The best Premier League title races of all time

The best Premier League title races of all time

In more recent editions of the Premier League, exciting title races that go right down to the wire have been rather scarce. In fact, since Chelsea’s triumph in the 2014-15 season, when the Blues finished eight points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table, we have only really had one close-run encounter — which we’ll get to later.

It’s a stark contrast to how England’s top flight used to pan out, with title races a regular occurrence during the dominant era of Manchester United under the great Sir Alex Ferguson. It was certainly a fierier time, with the likes of the Scot, Rafael Benítez, José Mourinho and Arsène Wenger all forming some fantastic rivalries.

For whatever reason, the winning team mostly seems to walk the Premier League in more modern times though — with Man City winning the title by 12-point and 19-point margins in the last few years, while Liverpool pulled 18 clear of Pep Guardiola’s men in 2019-20.

It looks like we have a title race on our hands this year though, with Liverpool and Man City once again neck-and-neck as we enter the business end of the season. So, with it all still play for, let’s take a look back at some of best Premier League title races of all time. Read on to find out more!

1995-96: Manchester United vs Newcastle United

There are several rants synonymous with the Premier League, like Benítez spitting ‘facts’, but Kevin Kegan going on a tangent and screaming ‘I will love if we beat them’, has got to be the best.

Newcastle United had a 12-point lead over Manchester United with 15 games of the 1995-96 season left to play. But in typical fashion, Ferguson got into Keegan’s head and the Geordies crumbled.

A poor run for the Magpies, which included five defeats in eight games, meant the Red Devils overtook Newcastle at the top of the table and went into the final game with a two-point lead — beating Middlesborough 3-0 to secure champion status as Newcastle could only pick up a point against Tottenham Hotspur.

2018-19: Manchester City vs Liverpool

We’ve already talked about how teams just seem to pull away with considerable ease these days, and that was the case in 2018-19. However, instead of one side easing clear, it was two — with neither City or Liverpool taking their foot of the gas as they streaked clear of the rest of the pack and battled it out for supremacy in the SkyBet football betting markets.

Both teams deserved to be crowned champions, with Liverpool impressively losing just one game all season. But it was Guardiola’s men who lifted the title. In the end, the Reds’ one defeat of the campaign proved costly, with City winning at the Etihad to cut Liverpool’s lead to four points and swing momentum in their favour.

In hindsight, City just had more luck on their side. John Stones’ goal-line clearance and Vincent Kompany’s wonder strike will go down in Premier League folklore. Liverpool’s points tally of 97, just one less than City’s, is the third highest in the division’s history. If it’s any consolation, they did win a sixth Champions League.  

1994-95: Blackburn Rovers vs Manchester United

Funnily enough, the 1994-95 campaign, the season before Manchester United pipped Newcastle to the title at the death, also went right down to the final game of the season — only this time it was the Red Devils and Ferguson who came up just short.

Spearheaded by Alan Shearer, who ended the season with an impressive 34 goals, Blackburn Rovers had set the pace for much of the campaign. However, there was just two points between them and Man United as they entered the final round of the season and it was all to play for as Blackburn faced Liverpool at Anfield and the Red Devils went to West Ham United.

Given the rivalry between Man United and Liverpool, Kenny Dalglish’s side were expected to lie down against Blackburn. But they threw a spanner in the works, winning 2-1. In a strange turn of events, Man United failed to win as well — drawing 1-1 at Upton Park, which wasn’t enough to turn the title race in their favour as Blackburn clinched their only Premier League title

2011-12: Manchester City vs Manchester United

Of course, you can’t talk about the best titles races without recalling the surreal events on the final day of the 2011-12 season. City started the season better than their Manchester rivals, thrashing United 6-1 at Old Trafford to gain ascendency by five points and prove they were more than just noisy neighbours.

However poor form later in the season resulted in City falling eight points behind Ferguson’s side with just six games left to play. But it was United’s turn to have a bad run, losing and drawing to allow their rivals back into it and a derby win at the Etihad for the hosts meant City were back in it.

Level on points going into the final game, all City needed to do was match United’s result due to superior goal difference — and up against Queens Park Rangers, it should have been plain-sailing. But the London side, who were down to 10-men, took a shock lead and with United’s game with Sunderland ending in a win, it looked like they’d done enough.

However, Edin Džeko pulled City level in the 91st minute and Sergio Agüero bagged the winner three minutes later — stealing the title from United’s grasps after they’d already started celebration at the Stadium of Light. In the famed words of Martin Tyler; ‘you’ll never see anything like this ever again.’

Why not sign up to our weekly newsletter to be sent our top trending articles and latest news?

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.