Will the champion be determined in the last round?

Will the champion be determined in the last round?

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19 May 2022
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Nick
Champion

two years (the Premier League didn’t know much intrigue until mid-May, when matches in the top echelon of English football were usually coming to an end (except for a delayed year due to the pandemic, but then, as we all remember, intrigue didn’t exist at all). And now, after two unconditional championships – first Liverpool, and then City – we are again waiting for an interesting end to the season. The Premier League title will be decided on the final day of the tournament for the ninth time since 1992 – this time Manchester City and Liverpool are in a fierce title battle until the very end. Let’s look at all these cases, but first, as bitter as it is for Liverpool fans to hear, let me remind you that in the era of the Premier League, no team that was in second place at the beginning of the last day finished it as champions. The last team to accomplish such a feat was Arsenal in 1988/89, when they famously (and another disappointment for Liverpool) beat leaders Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield to win the title by extra indicator (goals scored). Championship-leading Blackburn went to Anfield with a two-point lead over Manchester United, who were pushing hard in terms of scoring in the second half of the season. A win on the final day would have secured the title for the Rovers, and when Alan Shearer gave them the lead, everything seemed to be decided by the leaders. However, Liverpool turned the tide and Jamie Redknapp’s 90th-minute winner meant Manchester United needed an away goal against West Ham to reclaim the title. Despite a shower of shots, goalkeeper Ludek Miklosko’s heroic performance saw United draw 1-1 and Blackburn win the title by one point.

1995/96 Manchester United or Newcastle

Newcastle may have squandered a 12-point lead over Manchester United at the top of the league table during the second half of that season, but were surprisingly still confident of winning the trophy on the final day of the season. They needed a win and also a loss for Sir Alex Ferguson’s team, but that faint hope quickly faded when David May opened the scoring for United early in the match against Middlesbrough. Andy Cole and Ryan Giggs put their cherries on the cake, and Newcastle could only draw, thus returning the title to Manchester.

1998/99 Manchester United or Arsenal

Manchester United’s most famous season. The treble season was just great, but the first part of it – the Premier League title – was decided in the last round. Arsenal were the defending champions and the rivalry between Wenger and Ferguson reached its peak in an era when the two teams were the best in English football. Arsenal needed to outperform United and with Tottenham taking the lead at Old Trafford it looked as if the Londoners would be able to retain their title. However, David Beckham equalized before Andy Cole scored the goal that gave the Red Devils the title and set them on track for that famous treble.

2007/08 Manchester United or Chelsea

Technically that match still counts, but Chelsea were three points behind United by a much narrower goal difference, so it was pretty much decided. United beat Wigan on the road, while Avram Grant’s Chelsea (!) managed to score only one point against Bolton. It hardly needs to be mentioned, but Fergie won the title again.

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