Arsenal

Manchester United outside top five, Arsenal dominate ranking of ways to win title from worst to best

Manchester United and, with one obvious exception, Manchester City are awful at winning the Premier League title interestingly. Arsenal know how to do it.

What follows is a ranking of the game which secured the Premier League title for each champion. These are not judgements of the season or the team as a whole, but of how they were officially crowned.

Man City fans see the jeopardy, feel the fear and should not be told what supporting their club is like. But equally, the 2020/21 season was entirely bereft of any peril or drama from January onwards.

A 15-game winning streak ended a behind-closed-doors title race as a contest, but having the trophy secured by a rotated Manchester United losing to Leicester three days after Frank Lampard refused to be a championship footnote was fitting uninspired.

The coronation of the previous champions was only marginally better on the basis that Liverpool did not waste an opportunity to win it themselves. Jurgen Klopp’s side hammered Crystal Palace on June 24 to leave Manchester City with no room to manoeuvre against Chelsea the following day. The Blues sealed another title for someone else with a 2-1 win. It was also in front of no fans. It meant less

29) Manchester City 2017/18
The deciding game: Manchester United 0-1 West Brom

The most dominant championship win in terms of the points gap to runners-up was rather undermined by the fact Jay Rodriguez was responsible for the crowning moment. His goal at Old Trafford in April 2018 helped West Brom beat Manchester United and give Pep Guardiola his first Premier League trophy. Manchester City had their chance when 2-0 up at home to the neighbours the previous week but then Paul Pogba and Chris Smalling happened.

 

28) Manchester City 2022/23
The deciding game: Nottingham Forest 1-0 Arsenal

They definitely used up all their title drama in 2012, because Manchester City have a proud history of their moment of glorious title conception being the dampest of squibs. Pep and his boys were yet again not actually involved in their latest crowning, instead watching from afar as Arsenal continued to not bottle it.

27) Manchester United 2000/01
The deciding game: Arsenal 0-3 Middlesbrough

As fun as the schadenfreude must have been in watching Edu and Sylvinho both score own goals in a cataclysmic four-minute first-half spell, Arsenal collapsing at home to Middlesbrough was a bit of an anti-climax for Manchester United in 2001. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side beat Coventry in the day’s early kick-off but it was the ineptitude of their closest – and very much still distant – challengers that sealed it hours later.

 

26) Manchester United 1993/94
The deciding game: Coventry 2-1 Blackburn

Julian Darby scored five goals in a 55-game Premier League career. His two strikes in a December 1993 defeat to West Ham, as well as a consolation during a February 1994 loss to Swindon, paled in comparison in terms of importance to his brace against Blackburn in May 1994. Manchester United had beaten Ipswich the previous day and finally saw Kenny Dalglish’s spirited resistance broken in Rovers’ penultimate fixture.

laboured to a draw against Arsenal the next day.

 

24) Manchester United 2002/03
The deciding game: Arsenal 2-3 Leeds

Manchester United once more did not have a hand in the decisive match but at least there was some late drama involved. Arsenal went into their final three fixtures having played two games fewer than Manchester United, who were eight points ahead. The Gunners had to be flawless and hope for the leaders to slip against Everton at Goodison Park on the final day. But Arsenal failed in their first objective, twice equalising at home to relegation-battling Leeds before succumbing to Mark Viduka’s 88th-minute winner. That was the last Premier League defeat they would suffer for almost 18 months.

23) Manchester United 1992/93
The deciding game: Aston Villa 0-1 Oldham

The name of Nick Henry might mean absolutely nothing to the average Manchester United fan but the former Oldham midfielder and 2000 League Cup finalist with Tranmere is intrinsically linked to the club. It was his long-range shot in the 1990 FA Cup semi-final replay that seemingly bounced over the line off the bar but was not given, offering Ferguson a reprieve amid reports he would be sacked if he oversaw another trophyless season. Then three years later it was Henry who struck against Aston Villa to end their wilting title challenge and crown Manchester United, who would continue a seven-game winning run against Blackburn the following raucous day, as inaugural Premier League champions.

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Manchester United outside top five, Arsenal dominate ranking of ways to win title from worst to best
Matt Stead 17 hours ago

Arsenal and Manchester United players celebrate
Arsenal and Manchester United have celebrated a fair few Premier League titles
Manchester United and, with one obvious exception, Manchester City are awful at winning the Premier League title interestingly. Arsenal know how to do it.

What follows is a ranking of the game which secured the Premier League title for each champion. These are not judgements of the season or the team as a whole, but of how they were officially crowned.

 

 

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Moyes: Everyone will be happier when…
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31) Manchester City 2020/21
The deciding game: Manchester United 1-2 Leicester

Man City fans see the jeopardy, feel the fear and should not be told what supporting their club is like. But equally, the 2020/21 season was entirely bereft of any peril or drama from January onwards.

A 15-game winning streak ended a behind-closed-doors title race as a contest, but having the trophy secured by a rotated Manchester United losing to Leicester three days after Frank Lampard refused to be a championship footnote was fitting uninspired.

