What do the most historic Premier League battles tell us about Man City and Liverpool?

As the end of the 2018/2019 season bears down on us, we’re getting one of the most intense and exciting title races of recent years. As of the start of April there are just two points between Liverpool and Man City. Liverpool have the lead, but with Man City’s seven fixtures left to play to Liverpool’s six it’s all still on the table.

A league victory would end a three decade long dry spell for Liverpool, and give manager Jurgen Klopp the trophy he needs to really cement his place with the Anfield club.
City, however, have last season’s premiership win to fuel them and have shown themselves to be a record breaking team.

If the history of the Premier League is anything to go by (and let’s just go ahead and say that it is!) then we’re going to see some hugely entertaining football over the next few weeks. Here are some of the greatest title races from the history of the Premier League.

Blackburn Rovers vs Manchester United – 1994/95

Arguably the most memorable moment of the 1994/95 season was Eric Cantona’s spectacular flying kick into the crowd at Selhurst Park, a move that earned him eight months in jail. Let us not forget, however, that it was a season that gave us a belting race for the premiership silverware between Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers.

It was a blockbuster season for Blackburn, with manager Kenny Dalglish’s powerhouse duo of Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton helping them keep the edge over Man Utd for most of the season.

Despite spending most of the season one step behind, United could have snatched a last minute League victory if they had won their final match against West Ham, but they were held to a 1-1 draw and Rovers walked away with the trophy.

Newcastle United vs Manchester United – 1995/96

By the middle of the 1995/96 season it wasn’t at all clear that football fans were in the middle of a battle royale for the title.

Manager Kevin Keegan was holding crowds’ attention with a team that had been dubbed ‘The Entertainers’ thanks to their dashing form. The Magpies looked to be running away with the season by the halfway mark, thanks to a 12 point lead. At that point a betting fan would have put their money on Newcastle and resigned themselves to low odds.

 It all started to fall apart in the New Year, though. Man Utd got into their groove and started out on a 12 match unbroken victory run while Newcastle started to lose games with alarming regularity. By the time the Red Devils beat Newcastle in the North-East just one point separated them. Flash forward several matches and one infamous on-screen rant and it was all over for Newcastle, with Man Utd having taken the league by four points.

Manchester United vs Arsenal – 2002/03

By March of the 2002/03 season it looked like Arsenal had the league firmly in the bag. They had an eight point league and the chances that their closest competition could come back looked slim. A recurring theme, however, seems to be that the moment a team looks like they’re safe is the exact moment they should be most worried.

The Gunners suffered defeats at the boots of Leeds United and Blackburn Rovers, also losing points to Man United, Bolton and Aston Villa. United, meanwhile, were busy picking up points and a blistering run of nine victories in 10 games saw them win the season by five points.

Manchester City vs Manchester United – 2011/12

Our most recent title race really shows us a Man City on the edge. United were leading the way right through to October, before Man City took the top spot and held it into March. They managed to lose it and drop a painful eight points behind with six matches to go, but United started to wobble and a loss to City saw them drop to second on goal difference.

It all came down to City’s last match, when they barely snatched a victory from Queens Park Rangers in the final minutes of the game and had the first ever Premier League victory based on goal difference.

If there’s a lesson to be drawn from these historic Premier League battles, it’s that with six games to go it’s still possible for anything to happen. Man City, in particular, can’t be written off until the silverware is sat in someone’s clubhouse.

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