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Premier League: Teams that bottled the title

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Alex Ferguson bottled the 2011/2012 season.
Alex Ferguson bottled the 2011/2012 season. |PHOTO: Getty Images|
  • The pressure is mounting on the Premier League leaders, as Arsenal’s lead at the top of the Premier League standings has been reduced after three straight draws.
  • We look at the teams that bottled the Premier League title after making great strides.

The pressure is mounting on the Premier League leaders, as Arsenal’s lead at the top of the Premier League standings has been reduced after three straight draws.

We look at the teams that bottled the Premier League title after making great strides.

Norwich City – 1992/93

Norwich in the 1992/93 season.

Norwich’s squad in the 1992/93 season. |PHOTO: Belfast Telegraph|

Norwich City defied the odds by putting together an unexpected effort for the title after starting the season as one of the favourites to go down.

The previous season, Norwich finished 18th in the Premier League. However, Mike Walker’s team began the new campaign with a 4-2 victory at Arsenal, propelling them to the top of the division. The Canaries were eight points ahead of their closest rivals as Christmas neared, but a loss at Manchester United in early December signalled a decline in performance.

The decline of Norwich, who finished the season third and far behind the champions, started after six games without a victory. Manchester United won its first championship in 26 years thanks to the arrival of Eric Cantona from Leeds, who completely changed the Red Devils’ season.

United went on to begin a period of dominance over the first two decades of the Premier League, whereas Norwich were relegated after only two seasons.

Arsenal – 2002/03

With the Gunners leading the Premier League by eight points in March and having won the domestic double under Arsene Wenger for the second consecutive year, Arsenal appeared to be in a strong position to defend its title that season.

Their ascent had been sparked by Thierry Henry’s brilliance but the north Londoners stumbled in the closing stages, allowing Manchester United to regain the lead.

Their lead was reduced during a stretch of two victories in seven games in the spring, and their title ambitions were doomed by a 3-2 loss to relegation-threatened Leeds at home.

United then went on a run of eight wins in their remaining nine matches to reclaim the title.

Manchester United – 2011/12

Manchester United bottled league.

Manchester United bottled league. |PHOTO: Getty Images|

The drama of the final weekend, when Manchester City stole the title in the last seconds of the season, has largely obscured Manchester United‘s bottling over the 2011–12 season.

With only six games remaining, United had pulled eight points ahead of their cross-town rivals and were certain to win a fifth championship in as many seasons. The team led by Sir Alex Ferguson had been nearly unbeatable since a humiliating 6-1 loss to City at Old Trafford in the autumn, but their title aspirations started to fade on the home stretch.

Vicente Kompany’s thrilling derby winner gave the blue half of Manchester the lead with two games remaining after defeat to Wigan and a tumultuous 4-4 draw with Everton allowed City to reenter the race.

When United won against Sunderland the last weekend and with City trailing Queens Park Rangers in stoppage time, they believed they had rescued the title.

City secured an incredible comeback victory to win the Premier League title for the first time with two goals in the last seconds.

Liverpool – 2018/19

Liverpool's squad in the 18/19 season.

Liverpool’s squad in the 18/19 season. |PHOTO: Football365|

In the 2018–19 season, Liverpool came agonizingly close to winning the league for the first time in nearly three decades, but Manchester City just edged the Reds out by one point.

Following a 20-game winning streak to begin the year, Jurgen Klopp’s team defeated Arsenal 5-1 in December to extend their lead atop the table to nine points.

Before the clubs’ match at the Etihad, which was crucial in determining the title winner, City cut that deficit to seven points. Leroy Sane’s goal narrowed the distance, and Liverpool’s title prospects were damaged by losses to Leicester, West Ham, Manchester United, and Everton over the last eight games.

Both teams had impressive victory streaks towards the season’s end. Liverpool has won each of their last nine matches, but Pep Guardiola’s club has kept their composure with 13 straight victories.

With just one loss all season, Klopp’s team finished second with 97 points.

Manchester United – 1997/98

During the 1997–98 season, Arsene Wenger guided Arsenal to their first Premier League championship and a domestic double.

After a difficult winter that put them behind Manchester United, the Gunners seemed to be out of the picture at Christmas. But after losing to Blackburn at home, Arsenal went 18 games without losing, earning 45 out of a possible 51 points to win the title.

At Old Trafford, a goal by Marc Overmars gave the Gunners a 1-0 victory against their championship rivals, capping a stretch of eight games during which they had not given up a goal.

Wenger led Arsenal to their first Premier League title since 1991 after a run of ten straight victories, making him the first non-British manager to do so.

I am an ardent sports enthusiast interested in writing about football, motorsport and athletics.

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