 

30) Liverpool 2019/20
The deciding game: Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City

The coronation of the previous champions was only marginally better on the basis that Liverpool did not waste an opportunity to win it themselves. Jurgen Klopp’s side hammered Crystal Palace on June 24 to leave Manchester City with no room to manoeuvre against Chelsea the following day. The Blues sealed another title for someone else with a 2-1 win. It was also in front of no fans. It meant less.

29) Manchester City 2017/18
The deciding game: Manchester United 0-1 West Brom

The most dominant championship win in terms of the points gap to runners-up was rather undermined by the fact Jay Rodriguez was responsible for the crowning moment. His goal at Old Trafford in April 2018 helped West Brom beat Manchester United and give Pep Guardiola his first Premier League trophy. Manchester City had their chance when 2-0 up at home to the neighbours the previous week but then Paul Pogba and Chris Smalling happened.

 

28) Manchester City 2022/23
The deciding game: Nottingham Forest 1-0 Arsenal

They definitely used up all their title drama in 2012, because Manchester City have a proud history of their moment of glorious title conception being the dampest of squibs. Pep and his boys were yet again not actually involved in their latest crowning, instead watching from afar as Arsenal continued to not bottle it.

27) Manchester United 2000/01
The deciding game: Arsenal 0-3 Middlesbrough

As fun as the schadenfreude must have been in watching Edu and Sylvinho both score own goals in a cataclysmic four-minute first-half spell, Arsenal collapsing at home to Middlesbrough was a bit of an anti-climax for Manchester United in 2001. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side beat Coventry in the day’s early kick-off but it was the ineptitude of their closest – and very much still distant – challengers that sealed it hours later.

 

26) Manchester United 1993/94
The deciding game: Coventry 2-1 Blackburn

Julian Darby scored five goals in a 55-game Premier League career. His two strikes in a December 1993 defeat to West Ham, as well as a consolation during a February 1994 loss to Swindon, paled in comparison in terms of importance to his brace against Blackburn in May 1994. Manchester United had beaten Ipswich the previous day and finally saw Kenny Dalglish’s spirited resistance broken in Rovers’ penultimate fixture.

25) Manchester United 2006/07
The deciding game: Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea

“I used to have an obsession of winning in Europe but the Premiership has become a priority,” said Ferguson in celebration of his first such title since 2003. But again it was not them who dealt the final blow; they at least beat Manchester City on May 6 before Chelsea laboured to a draw against Arsenal the next day.

 

24) Manchester United 2002/03
The deciding game: Arsenal 2-3 Leeds

Manchester United once more did not have a hand in the decisive match but at least there was some late drama involved. Arsenal went into their final three fixtures having played two games fewer than Manchester United, who were eight points ahead. The Gunners had to be flawless and hope for the leaders to slip against Everton at Goodison Park on the final day. But Arsenal failed in their first objective, twice equalising at home to relegation-battling Leeds before succumbing to Mark Viduka’s 88th-minute winner. That was the last Premier League defeat they would suffer for almost 18 months.

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23) Manchester United 1992/93
The deciding game: Aston Villa 0-1 Oldham

The name of Nick Henry might mean absolutely nothing to the average Manchester United fan but the former Oldham midfielder and 2000 League Cup finalist with Tranmere is intrinsically linked to the club. It was his long-range shot in the 1990 FA Cup semi-final replay that seemingly bounced over the line off the bar but was not given, offering Ferguson a reprieve amid reports he would be sacked if he oversaw another trophyless season. Then three years later it was Henry who struck against Aston Villa to end their wilting title challenge and crown Manchester United, who would continue a seven-game winning run against Blackburn the following raucous day, as inaugural Premier League champions.

22) Chelsea 2014/15
The deciding game: Chelsea 1-0 Crystal Palace

At least they sealed the deal themselves but there was something ultimately soulless about Chelsea winning their first title in five years courtesy of an Eden Hazard penalty rebound just before half-time against Alan Pardew’s happily beach-bound Crystal Palace with three games left. The last touch before the final whistle was a Branislav Ivanovic header trickling out for a throw-in and that was beautifully appropriate.

 

21) Manchester United 2010/11
The deciding game: Blackburn 1-1 Manchester United

It happened to be an incredibly uninspiring script that Brett Emerton neglected to read in May 2011, opening the scoring at Ewood Park in the 20th minute to give Chelsea a morsel of title hope. Wayne Rooney equalised with a penalty in the 73rd minute to earn Manchester United the solitary point they required.

) Manchester United 2008/09
The deciding game: Manchester United 0-0 Arsenal

“Our ambition was to win the game. United were very cautious, and we did not find an opening,” was the post-match assessment from Arsene Wenger after Arsenal ensured their hosts were made to work for their record-equalling 18th title. Ferguson called it “the longest 90 minutes in history” after watching 11 men defend behind the ball for the final ten minutes or so as Cesc Fabregas hit a post and Robin van Persie tested Edwin van der Sar. But the result was the most important thing with a second successive Champions League final on the horizon.

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