Although football remains in lockdown at a time when titles are traditionally sealed, we take a look at five of the greatest ever Premier League title victories from Blackburn to Leicester to that “Aguerooo….” moment.
Over the past 28 seasons, we have seen six different teams crowned champions with some title clinchers proving more dramatic than others, whilst others were secured from comfort of their own homes.
We therefore round up three of the greatest ever title victories seen in Premier League history, beginning with one of the unlikely title winners.
Blackburn Rovers (1994-95)
When the Premier League era began in Summer 1992, Manchester United waltzed away with the first two titles before a dramatic 1994-95 season saw Blackburn produce a shock title win.
Under the reins of Liverpool legend, Kenny Dalglish, Blackburn found themselves locked in a titanic tussle against Manchester United but led the Red Devils going into the final day by two points, knowing that a win would guarantee them the title as they visited Liverpool at Anfield.
A draw or less wouldn’t of been enough given Utd’s superior goal difference unless the latter slipped up at West Ham, whilst Liverpool themselves needed a win to qualify for the UEFA Cup amidst their fans’ desire to deny arch rivals, Utd a third consecutive title.
Blackburn made the perfect start when Alan Shearer put them ahead after 20 minutes, which was boosted further when Utd fell behind at West Ham just 11 minutes later to put Rovers on brink of the title at half-time.
Utd however came back out and found a 53rd minute equaliser at Upton Park through Brian McClair, piling the pressure back on Blackburn who conceded 11 minutes later as John Barnes slotted in a cross to put Liverpool back into the match.
Both games therefore were locked at 1-1 entering injury time when Jamie Redknapp whipped in a classic free-kick to clinch Liverpool victory, although Blackburn were champions as Utd failed to find a late winner at West Ham to snatch the title.
Although this was before my time, it surely has to rate as one of the greatest title victories purely because Blackburn were underdogs despite having a top manager in Dalglish yet achieved the unthinkable despite losing their final game.
Throw in the element of Rovers’ final day opponents being the arch rival of their title opposition too, and there is little doubt how huge this victory is despite West Ham’s hand in deciding the destination of the title.
Manchester City (2011-12)
If want a memorable title battle between two teams from the same city then it is hard to look past Manchester, as United and City locked horns throughout 2011-12 season right up until the final whistle.
Having snatched victory in the Manchester Derby in week 36 to go top, City then defeated Newcastle to put themselves in pole position heading into the final day in knowledge that victory or matching Utd’s result would give them the title.
Man Utd however looked set to snatch what would of been a then 13th title after Wayne Rooney’s 20th minute goal was enough to defeat Sunderland, whilst Man City found themselves caught up in a dramatic final game of season.
Pablo Zabaleta struck shortly before half-time to put City on course for the title but early second-half goals from Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie put relegation battling QPR ahead and the title into Utd’s hands entering injury time.
City however dug deep inside five minutes of injury time in front of tense home crowd, as Edin Dzeko equalised with a 92nd minute header to offer hope for the mother of all final day comebacks.
Sergio Aguero then produced that famous “Aguerooooooo” moment when he picked up a pass from Mario Balotelli inside the box, calmly smashing it in past Paddy Kenny to send the Etihad wild with celebrations as City secured their first Premier League title at the death.
It is also worth remembering that QPR entered injury time looking set to confirm their survival at expense of City’s title dreams, but Bolton could only draw 2-2 at Stoke which meant that both City and QPR had achieved their pre-match targets come full-time.
This title victory therefore is up with the best because injury-time wasn’t for the faint hearted, given what was at stake for both teams because it could of easily been heartache for both teams yet it ended in celebrations at both ends of the Etihad.
Leicester City (2015-16)Embed from Getty Images
Finally, we cannot complete this countdown without including the 5000-1 miracle winners in Leicester City who stunned the footballing world to storm to the title, having only survived relegation the previous season.
What made it more unbelievable is that they did it in their first season under Claudio Ranieri, whilst dropping outside the top five just once all season as many top teams faltered to leave them facing Tottenham in the title fight.
A 1-1 draw at Man Utd in week 36 meant that the Foxes were two points away from the title, whilst Tottenham had to defeat Chelsea in Monday Night Football to keep their title bid alive cue the completion of Leicester’s fairytale without them even playing on the pitch that night.
Having survived overflowing tension and a brawl at end of the first-half, Spurs led at half time through strikes from Harry Kane and Son Heung-min which at that point meant that Leicester would have to wait to try and win the title at home to Everton.
Chelsea however had other ideas after the break as they sprang into life through Gary Cahill’s 58th minute effort from a corner, before sub – Eden Hazard curled a brilliant 83rd minute strike into the top right hand corner to break Tottenham’s hearts in an eventual 2-2 draw.
That result left Tottenham seven points adrift of Leicester with two rounds left as the Foxes celebrated a first-ever title, whilst it marked Ranieri’s first top division success courtesy of Chelsea who he had managed between 2000-04 without trophy success.
Leicester’s title season though will be remembered for the pure dreaminess of the whole season from pre-season relegation favourites to Jamie Vardy’s 11 game scoring streak, on top of shock results against many top teams and quality goals from many players.
I therefore don’t think that we will see a season quite like Leicester’s successful campaign ever again, unless the top teams all somehow have shockers in the same season like they did that particular campaign.