In Focus: Five classic Premier League title deciders

Matthew Storey
LiveScore
Steve Bruce and Eric Cantona celebrate after Manchester United’s vital victory at Newcastle late in the 1995-96 season
Steve Bruce and Eric Cantona celebrate after Manchester United’s vital victory at Newcastle late in the 1995-96 season

Liverpool’s trip to Manchester City is shaping up to be a classic Premier League title decider.

Just one point separates the top two as the Reds look to chase City down, with seven games remaining after Sunday’s clash.

We have looked back at five other classic encounters between two sides gunning to win the English top flight.

1995-96: Newcastle 0-1 Manchester United

Kevin Keegan’s great entertainers welcomed Manchester United to St James’ Park knowing victory would go a long way to securing the league title.

They were four points ahead of the Red Devils, had not lost a game at home all season and had a game in hand on their nearest rivals.

But after Peter Schmeichel produced a classic display to keep them out in the first half, Eric Cantona netted the winner in the second.

It moved United within one point of the Magpies and they would go on to lift their third title in four seasons by four points.

That only came after Keegan’s famous "I will love it" rant as he succumbed to some classic Alex Ferguson mind games. 

1997-98: Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal

Marc Overmars scored the only goal of the game as Arsenal won at Old Trafford
Marc Overmars scored the only goal of the game as Arsenal won at Old Trafford

Arsenal went into this March clash at Old Trafford nine points behind Manchester United, albeit with three games in hand.

Marc Overmars' winner was enough for the Gunners who dominated proceedings and deserved all three points.

"If they win their games in hand they will go ahead of us, but they will find out they start dropping points towards the end of the season, there's no question about that," Alex Ferguson said.

But the Scot was proven wrong as Arsene Wenger's side won the next eight games to secure their first title under the Frenchman.

It was the start of a classic rivalry between the two clubs as over a seven-year period the Gunners won the league three times compared to United's four.

2007-08: Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United 

The fixture list threw up a tantalising meeting in April 2008, as top of the table Manchester United visited Chelsea in the third-last game of the season.

Just three points separated the two sides, though United did have a far superior goal difference.

Michael Ballack's first-half header was cancelled out by Wayne Rooney, before controversy struck with four minutes remaining.

The assistant referee adjudged Michael Carrick to have stopped a cross with his arm and Ballack stepped up to give the Blues all three points.

Despite the defeat, United recovered to win the final two games of the season and ended up two points clear of Chelsea, who could only draw against Bolton on the final day.

2009-10: Manchester United 1-2 Chelsea

Chelsea celebrate after Didier Drogba's goal earned a huge 2-1 win at Manchester United
Chelsea celebrate after Didier Drogba's goal earned a huge 2-1 win at Manchester United

Chelsea visited Old Trafford in April 2010 one point behind leaders Manchester United in a tight battle for the league.

Joe Cole gave the visitors a 20th-minute lead as injured United talisman Rooney was forced to watch from the stands.

They doubled that lead with 11 minutes left in controversial fashion, when a clearly offside Didier Drogba found the back of the net.

Federico Macheda’s response shortly after set up a grandstand finish but the Red Devils could not force an equaliser.

Despite defeat to Tottenham two weeks later opening the door for a potential United recovery, Chelsea won the league on the final day with an 8-0 thrashing of Wigan.

2011-2012: Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United 

Manchester United were three points ahead of neighbours Manchester City as the two sides met at the Etihad, just three games before the end of the season.

A draw would have suited Ferguson’s men but Vincent Kompany’s thumping header on the stroke of half-time proved enough for City.

It moved them level on points with United but crucially ahead of them on goal difference.

And it was the precursor for the most famous final day of them all, when Sergio Aguero’s 94th-minute winner against QPR saw City pip United to seal their first Premier League crown.

Tags

Premier LeagueArsenalManchester UnitedChelseaManchester CityNewcastle United
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