Top five title implosions in Premier League history
Written by: Waseem Zaidi
Just like this season, there have been intense title challenges in the English top-tier.
Due to the draw against West Ham United and City's victory over Everton on Wednesday, Jurgen Klopp's men suddenly find themselves on second position level on points with Manchester City. The pressure is clearly affecting the Merseyside club as they have now dropped seven points in their last five fixtures.
Due to the lack of title challenges in recent years, Liverpool find themselves in uncharted territory and the pressure to maintain top position has now started to take its effect. The present situation brings back old, rather distasteful memories for the Merseyside club of the 2013-2014 season, fearing history may repeat itself leading to another title debacle.
On that note, we take a look at the top-five title implosions in recent Premier League history:
5. Manchester United (1994-95)
The Premier League as we know today came into existence in the year 1992. The first couple of league campaigns saw Manchester United winning the title and were on course to make a hat-trick of league triumphs. However, they were undone on the final matchday by the dark horses of the season, Blackburn Rovers.
Led by Alan Shearer’s 34 goals, Blackburn won the league on the final matchday despite losing their fixture, 2-1, at Anfield to Liverpool. Thanks to West Ham United’s goalkeeper, Ludek Miklusko, Sir Alex Ferguson's men failed to score the winning goal which would have handed them the title. This was particularly impressive because United were the undisputed dominant force in English football in that era, who won eight league titles out of the first 11.
4. Newcastle United (1995-96)
The Magpies lost the title to United by four points
Kevin Keegan was Newcastle United’s manager in one of the most-successful league campaigns for the Magpies. They led eventual league winners Manchester United by 17 points with 15 games remaining.
Backed by a hefty financial investment by then owner, John Hall, Newcastle signed some incredible players like Les Ferdinand and David Ginola with the former contributing with 25 goals in the league campaign. Having led the league from August till March, Newcastle were favourites to go all the way. However, owing to away defeats at the hands of Arsenal, Liverpool and Blackburn combined with a home defeat to the Red Devils allowed Sir Alex’s men to take over the top spot and win the league title by four points in incredible fashion.
3. Arsenal (2007-08)
Arsene Wenger had Arsenal playing one of the most entertaining and attacking football in the league, coupled with players like Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas hitting their prime, the Gunners were favorites to end their three-year title wait.
However, things took a dark turn when their charismatic new signing, Eduardo, suffered a career-threatening leg break against Birmingham City and subsequent four draws on the spin completely dented Arsenal's title challenge. The following defeats later in the campaign at the hands of Chelsea and Manchester United pushed the Gunners down to third spot where they ended a disappointing trophyless season.
2. Manchester United (2011-2012)
It was a season where the rivalry between the two Manchester clubs took center stage
Sir Alex Ferguson’s men led the league with an eight points advantage after Manchester City slumped to two defeats and two draws in March of the 2011-2012 Premier League season.
It was a season where the rivalry between the two Manchester clubs took center stage. Both sides kept trading places on the pinnacle over the course of the season. In a tense finale, the league was decided on goal difference for the first time in Premier league history.
The turning point came when the Red Devils conceded their eight points advantage with a defeat to Wigan and a draw at Everton. Manchester City emerged victorious in the Manchester derby which brought them equal on points but owing to a superior goal difference, they gained the top position heading into the final matchday. Thanks to a late strike by Sergio Aguero, City defeated QPR in dramatic fashion and lifted their first Premier League title.
1. Liverpool (2013-14)
What a better way to end the piece on the note it was started on. The reason why Liverpool fans today are already fearing the worst is due to their debacle in the 2013-14 season. That campaign is less remembered for its winners but more for the second-place finishers.
Liverpool were playing by far the most entertaining football with Luis Suarez ripping up one defence after another, scoring 31 league goals, earning the honor of PFA Player of the Year. With three games remaining, Liverpool had a five-point lead.
However, the home fixture against Chelsea led to an incident that saw the title ‘slip’ from the hands of the Reds. The iconic slip from captain, Steven Gerrard, led to the opening goal and an eventual defeat at Anfield. Their title dream soon became a nightmare when Liverpool squandered a 3-0 lead at Crystal Palace to draw the game. This allowed Man City to take over the top spot and eventually win the championship by two points.
There we have it, history repeating itself is well on the cards here and the onus is on Jurgen Klopp to prove himself as a title-winning manager and steer his side to the ultimate glory.
Published: Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:28 AM IST