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Premier League Seasons that Ended with Last Day Drama

With the conclusion of the 2021/22 Premier League season, Manchester City have become champions of England once again, for the 4th time in only 5 years. The win has put Manchester City 5th in the list for the most English leagues won of all time, with 8. In the Premier League era, which started in 1992, they have six wins and are the second most successful club behind Manchester United’s 13 titles and ahead of Chelsea’s 5.

It is hard to not feel sorry for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool team, as now this is the second title race that they lost to City on the very last day of the campaign, though this is not completely rare in the Premier League.

There have been multiple occasions when the league champions were determined on the very last day of the season. In the Premier League era alone there have been many dramatic finishes, and here is a list of all of them in order.

1994/95 - Blackburn Rovers vs Manchester United

Just before the season started, Blackburn Rovers broke the English transfer record when they bought Norwich City Striker Chris Sutton for £5 million. The transfer was a successful one, with Sutton adding to Blackburn’s attack and putting them into a prime position mid-season. Manchester United then broke the transfer record on January 10th when they bought Andy Cole for £6 million. However, this step forwards was overshadowed 15 days later when Manchester United forward Eric Cantona karate kicked a Crystal Palace fan and received a 8 month ban from football. The campaign went down to the wire, and on the final day Blackburn Rovers had 89 points and Manchester United had 87 points. Blackburn played Liverpool away and lost 2-1 but United failed to capitalise, drawing in an away game against West Ham 1-1. Blackburn won their second English League title with 89 points to Manchester’s 88, breaking a massive 99 year title drought.

1995/96 - Manchester United vs Newcastle United

At the start of the season Liverpool and Aston Villa looked to be strong title contenders, but they were overtaken by Newcastle United and Manchester United. The two sides met in December, when Newcastle were 10 points ahead in the league. Manchester beat their northern rivals 2-0 to reduce the deficit to 7 points. When the two sides met again in March, Eric Cantona, who had already returned to football after his ban, scored to help Manchester win and go one point behind Newcastle. When the final day came, Manchester were two points ahead of Newcastle. Both teams had relatively tough matches, Newcastle had to host Tottenham Hotspurs and Manchester United had to play Middlesbrough. Tottenham held Newcastle to a draw, whilst Manchester United beat Middlesbrough 0-3, winning the Premier League by 82 points to Newcastle's 78.

1998/99 - Manchester United vs Arsenal

In 1997/98, Arsenal beat Manchester United to win the league one game ahead of the final day. Arsenal lost in the final match and Manchester United won, putting them 1 point below the leaders. The following year, the two teams both raced neck and neck for the Premier League title. The teams went into the final match with Manchester just a single point above Arsenal. Manchester United hosted Tottenham Hotspur whilst Arsenal hosted Aston Villa. Both teams won, meaning Manchester United stayed 1 point clear of Arsenal and won the league with 79 points to Arsenal's 78. Two more fun facts about this year was that Manchester United became the first and to date only English team to complete the treble, and also in the previous season, Arsenal had also finished with 78 points, beating United’s 77.

2007/08 - Manchester United vs Chelsea

Chelsea became a Premier League title contender when they hired manager Jose Mourinho in 2004. The Portuguese manager made many changes to the team and the way they played, and managed to win the Premier League in 2005 and 2006. United won the Premier League in 2006/07, but Chelsea chased them to the last games. The 2007/08 season started poorly for Chelsea, which led to Mourinho getting sacked by the club, and he was replaced by Avram Grant, an Israeli manager who had managed the national team but did not have any Premier League experience. However, Grant was successful, and Chelsea went into the final match day on level points with Manchester United.

United had the upper hand, as they had a far higher goal difference, and if the teams ended on equal points they would win the title. Manchester United played away at Wigan Athletic whilst Chelsea hosted Bolton Wanderers. Chelsea were held to a draw and Manchester United beat Wigan 0-2, to win their 17th English league title.

2009/10 - Chelsea vs Manchester United

In 2009/10, Chelsea had their revenge on Manchester United, who had also won in 2008/09. The team, now managed by legendary Italian head coach Carlo Ancelotti, went into the final match day one point ahead of Manchester United. The two sides had met twice during the season, and both times Chelsea won, and these proved vital at the end of the campaign. Manchester United played their last game at home against Stoke City and Chelsea played their last game against Wigan Athletic, just as Manchester United had two years prior. Manchester United did their part to win the title by beating Stoke 4-0, but their efforts did not pay off as Chelsea hammered Wigan 8-0, with top scorer Didier Drogba scoring a hat trick. They also set a record for the most goals in one season with 103, a record that stood until Manchester City scored 106 goals in the 2016/17 season.

2011/12 - Manchester City vs Manchester United

The 2011/12 season remains to date the only season when the league was decided on goal difference. Manchester City were in the early stages of their rise to the top of the Premier League, with owners who invested heavily in the team, and a great manager in Roberto Mancini. Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United, had dubbed City "the noisy neighbours" on account of all the hype and money that was thrown into the team, but City managed to beat United twice during the season. In the final match, the two teams were on equal points though City had a higher goal difference. United played away at Sunderland whilst Manchester City played at home to Queens Park Rangers. United took the lead against Sunderland, going to the top of the table, but City scored in the 39th minute to go ahead of United. QPR managed to score against City to draw the game and then one of City's players received a red card. In the 66th minute, QPR scored once again and United looked like the winners. The United team waited on the field in Sunderland for a possible trophy presentation, whilst the other match was given 4 minutes of extra time. City scored in the 92nd minute to draw level with QPR, and then in the 94th minute, striker Sergio Aguero scored a goal to clinch Manchester City's first Premier League title.

2013/14 - Manchester City vs Liverpool

This is the first of three heart-breaking Premier League campaigns for Liverpool fans. In 2013/14, Manchester City and Liverpool went into the final match separated by just two points. Both teams won their final games, so the final point tally was 86 for Manchester City and 84 for Liverpool, and even though there was a chance right at the end for Liverpool to win, the drama was intensified by the two games before the final match. Two games prior, Liverpool played Chelsea, and whilst Chelsea won the game 0-2, the match is famous because Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard slipped right as he was going to pick up a ball that fell behind the Liverpool defence. This allowed Chelsea's Demba Ba to pick the ball up and have a clear run at goal, which he used to score Chelsea's first goal. Liverpool at that point had 80 points to City's 77, and City capitalised on Liverpool's loss to go level on points. In the following game, Liverpool were held to a draw in Crystal Palace after they went up 0-3 and Palace scored 3 late goals to end the game 3-3. This led to Liverpool going into the final game 2 points behind City.

2018/19 and 2021/22- Manchester City vs Liverpool

These seasons are extremely similar because both teams dominated throughout both campaigns. In 2018/19, Manchester City finished with a whopping 98 points and Liverpool were just behind them with 97 points. Most recently, in 2021/22 Manchester City finished with 93 points to Liverpool's 92 points.

The Manchester City - Liverpool rivalry is now the biggest in the Premier League and the sheer standard to which both teams strive pushes the other, creating one of the most exciting eras in the Premier League.

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