When the first one ticked over, the virtual champion was still United, but in the second extra minute, City managed to equalize thanks to Edin Džeko.

The 2-2 scoreline still meant that United would be crowned champions.

The third minute of extra time was over and United fans were chewing their hats.

And then it happened: Sergio Agüero got the ball in the box and…

… sent it into the net to secure a 3-2 win for City and the English Championship!

What will happen this year?

Finally, briefly about the final decision of this year’s Premier League. Arsenal currently leads the league with a combined 83 points, but City are just a point behind them with one fewer game played. Purely theoretically, Liverpool (78) also has a chance for the title, but we will not include them in this formula.

Arsenal still has a visit to Manchester United (8th place) and a home game against Everton (15th place) ahead of them. City still face Fulham (13th) and Tottenham Hotspur (6th) before ending the season at home to West Ham United (9th).

The results of these games will determine whether the Premier League stays light blue or turns red. The truth will be revealed on May 19 at 20:00 at the latest.


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